According to numerology, the number 21 is connected with luck, risk, taking chances and rolling the dice. Interestingly, it is the number of spots on a standard die, and the number of shillings in a guinea, the currency of wagers and horse-racing. It’s the minimum age at which you can enter a casino in America, and the name of a family of card games, including blackjack, that are popular with gamblers.
2021 will play out to be a year of more uncertainty in various respects. The world remains hopeful that it will be the year where the Corona Virus pandemic will be brought under control. However, risks abound, to health, economic vitality and social stability is what many will be watching out for. These are ten key trends to watch in the year ahead as we get closer to 2021.
1 Expect Fights over vaccines. As Covid-19 vaccines become available in quantity, the focus will shift from the heroic effort of developing them to the equally daunting task of distributing them. Vaccine diplomacy will accompany fights within and between countries over who should get them and when. Another interesting dynamic to watch for in relation to vaccines is how many people will refuse to take the vaccines?
2 We should expect a mixed economic recovery. As economies bounce back from the pandemic the recovery will be patchy, as local outbreaks and clampdowns come and go—and governments pivot from keeping companies on life-support to helping workers who have lost their jobs. The gap between strong and weak firms will widen.
3 Patching up the new world disorder with the new US president. How much will Joe Biden, newly installed in the White House, be able to patch up a crumbling rules-based international order? The Paris climate treaty and the Iran nuclear deal are obvious places to start. But the crumbling predates Donald Trump, and will outlast his presidency.
4 We should expect more US-China tensions. Don’t expect Mr Biden to call off the trade war with China. Instead, he will want to mend relationships with allies to wage it more effectively. Many countries from Africa to South-East Asia are doing their best to avoiding picking sides as the tension rises.
5 Corporate battles with certain companies on the front line. Another front for the US-China conflict is companies, and not just the obvious examples of Huawei and TikTok, as business becomes even more of a geopolitical battlefield. As well as pressure from above, bosses also face pressure from below, as employees and customers demand that they take stands on climate change and social justice, where politicians have done too little.
6 After the tech-celeration. What will become of the newly acquired tech behaviours from 2020 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic? In 2020 the pandemic accelerated the adoption of many technological behaviours, from video-conferencing and online shopping to remote working and distance learning. In 2021 the extent to which these changes will stick, or snap back, will become clearer.
7 Many will still be unable to travel and we should expect a less footloose world. Tourism will shrink and change shape, with more emphasis on domestic travel. Airlines, hotel chains and aircraft manufacturers will struggle, as will universities that rely heavily on foreign students. Cultural exchange will suffer, too.
8 Could 2021 be a year of a climate change opportunity? One silver lining amid the crisis is the chance to take action on climate change, as governments invest in green recovery plans to create jobs and cut emissions. How ambitious will countries’ reduction pledges be at the UN climate conference, delayed from 2020?
9 Could 2021 be the year of déjà vu? That is just one example of how the coming year may feel, in many respects, like a second take on 2020, as events including the Olympics, the Dubai Expo and many other political, sporting and commercial gatherings do their best to open a year later than planned. Not all will succeed.
10 Could it be a wake-up call for other risks? Academics and analysts, many of whom have warned of the danger of a pandemic for years, will try to exploit a narrow window of opportunity to get policymakers to take other neglected risks, such as antibiotic resistance and nuclear terrorism, more seriously.
2021 promises to be particularly unpredictable, given the interactions between the pandemic, an uneven economic recovery and fractious geopolitics. However, we hope these suggestions in this article could assist you to prepare better for 2021. There remains chances of greater turnaround in 2021 that could be predicted now. However, remain hopeful for a better 2021 than we have seen in 2020.
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