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What’s Coming In 2019? Global Thinkers Make Big, Bold Predictions

General Ideas

At the beginning of 2018, we made predictions about what the year in global health and development might look like in the countries we cover.

The pundits we interviewed forecast that 2018 would bring a decline in the number of health workers around the world, inspire more humanitarians to share their #MeToo stories and see more conflict that would drive the world’s humanitarian crises.

Our predictors didn’t do too badly. The Lancet’s latest Global Burden of Disease study noted: “The global shortage and unequal distribution of health workers requires urgent attention.” In October, international charities gathered in London to try to tackle sexual harassment in the aid sector. And a 2018 report from UNOCHA found that “conflict remains the main driver of humanitarian needs.”

So what should we expect in 2019? We reached out to pundits in global health and development and they came up with nine bold predictions.

1. Positive social change will be contagious in Africa.

Over the past year, Ethiopia has gone through a historic transformation at breakneck speed, reports NPR correspondent Eyder Peralta. The country welcomed a new reformist prime minister, who forged peace with former enemy Eritrea and freed thousands of political prisoners.

Tobias Denskus, a professor of international development communications at Malmo University and the founder of Aidnography, a global health and development blog, thinks that could inspire other African countries. “Eritrea is one of the most isolated, autocratic and dictatorial nations,” he says. “I’m hoping that positive social change in neighboring countries like Ethiopia will lead Eritrea to do the same.” – Malaka Gharib

2. Urban slums will grow.

The majority of Africa’s population is young — and that so-called youth bulge will mean “more and more people will make the shift from rural to urban centers in search of jobs and opportunity and driven by changing climate,” says Kennedy Odede, co-founder and CEO of the nonprofit SHOFCO, which provides education, grassroots organizing and services like health care and water in the slums of Kenya.

The changing urban landscape will be a challenge for governments. They “will have to be responsive to rapid change or risk humanitarian crises and destabilization,” Odede says. If governments do not provide better services for this new urban population, Odede says there could be an “urban spring” — protests and chaos from angry, uneducated, marginalized youth. But he is an optimist: “There is opportunity in this to harness the energy and intellect of young people.” – Marc Silver

3. More countries will follow the U.S. example of pulling out of U.N. funding.

On January 1, the U.S. formally left UNESCO, the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization. At the end of World War II, the United States helped found UNESCO to preserve the world’s heritage sites and promote the flow of ideas to prevent future conflicts. But then, UNESCO granted full membership to the Palestinians, and the U.S. stopped funding it, NPR reported.

This is not the first time that the U.S. has left the U.N. heritage agency. It withdrew once before, in 1984, citing corruption and an ideological tilt toward the Soviet Union against the West, according to Foreign Policy.

Tobias Denskus of Malmo University predicts that the U.S. will make further cuts: “I’m worried that as we move closer to U.S. elections, U.N. funding will suffer even more and ultimately weaken [the U.N.].” And he worries the U.S. precedent will cause other countries to reduce their contributions based on their political agenda. – Malaka Gharib

4. There will be more significant infectious disease outbreaks — maybe even a pandemic …

“We’re seeing a global increase in the spread of infectious diseases,” says Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security who leads the Outbreak Observatory, a group that collects information about outbreaks. And she doesn’t expect a change in that pattern.

“In fact,” she says, “there are worrying signs that the conditions favoring the emergence of a pandemic — and the impact it would have — are ever more present and possibly getting worse.”

These conditions include increased migration that’s exposing people to diseases they’ve never encountered before, densely populated megacities and resettlement camps, vaccine refusals, compromised infrastructures as a result of humanitarian crises like conflict, natural disasters and instability as well as climate change that’s exacerbating disasters and pushing disease-bearing wildlife into new habitats. – Joanne Lu

5. … but the odds are good we can beat back a bad outbreak.

The ability to respond quickly to pandemics is also increasing, says Nuzzo. For example, the DRC was able to control the first phase of its Ebola outbreak in a couple of months, and there’s now an Ebola vaccine that didn’t exist four years ago when the virus swept West Africa.

Still, the second phase of the outbreak – which is now the second largest and second deadliest in history – shows that political instability can stand in the way of such advances.

“The case for optimism is that the emergence and spread of diseases may be inevitable, but the impacts that they have on society aren’t,” she says. “We should count on there being very significant outbreaks. Whether they become pandemics is up to us.” – Joanne Lu

6. People who need mental health help will find it on their phone.

The fields of mental health and substance abuse treatments are about to take a great leap forward into the digital world, predicts psychiatrist Vikram Patel, professor of global health and social medicine at Harvard University. The solution to fighting stigma and the lack of trained counselors could be right in your pocket – a smartphone or even a plain old flip phone.

Counselors with a web connection could learn about effective diagnosis and treatment online. They could ping their patients with online tips. People with depression or schizophrenia or substance abuse in rich and poor countries could use their phones to check in with a counselor, receive guidance or touch base with others facing the same issues.

Researchers around the world are also testing a variety of apps. The University of Washington is working on a variety of cellphone-based training and treatment programs in Ghana, where cellphones are common and there’s a broad 3G network. The FDA is working on ways to approve digital programs for cognitive behavioral therapy. And the National Institute of Mental Health in the U.S., which is also predicting greater use of digital technology in the future, already provides a guide for finding effective mental health apps. – Joanne Silberner

7. Nonprofit leadership will become more diverse.

Bullying, sexual harassment and sex scandals in the humanitarian industry made headlines in 2018, from big aid agencies like UNAIDS to small nonprofits like More Than Me.

One solution to this, critics have said, is to hire more diverse and qualified candidates. “Many organizations are realizing that they should diversify to represent views that have been traditionally sidelined,” says Tobias Denskus of Malmo University. “The pressure is increasing to hire more female leaders and hire capable managers from the global south, from the LGBT community who haven’t been included before.”

“More qualified, diverse candidates from Africa and beyond are knocking at the door,” adds Denskus — now it’s up to the aid organizations to let them in. – Malaka Gharib

8. There will be fewer food crises.

Dry season has begun in sub-Saharan Africa — the period from roughly November through April or May when the rains stop. As climate change has affected weather patterns, droughts have become increasingly severe.

By February, “you see the faces of hungry people from Ethiopia to Kenya to South Sudan,” says Esther Ngumbi, a researcher at the University of Illinois and an Aspen Institute New Voices food security fellow.

But in 2019, she is hopeful that the impact of the dry season will not be as dramatic. The reason, she says, is that countries are doing a better job equipping their farmers with water storage systems and encouraging them to plant drought-resistant crops like millet and sorghum, both highly nutritional grains, and cowpeas (aka black-eyed peas), whose seeds are high in protein.

Famine and food insecurity will still be part of the 2019 landscape, especially in conflict-torn areas. But Ngumbi is predicts fewer hunger emergencies: “It’s already January, and we haven’t seen new calls for emergency relief.” – Marc Silver

9. Wealthy countries will turn away more people seeking asylum.

Paul Spiegel, director of the Center for Humanitarian Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, worries that there will be “an increase in denial for people seeking asylum in high-income countries.”

As a result of increasing anti-immigration and anti-refugee sentiment, some countries in Europe have begun to “pay off” lower-income countries to shoulder the burden of taking in refugees, he says. In 2016, for example, Germany struck a deal with Turkey to quell the flow of refugees from Syria. In exchange for $6.8 billion, Turkey created facilities to detain refugees in camps while their asylum claims in Germany were being processed. In 2017, Italy followed suit, establishing a similar deal with Libya.

Spiegel worries that programs like these will ramp up in 2019 in the U.S. and beyond. “In the U.S., we’re already having trouble with the Mexican border. What’s going to happen when Venezuelans start making their way over here?” he says. For U.S. government officials to stay in power, he predicts they too will take a tougher stance on immigration policy — adopting the idea that the U.S. must “be strong at the borders.” – Malaka Gharib


26 Comments on "What’s Coming In 2019? Global Thinkers Make Big, Bold Predictions"

  1. Dredd on Sat, 5th Jan 2019 8:23 am 

    What is coming is what is going (Snoring While Woke).

  2. Cloggie on Sat, 5th Jan 2019 8:30 am 

    Pro-Brexit newspaper DailyMail, that has adopted a pro-May stance lately (to the anger of the majority of its comment section that supports no-deal), is in despair with the behavior of many Tory politicians, whose only concern is to position themselves in the successor position of poor Tess May:

    Nobody gives a damn about the country, it is self-presentation only.

    Although the US ambassador to the UK crossed all the diplomatic lines lately by saying that there is no leadership in the country, he has a point.

    In general the UK has no plan B. It is a prank, that not even the two most ardent promoters Johnson and Farage thought was really going to happen. Yet it did.

    Brexit is the consequence of the British desire for the Five Eyes to be “on top” in this world and not the EU. A desire to continue Versailles and Nuremberg ad infinitum. Brexit is the expression of nostalgia for the days of the British empire. Brexit is the consequence of 5 centuries of “Splendid Isolation” and “Balance of Power” policies, that starts to reason from its unique island geography and from there refuse any lasting alliance with any country on the continent, but instead instinctively tries to prevent any continental unity or any country getting dominant and if that happens anyway, organize a counter-alliance to get the dominant force destroyed. Britain entered the European institutions because it had no choice, but never was in the EC/EU for any other reason than to attempt to destroy the club from within or at least weaken consistency by promoting the membership of Turkey and block a European army. It was precisely the reason why French president de Gaulle had resisted British entry, because he knew their intentions all too well.
    The anti-European attitude described above is shared in majority by both politics and population, but politics is smarter than the population and the latter knew that this was not the time to leave the EU, because its mission had not yet completed, which is breaking up the EU. Instead the population wrong-footed its own establishment with the Brexit vote. Lord Hesseltime, one of the most senior British politicians, who is strongly anti-Brexit and has no love lost for Germans (like all British) calls Brexit a strategic disaster, for Britain that is.

    And it is. Because nothing stands in the way for the formation, on British doorstep, of a European super power, including Russia, with the potential to take over responsibility for European civilization from the Anglos, who messed up greatly. All continental Europe needs to do is wait for the inevitable: China giving the Americans a humiliating beating in the South China Sea. China is a slow-moving Moloch, doesn’t like risks and is prudent to the core. But is proud of its magnificent achievements over the past few decades and soon will flex its muscles, because it is in a position to do so. When China says that is has the right to take back Taiwan by force and that Americans can take no casualties and that China can easily sink two carriers, that needs to be seen as an announcement. China taking over from America as the planetary top dog will send shockwaves through the world. Together with Brexit, the event will force continental Europe and Russia to combine forces to contain China and declare itself the core of European civilization and the protector a deeply demoralized European-America.

    Brexit and now what? The European attitude should be a big shrug. Whatever. Turn to Eurasia completely for commerce. If Britain refuses to pay this 40 billion divorce bill, organize a blockade and get at least major companies like Shell, Unilever, banks, BA, etc. to replace their seat to continental Europe. Expect Scotland to follow and Spain to retake Gibraltar.

    The focus of European attention should be directed towards Heartland USA, the Red States, who almost certainly are going to attempt to escape from third world USA via CW2. The loss of geopolitical prestige after a defeat against China will greatly enable this drive. And once, with European help, the escape will have succeeded and a Europe-oriented white ethno-state will have formed, without an American soundboard, the British no longer will have an alternative than to become European or exclude itself from the white world.

  3. I AM THE MOB on Sat, 5th Jan 2019 8:55 am 

    CLogg gets his news from a British tabloid that is banned by wiki for producing so many fake news stories..And a german newspaper who’s lead editor just admitted to making up fake news for decades..And a shirtless fat man who squeals about lizard people!

    Put down the keyboard clogg you ain’t getting better with age..

  4. I AM THE MOB on Sat, 5th Jan 2019 8:57 am 


    Europe and Asia are going to collapse first into civil war..They are the worlds largest oil importer..And the US has shale and the Saudis and Iraq now..We have been preparing for peak oil for over 40 years..

    Good luck driving on wind turbines and solar power..


  5. Cloggie on Sat, 5th Jan 2019 9:16 am 

    “Europe and Asia are going to collapse first into civil war.”

    Meet Americans who need a new home and who call themselves Europeans:

    Peak oil is so 2010.

    Come on mobster, give us for the 100th time that 2009 German army peak oil study, nobody is talking about anymore.

  6. print baby print on Sat, 5th Jan 2019 11:50 am 

    and because nobody talk about it anymore . It must have been gone yes hahahhahhahah

  7. I AM THE MOB on Sat, 5th Jan 2019 1:29 pm 


    The leaked secret German army study was from 2010..and it said the collapse of the global economy wouldn’t occur until the medium term..which is what we are entering now..the iea, Saudis, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, and numerous science studies have confirmed need to move on from 2010..As Freud said “from error to error we discover the entire truth”

  8. I AM THE MOB on Sat, 5th Jan 2019 1:35 pm 


    I can’t wait till some young socialist revolutionary. Bashes your ugly old face in with a brick..Bibi of Israel went to the inagration of that right wing populist in Brazil..your side is the one who is Jew controlled..just like right wing Churchill wad..Trump has bent over backwards for Israel.
    Obama didn’t keep sucking the Jewish cock

  9. Cloggie on Sat, 5th Jan 2019 3:16 pm 

    “I can’t wait till some young socialist revolutionary. Bashes your ugly old face in with a brick.”

    Yeah I know, you are a hater, an impotent hater.

    But don’t worry, you will experience the horrors of war alright. No way you can escape that.

  10. I AM THE MOB on Sat, 5th Jan 2019 4:48 pm 

    America’s new Congress… guess which party is which

    Rich, old white men dressed for a funeral: their own party’s.

    Diversity really is so beautiful..We are more alike than we are different!

  11. I AM THE MOB on Sat, 5th Jan 2019 4:49 pm 


    I wont experience jack shit..Because I will off myself when SHTF..while you are running around like a chicken with its cut off..And starving a painful and slow death..


  12. I AM THE MOB on Sat, 5th Jan 2019 4:52 pm 

    And the GOP isn’t apologizing for that either. Make no mistake, they absolutely believe only white males are really fit to govern.

    The lower picture reminds me of Saltines: A bunch of stale, salty crackers.

  13. Cloggie on Sat, 5th Jan 2019 4:58 pm 

    “Because I will off myself ”

    Please do.
    Why not now and avoid the rush?
    In Holland we have world class euthenasia services. Nobody ever wanted his money back.

  14. I AM THE MOB on Sat, 5th Jan 2019 5:14 pm 


    Its likely though I will outlive you..Since your region is toast in a few years..You invested in the wrong energy sources..Sorry..Merkel has known peak oil doomsday was coming since 2010..She doesnt care because her and Maccron don’t have any kids..

  15. Cloggie on Sat, 5th Jan 2019 6:46 pm 

    America’s new Congress… guess which party is which
    Rich, old white men dressed for a funeral: their own party’s.
    Diversity really is so beautiful..We are more alike than we are different!

    It absolutely is mobster. You sure have a winning formula in your hands there, nobody is going to beat! And remember, diversity is our strength!

  16. DerHundistLos on Sun, 6th Jan 2019 3:55 am 

    COMPELLING Dr. David Suzuki NEW Interview (a must see):

  17. DerHundistLos on Sun, 6th Jan 2019 4:03 am 

    Cloggie: A closet Zionist? He had not a word to say regarding this:

    “Bibi of Israel went to the inagration of that right wing populist in Brazil..your side is the one who is Jew controlled..just like right wing Churchill wad..Trump has bent over backwards for Israel.
    Obama didn’t keep sucking the Jewish cock.”

  18. DerHundistLos on Sun, 6th Jan 2019 4:08 am 


    Compliments on your latest blog. I never examined the scenario from the perspective you elucidated.

  19. Cloggie on Sun, 6th Jan 2019 5:31 am 

    Cloggie: A closet Zionist? He had not a word to say regarding this:

    “Bibi of Israel went to the inagration of that right wing populist in Brazil..your side is the one who is Jew controlled..just like right wing Churchill wad..Trump has bent over backwards for Israel.
    Obama didn’t keep sucking the Jewish cock.”

    I am not a closet Zionist, I am a REAL Zionist, in the real sense of the word. Just like Hitler was, so you see I am in good

    I am a classical reactionary anti-semite, who considers Jewish influence as corrosive. Mind you, the influence of Henry Ford’s “International Jew”:

    – They were the instigators of the communist revolution, where tens of millions of societies more prominent members were slaughtered (mobsters wet dream).
    – They were responsible for WW2 drama.
    – They were and still are responsible for the destruction of America through their promoted mass immigration from the third world, that is about to turn into the drama of CW2.
    – They are responsible for 9/11 and subsequent neocon wars in the Middle East (motivation: 2nd American Century, has been called

    This would not have happened if these f* were put in a single country, with an anthem, a flag, a national soccer team, etc. If you do that, all problems with “Gods Chosen People” are solved. Exactly as Hitler had proposed in the thirties. First he cooperated with the Jews to get them to Palestine. Next he tried Madagascar. But British and French refused to cooperate.

    When finally the Germans had conquered sufficient territory in the Ukraine, they organized the Wannsee conference in January 1942 in order to throw these two-legged disasters out of Europe and deport them back to where they had come from: Khazaria/Ukraine. Criminals like “I AM THE MOB”, who openly gloats about how he wants to kill and rape and nuke white people, cannot be allowed to remain in your country. They need to be thrown out. Europeans have done that #109 times:

    …every time a home run. Americans are too lame to do that.

    It is complete rubbish that Trump is dancing to the tunes of the Jews. Netanyahu has been yelling over the phone to Trump about the Syria withdrawal. That stunt regarding the US embassy was mainly to appease bible-thumping evangelicals, with whom pussy-grabbing predator Trump has nothing in common, but they vote him.

    Churchill was NOT right-wing in the sense of ethnic-nationalism. Oswald Mosley was his greatest enemy. Churchill was an imperialist and globalist, just like his jewish handlers loved him to be. Real “blood and soil” right-wingers like the Germans and Italians were his greatest enemies.

  20. Cloggie on Sun, 6th Jan 2019 5:39 am 

    Trump has bent over backwards for Israel.
    Obama didn’t keep sucking the Jewish cock.

    Community worker nobody Obama was from A to Z build up by Jewish businessmen and women from Chicago and his entire presidency consisted in reading aloud in front of a camera documents written by his jewish handlers David Axelrod and that guy from Chicago Rahm Emanuel.

    Yes it is true that during the last year of his presidency, Obama did indeed hijack the presidency, to at least set up a deal with Iran, which his jewish handlers hated, but it was too late for them to get Barry impeached.

    Trump is very different. He had no jewish financial handlers. He didn’t need to, because he brought his own money.

    At some point he says: “I know you are not going to support, but I don’t need your money”. Now that’s a slap in kosher face no US president has dared before him. Because until 2016 they all relied on jewish money.

    Yes, Trump, Putin, Orban, Salvini are all Hitler’s, because they understand (((The Problem))).

  21. makati1 on Sun, 6th Jan 2019 5:50 pm 

    NPR = National Propaganda Radio. Not worth reading.

    2019? Much more of the same. Continued collapse of the US. Higher inflation, drug deaths and suicides increasing, more freedoms lost, more money wasted on the incompetent but greedy MIC, more of the circus freak show in DC, Increasing debt everywhere, even dumber serfs and on and on.

    The rest of the world will go on as before.
    The climate will continue to change and heat up.
    Food sources will continue to shrink/disappear in the oceans.
    Asia will continue to grow.
    The ME will continue to have problems with Israel.
    And the Philippines will be the land of eternal summer, as usual.

    Will it be the year of the big crash? Maybe. But it will definitely be “interesting” in the Chinese way. LOL

  22. DerHundistLos on Sun, 6th Jan 2019 10:09 pm 

    “Trump is very different. He had no jewish financial handlers. He didn’t need to, because he brought his own money.”

    Huh? You must have overlooked the biggest handler in all the world- Sheldon Adelson, who owns Trump & Company.

  23. DerHundistLos on Sun, 6th Jan 2019 10:12 pm 

    “Trump brought his own money” Total lie, Cloggie.

    The Lie of Trump’s ‘Self-Funding’ Campaign:

  24. DerHundistLos on Sun, 6th Jan 2019 10:15 pm 

    “In Reversal, Donald Trump to Seek Donations to Fund Campaign // Throughout the Republican primary, Trump had touted the fact that he was self-funding his campaign.”

  25. DerHundistLos on Mon, 7th Jan 2019 2:09 am 

    CLOGGIE: The Lie of Trump’s ‘Self-Funding’ Campaign

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