- Embattled governments. Crises of rising inequality, climate change, and now COVID-19 are converging to place unprecedented levels of fiscal and political pressure on governments throughout the world. As fiscal deficits persist through 2025, national governments increasingly constrained by stock of debt and fewer economic policy prerogatives will turn to local administrations and the private sector for support to maintain public trust.
- Push to national self-sufficiency. The pandemic has served as a wake-up call to national governments on the need for self-sufficiency and resilience in the face of crisis. As governments move to improve their domestic capabilities in key sectors—healthcare, technology, food, energy, and manufacturing—the private sector may find opportunities for increased collaboration with government. Too much government intervention, however, could stifle innovation in the long run.
- Stranded segments of society. Over the next five years, growing inequality—exacerbated by COVID-19—will lead to further marginalization of stranded segments of society, including minorities, low-skilled workers, students, children, working mothers, and others. Reintegrating them will be a tall order in a weak economic environment, but it behooves governments and businesses to work together to re-skill and reposition these important groups in society.
- Rise in food insecurity. A global food crisis is on the horizon, with disproportionate downside implications for emerging markets. Food supplies are tightening due to trade restrictions and COVID-induced production disruptions, and incomes are falling amid economic turmoil. The five-year outlook suggests the situation will get worse, resulting in changes in the food industry, widening inequality between countries, and depressed productivity overall.
- Industry consolidations, mergers, and acquisitions. The economic disruption brought about by the pandemic has weakened finances for businesses across the world. This trend will result in a wave of industry disruption and consolidation as stronger companies acquire weakened rivals, technologies, or assets—with private equity, big tech, and the energy industry poised for the biggest shakeouts over the next five years.
Read the full report here.