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The Events that Defined 2023: Visualized

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This visual is part of our 2024 Global Forecast Series. For full access to the series, learn more here.

Visualization of the events that defined 2023

Visualizing the Major Events of 2023

Looking back at 2023, the year was defined by various international geopolitical events while the tech and business world kept a close eye on artificial intelligence’s advances in the first full year of the technology hitting its stride.

This graphic from our upcoming 2024 Global Forecast Report looks back at the major events that dominated the headlines and captured the world’s attention in 2023.

From the AI tech boom to the various hot and cold conflicts around the world, many of this past year’s pivotal events will have continuing aftershocks and developments to track in 2024.

This visual is from our forthcoming 2024 Global Forecast Series Report:

Global Forecast Series 2024

You can reserve full access to the forthcoming series, which compiles insights from 500+ expert predictions for what will happen in 2024, by becoming a VC+ member today.

The Major Geopolitical Events of 2023

Geopolitics were in the spotlight in 2023 after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shifted global power dynamics and international relations towards a multipolar environment.

As a result, tensions remained high between the U.S. and China throughout the year while various conflicts continued and sprung up in other regions.

China’s COVID Reopening and Spy Balloon Amidst Russia-NATO entrenchment

In the first two months of the year China dominated news headlines as the country reopened its borders and business, ending its highly restrictive zero-COVID measures and policy. The world’s manufacturing powerhouse was one of the last nations to loosen restrictions, and many anticipated it would kickstart the final leg of the world’s post-pandemic recovery.

However, in early February the discovery of what was dubbed a “spy balloon” floating over the U.S. and Canada quickly put China-U.S. relations on edge while Russia also suspended its participation in New START, a nuclear arms reduction treaty that would’ve allowed U.S. and NATO inspections of the country’s nuclear facilities.

Finland’s acceptance into NATO in April then doubled the alliance’s border with Russia, making it a key area to watch in 2024 as a senior Russian diplomat was quoted, saying that in the event of an escalation Finland would be the first to suffer.

BRICS Expansion and Xi Jinping’s Visit to the U.S.

June brought an unexpected internal clash in Russia as the Wagner Group briefly turned against the Russian military, with the mercenary group’s leader Yevgeny Prigozhin dying a couple months later in an airplane crash.

August also brought the BRICS bloc’s announcement of the addition of six new members starting in 2024, marking a key shift in geopolitical relations as the group added major oil producers Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates, along with Egypt, Ethiopia, and Argentina.

After nearly a year of further entrenchment in the newly fractured geopolitical landscape, November saw U.S.-China relations thaw as Xi Jinping met with Joe Biden in his first visit to the U.S. since 2017.

Israel-Hamas War and Red Sea Shipping Attacks

While relations between U.S. and China improved in the last quarter of 2023, new conflicts sprung up in other parts of the world.

Hamas’ attacks on Israel on October 7th kicked off Israel’s war against Hamas, which has been followed by Houthi rebel attacks on shipping lines in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait of the Red Sea.

The low-cost drone attacks have resulted in many major shipping firms redirecting their container-ships around all of Africa (extending their journeys by as much as 25%), while the U.S. has grappled with the advent of low-cost drone warfare costing the country millions in missiles as they’ve looked to protect ships in the strait.

Both the Israel-Hamas war and rebel attacks in the Red Sea remain two of the largest question marks around global tensions and affecting supply chains going into 2024.

OpenAI’s Roller Coaster Year

It would be impossible to talk about 2023 without mentioning the roller coaster year OpenAI has had in the spotlight of the AI gold rush.

The year started with Microsoft extending its investment and partnership with OpenAI by $10 billion, as Sam Altman’s company went on to launch its more powerful GPT-4 model along with other key features throughout the year like image recognition, image generation, and deeper custom model instructions with custom GPTs.

While the year seemed to be progressing perfectly for OpenAI at the forefront of the AI hype wave, the end of November saw Sam Altman fired as CEO of the company in one of the most shocking board decisions in recent business history. Sam Altman was reinstated as CEO within 72 hours, giving the tech world just a few days of pause to reflect on the issues of governance and leadership in one of the fastest growing industries.

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Economy

Economic Growth Forecasts for G7 and BRICS Countries in 2024

The IMF has released its economic growth forecasts for 2024. How do the G7 and BRICS countries compare?

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Faded horizontal bar chart visualization of G7 and BRICS countries' real GDP growth forecasts for 2024.

G7 & BRICS Real GDP Growth Forecasts for 2024

The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) has released its real gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecasts for 2024, and while global growth is projected to stay steady at 3.2%, various major nations are seeing declining forecasts.

This chart visualizes the 2024 real GDP growth forecasts using data from the IMF’s 2024 World Economic Outlook for G7 and BRICS member nations along with Saudi Arabia, which is still considering an invitation to join the bloc.

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Mixed Economic Growth Prospects for Major Nations in 2024

Economic growth projections by the IMF for major nations are mixed, with the majority of G7 and BRICS countries forecasted to have slower growth in 2024 compared to 2023.

Only three BRICS-invited or member countries, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and South Africa, have higher projected real GDP growth rates in 2024 than last year.

GroupCountryReal GDP Growth (2023)Real GDP Growth (2024P)
G7🇺🇸 U.S.2.5%2.7%
G7🇨🇦 Canada1.1%1.2%
G7🇯🇵 Japan1.9%0.9%
G7🇫🇷 France0.9%0.7%
G7🇮🇹 Italy0.9%0.7%
G7🇬🇧 UK0.1%0.5%
G7🇩🇪 Germany-0.3%0.2%
BRICS🇮🇳 India7.8%6.8%
BRICS🇨🇳 China5.2%4.6%
BRICS🇦🇪 UAE3.4%3.5%
BRICS🇮🇷 Iran4.7%3.3%
BRICS🇷🇺 Russia3.6%3.2%
BRICS🇪🇬 Egypt3.8%3.0%
BRICS-invited🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia-0.8%2.6%
BRICS🇧🇷 Brazil2.9%2.2%
BRICS🇿🇦 South Africa0.6%0.9%
BRICS🇪🇹 Ethiopia7.2%6.2%
🌍 World3.2%3.2%

China and India are forecasted to maintain relatively high growth rates in 2024 at 4.6% and 6.8% respectively, but compared to the previous year, China is growing 0.6 percentage points slower while India is an entire percentage point slower.

On the other hand, four G7 nations are set to grow faster than last year, which includes Germany making its comeback from its negative real GDP growth of -0.3% in 2023.

Faster Growth for BRICS than G7 Nations

Despite mostly lower growth forecasts in 2024 compared to 2023, BRICS nations still have a significantly higher average growth forecast at 3.6% compared to the G7 average of 1%.

While the G7 countries’ combined GDP is around $15 trillion greater than the BRICS nations, with continued higher growth rates and the potential to add more members, BRICS looks likely to overtake the G7 in economic size within two decades.

BRICS Expansion Stutters Before October 2024 Summit

BRICS’ recent expansion has stuttered slightly, as Argentina’s newly-elected president Javier Milei declined its invitation and Saudi Arabia clarified that the country is still considering its invitation and has not joined BRICS yet.

Even with these initial growing pains, South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor told reporters in February that 34 different countries have submitted applications to join the growing BRICS bloc.

Any changes to the group are likely to be announced leading up to or at the 2024 BRICS summit which takes place October 22-24 in Kazan, Russia.

Get the Full Analysis of the IMF’s Outlook on VC+

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