“You cannot get out of the way of things you cannot see coming towards you” – the words of American Futurist, R. Buckminster Fuller. This means you can dodge a projectile coming in your direction – if you can see it coming.
So will you like to know what to expect in 2016?
Well, we are going to do something dangerous on AfricanPod in this episode. We are going to make predictions for 2016.
I am Phillip Nyakpo, this is AfricanPod, the good news and the bad news about Africa.
We are determined to do something dangerous on AfricanPod to start 2016.
We want to make predictions for the year.
The problem is, only fools try to predict the future with any level of certainty.
Events over the past year alone shows that most economists have been dead wrong on predictions.
So in 12 months from now, come back and listen to this episode once again and decide how accurate our prediction is, because there is very little good news, and a lot of bad news.
But let’s play it safe.
Instead of making predictions for 2016, let us say we are making some intelligent extrapolations for the year 2016:
So here we go:
At the very least, the year 2016 is going to be the start of an unprecedented sharp global economic decline which will be felt across all six continents including Africa.
The economy of many countries will remain both fragile and volatile.
Selfish politicians will campaign vigorously to be elected to office and plunder the wealth of nations.
There will be squabbles over elections and election results, because elections are not going to be about the welfare of people – but about satisfying the greed of many people wrongly and tragically called leaders.
The unsuspecting masses will be given grandiose promises and urged to allow tricksters to get into office.
Governments will be stunned by slumping energy and commodity prices, resulting in deeper deficits particularly for African countries.
The evidence is already popping up around the world and countries that have not known the pain of deficits are experiencing the shock. An example is Saudi Arabia which recently announced that they spent more than 90 billion dollars that they didn’t have, and that everyone will have to pay extra for petroleum to address the unexpected shortfall.
For a country that has been the world’s leading exporter of petroleum for decades, it is as if the sky is about to fall.
Similar shocks will be felt in African countries with significant reliance on mining and energy, and they include Nigeria, Angola, Ghana and South Africa. In the case of South Africa, the signs are already in the open as its currency, the Rand, struggles to retain value.
As the sky seems to fall over Africa in 2016, the International Monetary Fund will order countries on the continent to cut back public expenditure and retrench workers across the continent.
Millions of people will be adversely affected by this, and they will feel the immediate effect in their household budget.
Multi-national companies across the world, especially in mining and manufacturing and energy will lay off hundreds of thousands of workers due to the deflationary pressures on commodity prices. This will be exacerbated by cheap automation made possible by smarter and relatively inexpensive software.
Only a dozen robots will be required replace thousands of workers over a short period of time while the sky is falling.
Currencies around the world are going to be hammered, all currencies in fact. It will be a race to the bottom, and some will go down faster than others.
Purchasing power of paper currencies held by million will evaporate.
Or more accurately, purchasing power will be transferred from those with little to those who have more. Unchangeably, the rich will get richer, and the poor will get poorer.
The financial system was designed to operate exactly this way. It is baked into everyday financial transactions through fractional reserve banking. So economic repression will continue and get worse.
Countries in Africa and around the world will compete fiercely to devalue their currency to promote export earnings.
In 2016, China will be revealed as an economic time bomb waiting to implode.
There are many reasons for this – some of which China has recognised. Chief among this is a skewed demography where increasingly, the incomes of fewer people are having to satisfy the needs of those who have grown past their working age. The recognition of this cause China to reverse its long-standing one-child policy i late 2015. But it is already too late to prevent a collapse.
Unfavourable demographic situation especially in many industrialised countries is remarkably worse in Japan, the third largest economy. Over there, diapers for older people are in higher demand than those for babies.
In Europe, Germany also has an imbalanced demographic challenge, and since it is responsible for Europe’s economic power, a weakening Germany in 2016 will cause headache for the Eurozone.
Europe is also the destination where millions of refugees, including many from Africa will go.
But Europe will become more and more hostile to economic refugees in 2016.
The power of technology will continue to be unleashed, and a few will make the most profitable use of it.
In the midst of the economic gloom, many will continue to cling to obsolete ideas – obsolete ideas such as getting more and more academic degrees only to find most employers have little admiration for such degrees.
There will be fewer and fewer high paying jobs for those who merely multiply their academic credentials.
Those who hold on to obsolete ideas will experience what it is like to attempt opening a door with an old key after the original locks have been changed.
The smartest people will be revealed to be those who create job opportunities, not those who stand in queues begging to be employed.
To paraphrase Canadian Author Robin Sharma, it is better to build your own economy than worry about the disrupted economy.
That the world is deep in the information age will become even clearer in 2016.
The combination of speed and efficiency from invisible computer software will increasingly expose academic qualifications as a relic of industrial age.
Ask Facebook Guru, Mark Zuckerberg. He never needed a job – he created so much of it with a Social Network, where many people now spend most of their time.
Many who will retire in 2016 on a politically-contrived pension schemes will feel like they are being mocked and cheated.
In short, 2016 will be more of same ups and downs of 2015 – it is just that it will be a little bit worse.
But for those who are prepared for the unexpected, ready to learn and willing to take responsibility, 2016 will not be a year in which the sky falls.
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My name is Phillip Nyakpo, and thanks for listening.