The World in 2016

The Economist’s Daniel Franklin shares 12 news headlines for the next 12 months

11/02/2016 Madrid

Daniel Franklin

What’s going to make the news in 2016, asks The Economist’s Daniel Franklin / Photo: IESE

Who – and what – will take center stage in world news this year?

Daniel Franklin, executive editor of The Economist, spoke to alumni and executives at IESE Madrid this month and shared his expert take on the 12 key areas, developments and people that will be dominating news headlines in 2016.

12. A Dozen Powerful Women

Women will be at the fore in business, education and politics this year, says Franklin.

Expect to hear more from: Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor; Janet Yellen, 15th Chair of the Federal Reserve; Hillary Clinton, U.S. presidential candidate; Christine Lagarde, director of the IMF; and Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s president.

Sharing the headlines will be: Helene Rey, French economist and professor at London Business School; Tsai Ing-Wen, Taiwan’s recently elected president; Aung San Suu Kyi, political activist in Myanmar; Grace Poe, presidential candidate in the Philippines; Malala Yousafzai, education for women activist; Nicola Sturgeon Scotland’s first minister and driving force of influence in U.K. politics; and Marine Le Pen, candidate for the 2017 French elections.

11. Word up on 2016

Franklin pinpoints 11 “buzzwords” that will be in – and out – of vogue in the coming 12 months.

  • Autonom. Another neology describing something that is also new – the driverless car.
  • Blockchain. A virtual currency transaction site that’s gathering force.
  • Handy. The new way of saying ‘smartphone’?
  • LDL. Let’s Discuss Live. It’s best to talk in person as the information is “classified.”
  • Millennialization. The way businesses adapt to connect with Millennials.
  • Organoid. The term for artificial body parts, which will be big in 2016. Drug testing and the likes could be conducted on “organoids” instead of humans.
  • Pillows. Throwing insults that don’t affect or hurt the target.
  • Slack. This cloud office software is also on the up in 2016.
  • Super Forecaster. Those able to predict the outcome of major world events.
  • Venmo. An app for sending small amounts of money that’s gaining traction in the U.S.
  • And no longer in vogue … LOL. No one will be Laughing Out Loud this year, says Franklin.

10. Top Ten Fastest Growing Economies

From words to world economies, Franklin ranked the top ten fastest growing economies (in alphabetical order):

  • Bhutan
  • Cambodia
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • India
  • Ivory Cost
  • Laos
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Sierra Leone
  • Turkmenistan

China’s off the list for the first time this year. This is down to past growth being so high that significant future growth will be difficult to sustain.

9. The Nine-Dash Line

China’s post World War Two maritime map to divide up the Pacific Ocean, which is now known as the “nine-dash line.” With U.S. elections on the horizon, Franklin predicts that China might be set to take advantage of uncertainty and become more “assertive” in its territory – leading to potential geopolitical tension.

8. Eight Noteworthy Anniversaries

  • 500 years of brewing beer
  • 400 years since Shakespeare’s death
  • 200 years since Charlotte Brontë’s birth
  • 100 years since: The Battle of the Somme; the Irish Easter Rising; U.S. National Parks
  • 75 years since Pearl Harbor
  • 50 years of Super Bowl
  • 15 years of Wikipedia
  • 10 years of Twitter

7. Orthodox Meet – Largest Since 787

The first major council of Orthodox churches since 787. However, the planned meeting in Ankara has moved to Crete following objections from the Russian Orthodox Church – the result of continuing political tensions between Russia and Turkey.

6. Is 6.9 Percent the New Chinese Growth Rate “Norm”?

The Chinese economy slowed down in 2015. But even with a one in three chance of a rough landing ahead, Franklin sees enough firepower to push for more rapid growth. Furthermore, 2016 could see China overtake the U.S. in business travel spending.

5. The Five Olympic Rings

Five clouds – rather than rings – hang over Rio’s hosting of this year’s Olympics. The Zika virus, corruption, economic crisis and water pollution now weigh heavily on the already-thorny issue of whether Olympic installations and infrastructure will be ready on time.

4. Four Dilemmas for Europe

Europe has four key issues to address this year. The current euro crisis “lull” might not last. Greece and Italy could flare up again. On top of this there’s the imperative to decide the fate of the Schengen area in the context of the migrant crisis. The continuing threat of Islamic terrorism, tension along Russia’s borders and general geopolitical unrest are driving volatility across the region.

A Brexit referendum is possibly on the cards, with potentially “traumatic implications” for Britain’s economy, says Franklin. A Brexit would also lead to major upheavals in the E.U. and “damage its image.”

But there is still hope, as the “fear factor” might mean that the U.K. will stay in the E.U., predicts Franklin.

3. Three Timely Agreements

With the FARC agreement in Columbia and Cypriots, Greek and Turkish leaders coming closer to a solution, a powerful message of peace is being sent around the world. We have yet to see the how the Iran nuclear deal will play out in 2016, and there’s no sign of the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia abating.

2. And ISIS?

After an intense year with the so-called Islamic State, there are two main questions to address:

  • Will ISIS be defeated on the ground in Raqqa & Mosul?
  • Where – and how – will terrorists strike in 2016?

Which leads to the final and burning question for 2016…

1. Which One U.S. Candidate Will Be Left Standing in November

Will Donald Trump triumph? Does Marco Rubio really have a shot at office? Or will Hilary Clinton break the mold and be the first woman president of the U.S.? All eyes will be on the stateside political arena in coming months.