News

    Global Economy Still Viewed as Fragile

    Joe DeCapua

    Business, government and civil society officials are expressing greater confidence in the world economy over the next 12 months. However, the Global Confidence Index also shows they believe the economy remains on very shaky ground.

    The managing director of the World Economic Forum says the index is a bit more encouraging than the previous quarterly survey. However, Lee Howell says it’s nothing to celebrate.

    “I think the Global Confidence Index, in terms of what you saw with the latest results, it’s good news, but it’s relative. Relative to really the great uncertainty and concern that were seen in the last quarter, which, as you know, if we look back in December and January, at the close of last year and the beginning of this year, lots of uncertainty. Particularly around what was happening in the Euro zone,” he said.

    Lee Howell, World Economic Forum managing director
    Lee Howell, World Economic Forum managing director

    This includes the economic turmoil over Greece’s debt and debt concerns in other European countries as well.

    Economic, political shocks

    The index shows fear of a major economic disruption dropped from 63 percent of the respondents last quarter to 46 percent in the first quarter of this year.

    “The survey clearly shows that people are less concerned about a major economic disruption in the next 12 months. However, and this is the big however, is that they’re more concerned about geopolitical shock. And it’s obvious that we live in a world where geopolitical shocks would absolutely impact the geoeconomic space,” Howell said.

    Potential sources of geopolitical shock include Syria, Iran and North Korea.

    “Unfortunately,” he said,  We kind of live in a world where there are a number of places where this shock could come from at any given moment.”

    Cautious optimism?

    Overall, Howell says the index does not indicate a return to cautious optimism. Instead, it’s more a feeling of being less alarmed.

    There’s growing concern, he says, that the established economic, business and political systems that fared well in the 20th Century may not be up to the task in the 21st Century.

    “We’re seeing at least in the industrialized world a real concern over structural issues, structural unemployment. And also an appreciation that the monetary and fiscal remedies that were put forth in the 70s and 80s and 90s have maybe run their limits in that fact that we’re dealing with a period of major structural change, economic level,” he said.

    The index says there’s a perception of a lack of bold leadership around the world and an unwillingness to cooperate to solve common problems.

    “What is missing is the efforts of particularly those who are in the leadership position sort of connecting the dots for the public and saying, if we do this and we handle this policy issue, it is going to impact this other issue. Or if we actually focus purely on this from a national context, we’re going to miss the big story because globally this is happening. I think we need a much more of a holistic and systematic approach and frame these issues for the public,” he said.

    The next Global Confidence Index will be released in August. About 1200 international experts will be questioned about global economic and political issues.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.