The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report lists what threatens the world economy

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Cybersecurity and space are new risks to the global economy that add to the existing challenges posed by climate change and the coronavirus pandemic, the World Economic Forum said in a report on Tuesday.

The Global Risks Report is usually published before the annual elite winter meeting of CEOs and world leaders in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, but the event has been postponed for the second year in a row due to COVID-19. The World Economic Forum is planning a few more virtual sessions next week.

Here is a summary of the report, based on a survey of approximately 1,000 experts and executives:

Worldview

As of the beginning of 2022, the pandemic and its economic and social impact still pose a “critical threat” to the world, the report said. Large disparities between rich and poor countries’ access to vaccines mean their economies are recovering unevenly, which could increase social divisions and heighten geopolitical tensions.

By 2024, the global economy is expected to be 2.3 percent smaller than it would have been without the pandemic. But that masks the different growth rates between developing countries, whose economies are expected to be 5.5 percent smaller than before the pandemic, and rich countries, which are expected to grow 0.9 percent.

Digital threats

The pandemic has forced a tremendous shift – many people have had to work from home or attend classes, and an exploding number of online platforms and devices have emerged to support a transformation that has dramatically increased security risks, it said in the report.

“We’re now at a point where cyber threats are growing faster than our ability to effectively prevent and manage them,” said Carolina Klint, a head of risk management at Marsh, whose parent company Marsh McLennan shared the report with Zurich Insurance Group was written by SK-Gruppe.

Cyber ​​attacks are becoming more aggressive and widespread as criminals use tougher tactics to pursue more vulnerable targets, the report said. Malware and ransomware attacks have seen a boom, while the rise of cryptocurrencies makes it easy for online criminals to hide payments they collect.

While those who responded to the survey cited cybersecurity threats as a short- and medium-term risk, Klint said the report’s authors were concerned that the problem was not being upgraded, suggesting it was a “blind spot” for Corporations and governments act.

Space race

Space is the final frontier – for risk.

Falling costs for launch technology have created a new space race between businesses and governments. Last year, space tourism company Blue Origin launched from Amazon founders Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic, while Elon Musk’s Space X business made big profits in launching astronauts and satellites.

Meanwhile, a multitude of countries are stepping up their space programs to achieve geopolitical and military power or scientific and commercial achievement, the report said.

But all of these programs increase the risk of friction in orbit.

“The increased exploitation of these orbits carries the risk of congestion, increased debris and the possibility of collisions in an area with few governance structures to mitigate new threats,” the report said.

The exploitation of space is one of the areas where respondents feel that there is the least amount of international cooperation to address the challenges.

Experts and leaders who responded to the survey “do not believe that as much as possible will be done in the future,” said Saadia Zahidi, executive director of the World Economic Forum, at a virtual press conference in Geneva.

Other areas are artificial intelligence, cyber attacks as well as migration and refugees, she said.

Climate crisis

The environment remains the greatest long-term concern.

According to respondents, the health of the planet will be the predominant concern for the next decade. They named failure to take action against climate change, extreme weather conditions and the loss of biodiversity as the top three risks.

The report found that different countries are taking different approaches, with some adopting a carbon-free model faster than others. Both approaches have disadvantages. While a slow movement could radicalize more people who feel the government is not acting urgently, a faster move away from carbon-intensive industries could create economic turmoil and leave millions unemployed.

“The adoption of hasty environmental directives could also have unintended consequences for nature,” the report added. “The use of untested biotechnical and geoengineering technologies still harbors many unknown risks.”

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