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World Economic Forum (WEF) Survey Highlights Impending Challenges for the Global Economy in 2024

The meeting venue of the World Economic Forum sits in the Swiss resort of Davos, Switzerland,Photo: Reuters

The economic horizon appears clouded with challenges as the world community begins to emerge in 2024. The combination of geopolitical conflicts, more stringent investment conditions, and the growing influence of artificial intelligence (AI) is creating a complex field of uncertainty. The latest insights from a World Economic Forum (WEF) survey underscore the prevailing stagnation in global growth, signaling the prospect of another grim year for the global economy. Against a backdrop of heightened geopolitical tensions and the transformative power of AI, the complex web of economic dynamics unfolds a tapestry of caution, prompting leaders, policymakers, and businesses to navigate an uncertain future with prudence and foresight.

WEF survey highlights:

The WEF survey, a culmination of insights from more than 60 leading economists in the private and public sectors worldwide, underscores the prevailing pessimism. An estimated 56 percent of economists expect the overall global economy to weaken in 2024, with regional conflicts expected to increase. China and the US are likely to experience moderate to strong growth, while Europe is projected to experience weak or very weak growth. Conversely, positive forecasts are reserved for South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific, where at least moderate growth is expected.

Interest rates from the world’s leading central banks are at their highest, signaling a cautious approach to monetary policy. A staggering 70 percent of economists surveyed expect inflation to fall with rising unemployment, indicating a difficult economic terrain characterized by sluggish growth and labor market challenges.

Deciphering the Economic Landscape of 2024:

Deciphering the economic landscape of 2024 reveals a complex terrain marked by numerous challenges and uncertainties. The World Economic Forum (WEF) survey, a comprehensive examination of insights from more than 60 leading economists worldwide, serves as a key to understanding the prevailing dynamics. In this economic portrait canvas, nearly 56 percent of economists forecast the overall global economy to weaken in the coming year, underscoring the widespread pessimism that pervades the economic discourse. The survey highlights the prospect of escalating regional conflict, adding geopolitical complexity to an already complex situation. While China and the US are poised for moderate to strong growth, Europe faces weak or very weak growth projections, creating a diverse landscape of economic trajectories. In contrast, there is a glimmer of positivity for South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific, where at least moderate growth is on the horizon. The cautious approach to monetary policy is evident through the highest interest rates observed at leading global central banks, which underscores a cautious stance. Moreover, a remarkable 70 percent of economists predict a combination of rising inflation and rising unemployment, painting a bleak picture of a short and challenging economic landscape characterized by sluggish growth and complex labor market dynamics. As we decipher the 2024 economic code, it becomes clear that the global community must move through uncertainty with prudence, innovation and a collaborative spirit to forge a resilient path.

What will the economic situation be like in 2024?:

As we look to the economic landscape of 2024, the horizon appears challenging and shrouded in uncertainty. Recently released insights from the World Economic Forum (WEF) survey, which compiles the views of leading economists worldwide, describe the stagnation in global growth. A remarkable 56 percent of economists forecast the overall global economy to weaken in the coming year. These expectations are fueled by a confluence of factors, including rising geopolitical conflicts, tightening investment climates, and the growing influence of artificial intelligence (AI). These elements collectively contribute to an environment of caution and unpredictability. Notably, interest rates set by major central banks around the world reached their peak, indicating a conservative approach to monetary policy. Moreover, 70 percent of economists surveyed forecast the dual effects of rising inflation and rising unemployment, revealing a multifaceted and complex economic landscape. As the global community moves into 2024, the prevailing conditions require careful navigation, innovative strategies and collaborative efforts to address complexities and foster sustainable economic resilience.

Which is the fastest-growing economy in 2024?:

The question of which economy will be the fastest growing in 2024 remains complex and multifaceted, as highlighted by a World Economic Forum (WEF) survey. While the results do not clearly crown a single fastest-growing economy, they do focus on the expected trajectory of two global economic powers, China and the United States. Both are poised for moderate to strong growth, reflecting the complexities inherent in their unique domestic policies, trade relations and technological advances. Each nation’s trajectory of economic expansion reflects a subtle interplay of factors that contribute to the overall health and strength of their respective economies.

The survey, drawing on insights from leading economists worldwide, acknowledges the diversity of growth trajectories across regions. As we traverse the 2024 landscape, the nuanced nature of economic growth serves as a reminder of the interconnectedness of global dynamics. The absence of a clear-cut designation of the fastest growing economy underscores the importance of taking a holistic view. It emphasizes the need to understand the multifaceted influences on economic trajectories, from geopolitical factors to technological advances, and how these factors intertwine to shape the economic destinies of nations. In an ever-evolving global landscape, this nuanced understanding becomes a foundation for policymakers, businesses and economists as they navigate the complexities of economic growth in the coming years.

What is the World Economic Outlook 2023-2024? :

The global economic outlook for 2023-2024, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) survey, unfolds against a backdrop of uncertainty and daunting challenges. Projections indicate an increase in regional conflicts, contributing to a complex global economic landscape. Amid this uncertainty, China and the US are expected to navigate the complexities with moderate to strong growth projections. In stark contrast, Europe is expected to struggle with weak or very weak growth, underscoring divergent economic trajectories across the region. Encouragingly, positive forecasts emerge for South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific, where at least moderate growth is on the horizon. The survey results, coupled with the WEF’s call to redefine growth, echo a clarion call for a holistic approach. This approach aims to balance economic progress with social and environmental considerations, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive and sustainable economic strategy as the global community faces the challenges and opportunities of the years ahead.

Will the world economy recover in 2024? :

The prospect of a full global economic recovery in 2024 remains uncertain, as indicated by the WEF survey. While some regions such as China and the United States may experience moderate to strong growth, the overall global economic situation is expected to remain challenging. Geopolitical conflicts, the impact of AI, and tightening investment conditions contribute to a sense of caution among economists. The survey does not paint a uniformly positive picture with concerns over inflation and unemployment, pointing to a bumpy road to recovery. The WEF’s emphasis on redefining growth underscores the recognition that economic growth alone may not be enough, highlighting the need for a more comprehensive and inclusive approach.

The economic landscape in 2024 is characterized by uncertainty, with challenges stemming from geopolitical conflicts, AI impacts and cautious monetary policy. While some economies may be showing signs of recovery, a full global economic recovery is a complex and multifaceted challenge that requires collaborative efforts and innovative strategies.

Impact of AI on Discrimination: 

The study highlights a significant revelation – the recognition of artificial intelligence (AI) as a potential catalyst for negative impacts on global economic dynamics, particularly in relation to inequality. Economists surveyed see AI as a force that could exacerbate existing inequalities around the world. A remarkable 94 percent of experts expect significant increases in productivity within high-income economies over the next five years due to the integration of AI technologies. However, a more nuanced view emerges as 53 percent of economists believe that even low-income economies will witness an increase in productivity through the adoption of AI. This double-edged effect of AI, spurring growth in high-income countries and potentially exposing low-income economies to greater inequality, raises legitimate concerns about widening socioeconomic gaps as AI technologies spread. As the world grapples with the transformative power of AI, careful consideration and ethical frameworks must be put in place to ensure that technological advances contribute to inclusive economic growth rather than reinforcing existing inequalities.

WEF calls for redefining growth:

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has been at the forefront of addressing the deep environmental and social dimensions associated with economic growth, a mission underscored by a comprehensive survey covering 107 countries. The findings paint a stark picture, revealing that the growth trajectory of a significant majority of nations is fraught with environmental instability and a lack of social neutrality. In response to this alarming reality, Sadia Zahidi, Managing Director of the WEF, has taken a leading role in a paradigm shift to redefine the traditional concept of growth. Zahidi’s call extends beyond just acknowledging the challenge; It is a passionate plea for a holistic approach that aligns economic progress with the highest social and environmental priorities.

The call to redefine growth stems from the realization that economic expansion alone does not guarantee sustainable progress. This calls for a concise and inclusive interpretation of growth—one that accounts for the wider impact on society and the planet. In addressing the complex challenges of the 21st century, the WEF’s strong call for a comprehensive reassessment of growth serves as an essential guidepost. It points to a restored economic future that prioritizes sustainability and equity. As nations and leaders grapple with the complex task of fostering growth while mitigating environmental and social harm, WEF’s visionary stance has become a supportive force guiding economies toward a future characterized by resilience, inclusion and environmental stewardship.


When considering the challenges of the global economic landscape in 2024, it becomes clear that policymakers, business leaders and economists are facing an extraordinary complexity that demands deep insight and skillful navigation. The resounding call from the World Economic Forum (WEF) to redefine growth assumes utmost significance in this context, serving as a guiding principle that underscores the imperative need for economic progress to be seamlessly aligned with social and environmental imperatives. Growing uncertainty calls for a change in perspective, transcending economic imperatives and positioning the revival of global growth as an important measure to address the critical challenges looming on the horizon. It is no longer about mere economic expansion but about realigning growth strategies to meet the needs of an ever-changing world.

As we move past the complexities of 2024, the imperative for inclusive growth emerges as a beacon, providing direction towards a more sustainable and equitable global economy. This journey demands collaborative efforts and innovative strategies that cross borders, bringing together the global community to overcome obstacles and build a resilient and inclusive economic future. WEF’s call serves as a catalyst for change, encouraging a collective mindset that prioritizes not only economic prosperity, but also social welfare and environmental sustainability. In this transformative era, where the challenges are as diverse as they are complex, the imperative for inclusive growth becomes the foundation upon which a more equitable and sustainable economic future can be built.

Billal Hossain
Billal Hossain
Billal Hossain, a seasoned professional with a Master's degree in Mathematics, has built a rich and varied career as a banker, economist, and anti-money laundering expert. His journey in the financial sector has seen him in leading roles, notably in AL-Rajhi Banking Inc. in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and as Foreign Relations and Correspondent Maintenance Officer of Bank-AL-Bilad. Beyond the confines of traditional finance, Billal has emerged as a prominent writer and commentator, contributing thought-provoking columns and theses to various newspapers and online portals. His expertise spans a wide range of important global issues, including the complexities of economics, political dynamics, the plight of migrant workers, remittances, reserves, and other interrelated aspects. Billal brings a unique analytical perspective to his writing, combining academic rigor with practical insights gained from his banking career. His articles not only demonstrate a deep understanding of complex issues but also provide readers with informed perspectives, bridging the gap between theory and real-world application. Billal Hossain's contributions stand as a testament to his commitment to unraveling the complexities of our interconnected world, providing valuable insights that contribute to a broader and more nuanced understanding of the global economic landscape.


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