When John Lennon and Yoko Ono sang ‘War is Over’ in 1972, not many would have predicted that come the end of 2023, war would in fact still be raging. Not only is Israel’s operation across Gaza increasing amidst strained relations with the US but also Russia and Ukraine both accused each other of attacks on New Year’s Day. The Biden administration also faced backlash upon providing $14bn of aid to Israel without Congressional approval.
With no end in sight, could 2024 see the revival of a Middle Eastern peace process to curtail the regional effects of the Israel-Gaza conflict? While regional escalation has been more a topic of speculation than a point of reasonable concern, the death of the IRGC Commander through an Israeli airstrike has stirred up fears again. Smuggling action on the Jordanian-Syrian border has also picked up after the 7th of October. While previous illicit activities focused on the drug captagon, arms trade has gone up in recent times.
That war is not over is but one highlight of 2023. The last week of the year picked up in activity as the global stock markets recorded their best year since 2019, largely in response to inflation falling across Western economies. How this confidence looks across 2024 will be worth watching as the world embarks upon another busy election year. Stay tuned to Confluence Consultants’ updates on election season across major economies.
Majority opinion suggests that for the global economy, 2023 was not bad at all. The global product surpassed pre-pandemic levels for the first time, and countries weathered high inflation, supply chain disruptions due to China’s economic slowdown, and multiple wars. The economic elephant in the room is still the fate of China, where share prices dropped even as the year came to a close. This has been attributed to the thawing relations between the US and China. How impactful will China’s recovery be on the global economy in 2024 and what does recovery look like?
China’s neighbour, India, on the other hand, marked an economically and diplomatically remarkable year in 2023 with strong growth and the hosting of the G20 summit. It also rang in 2024 with the launch of a satellite into space to study black holes. As India waltzes into 2024, it will be worth noting how the technology and diplomatic wins of the previous year could impact the electoral outcome in 2024.
Technological innovation also takes the form of green financing in the UAE, where Masdar’s investment in Uzbekistan reached $4bn, providing 1.4 gW of clean energy to the national grid. After the success of COP28, the UAE and GCC could be under continued scrutiny over their green initiatives, especially as oil price uncertainty continues to loom against the backdrop of geopolitical uncertainty.