Guest Column | Here’s to 2022, the year of hope

Hope in 2022 depends on conquering Covid, mending fences between America and China, managing climate change, spurring economic growth and reducing disparities. Hopefully, leaders will listen
With only 46% of the global population fully inoculated against Covid, the anti-vaxxers will be the biggest hurdle to surmount in the 2022, the year of hope . (Representative Image/PTI)
With only 46% of the global population fully inoculated against Covid, the anti-vaxxers will be the biggest hurdle to surmount in the 2022, the year of hope . (Representative Image/PTI)
Updated on Dec 26, 2021 03:46 AM IST
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ByRajendra Aneja

The United Nations has declared the new year as the international year of artisanal fisheries and aquaculture, but truly 2022 should be celebrated as the year of hope, after two years of Covid-induced travails.

In the new year, all nations will continue their unrelenting fight against that invisible and almost invincible enemy, the coronavirus, and the numerous variants it has spawned. With only 46% of the global population fully inoculated against Covid, the battle is far from won. Till around 80% of the world is fully inoculated, we are not safe. Convincing the non-believers, the anti-vaxxers, will be the biggest hurdle to surmount in the new year.

At the same time, developed countries must also help developing countries who have merely inoculated 3-4% of their populations.

The political tug of war

On the global political stage, US president Joe Biden will continue to remain the pivotal global leader. Despite the temporary hiccups his party is facing, he will stand tall. Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin will plough a lonely furrow, needling Ukraine needlessly. Putin’s people love him, his dolls sell on the streets of Moscow.

The real conflict will be through the translucent ‘bamboo curtain’ between the USA and China. China will continue its aggrandisements, especially in Asia and Africa, by funding infrastructure project, peeving America with its expansionist policies. However, the Chinese have fat wallets,and they will continue to spend.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will continue to obfuscate his people, but will thrive. The new German leadership may struggle, without Angela Merkel as the chancellor. Polls will be fought in India, while Afghanistan will struggle to find money.

Hopefully, there will be no wars. We need to fight hunger and poverty, which have augmented of the last two years.

Economic disparities

The IMF has predicted a growth rate of 4.9% in 2022. With Covid variants harassing the world, its effects remain to be seen on the global economy. While the US economy could grow around 3%, China with its zero-Covid policy could grow by around 5%. Overall, the global economy could suffer a setback of around 3%. Developing countries will continue to lag.

Economic disparities are sure to widen. As per Oxfam, the richest 1% of the world’s population has more than twice the wealth with 6.9 billion people. Around 811 million people sleep hungry every night and 2 billion people suffer from malnutrition. The agony and poverty suffered by citizens, cannot be gleaned through digits. People have lost faith, family members, homes, livelihoods, savings, during the last two years. Migrant labourers who fled to their countries are yet to return.

The world needs at least three years to shave of the ghosts of the coronavirus. Real estate prices will remain low. The stock markets will oscillate anxiously, depending on new mutants of the coronavirus. Gold prices will hover around USD 1,875 to 1,900 per ounce, though its future is uncertain. Oil prices will dance, but hold steady at around USD 60 to 70 per barrel.

Inflation will give the world sleepless nights. Expect to pay more for food in 2022. Climate change will dominate conclaves, with scarce action, while Greta Thunberg will fume. International travel may lubricate the global economy, with quarantines and Covid-passes.

Nations should undertake rigorous reviews of their health resources. People across the world have died waiting for hospital beds, medicines, vaccines, and oxygen.Priority should be given to establishing hospitals, beds, ICUs, medical colleges, and nursing institutes. Global growth is meaningless for the 124 million people punched below the poverty line of 2 USD per day, during the pandemic. 2022 should be the year of humane economics, where the poor override polemics.

Football and James Bond

The world will relish the FIFA football matches in Qatar. However, Latino fans will have to forego their beers, shorts, and spaghetti strap dresses. Qatar frowns on alcohol and revealing apparel. The new hunger for medals in developing countries, will find satiation at the Commonwealth Games. Novak Djokovic will break new records. India will re-seek cricketing glory at ICC championship.

The world will be hunting for a new James Bond, since Daniel Craig has bowed out. Cinema famished fans, will troop into theatres.

Hope in 2022 depends on conquering Covid, mending fences between America and China, managing climate change, spurring economic growth and reducing disparities. Hopefully, leaders will listen.

My soulmate, Patricia and I, hope for a Corona free world. Then, we can go for long walks among the pine forests in the mountains. We are happy with the cold air, silences and white clouds around us. It has been a long time since Patricia and I held hands and walked endlessly, as soft, white, snowflakes waft down. It is heavenly.

(The author is a Mumbai-based freelance writer)

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