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Young Global Leaders – what the World will look like in 2030?

Geneva, Switzerland - The Young Global Leaders (YGLs) of the World Economic Forum have published the findings of their “Future Mapping for the Global Agenda” study that draws a global picture in 2030 by mapping key trends, weak signals and their interrelationships, for a better understanding of how they will influence the global, regional and industry agendas.

The study presents a compilation of fact and figures, as predicted by international institutions and experts, and includes a series of opinion editorials from YGLs that provide various perspectives and challenge existing assumptions, as well as results from a survey of the community of 665 Young Global Leaders.

“We can start to comprehend and shape the future only by understanding the interconnection and interdependencies between the different challenges and key drivers influencing the global agenda,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. “’Future Mapping for the Global Agenda’ provides a valuable tool for a better understanding of how the leadership environment will change in the coming decades, and it will provide a framework for discussions at the YGL meeting during the upcoming World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.”

“’Future Mapping for the Global Agenda’ illustrates the pitfalls of prognosticating the future,” said YGL Paul Meyer, Chairman and President of Voxiva, “but as we look across a range of domains – health, technology, education, finance, environment – there do seem to be a few conclusions to safely draw.”

The survey findings indicate that all these issues require long-term, globally coordinated responses, which the current political/economic system does not support. Other key highlights from the YGL survey include:

1. Most pressing issues in 2030: After global warming, which 59% of respondents believe will be the key challenge in 2030, the depletion of resources (37%) and asymmetric warfare (27%) are considered the most pressing challenges in the next two decades.

2. Powershifts I: While 69% of respondents believe that nation states will lose power until 2030, they will remain the most influential actors in addressing key challenges. 86% of YGLs see multinational corporations and individuals gaining power between now and 2030.

3. Powershifts II: China is expected to be the leading nation state in 2030 (88%), followed by the US, India and Russia, with Germany, France and the United Kingdom significantly losing power.

4. Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs): 64% believe that weapons of mass destruction will be used by non-state actors by 2030.

5. Emerging Change Agents: Some of the weak signals highlighted include China buying into Blackstone, the increase in votes supporting extremist parties in Europe, fewer women wanting to work full time, the concentration of individual wealth and the rapid rise of independent media in developing countries.

“I agree with two basic trends highlighted by the Young Global Leader report,” YGL Maria Bartiromo, Anchor at CNBC, said, “the income gap between countries will narrow and the global middle class will expand but with growing income inequality within countries; and more intra-state conflicts will occur.”

“As we look into the future of energy, a few trend lines are converging to create one of the most dramatic dislocations in history: the demand-driven, dramatic oil price increase, the carbon-based emission economy and the emergence of cheap cars in Asia. As we look at this scenario, working out the results of Asia's demographic growth and urbanization effects, we realize the future mapping is a complex multidimensional effort. The Forum has tackled such complex intertwined scenarios which will give us all visibility and clarity as to our social, capital and technological roadmap to sustainable growth”, said YGL Shai Agassi, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Better.

The discussions on Future Mapping were initiated at the Young Global Leaders Inaugural Summit in 2005 with the development of a "Vision 2020" scenario (since extended to 2030) and the definition of the six key areas of concern for the future: development and poverty, education, environment, global governance and security, health, and values and security. Since then, the initiative has been further developed to provide a platform for high-level discussions with leaders from business, the media, politics and society on the future and the global, regional and industry agendas.

Note to Editors

  • The Forum of Young Global Leaders
    The Forum of Young Global Leaders is a unique, multistakeholder community of the world’s most extraordinary leaders aged 40 or younger who agree to dedicate a part of their time and energy to jointly work towards a better future. Each year, the World Economic Forum recognizes 200-300 exceptional individuals, drawn from every region in the world and from a myriad of disciplines and sectors, as Young Global Leaders (YGLs) and invites them to join the community as active members. The Selection Committee, which is chaired by Her Majesty Queen Rania of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is composed of the world’s most eminent media leaders. YGLs engage in task force work under the themes of development and poverty, education, environment, global governance and security, health, as well as values and society. (www.younggloballeaders.org)
  • The entire study, the survey results and OpEds by YGLs can be downloaded here: http://www.rolandberger.com/futuremapping
  • Everything about the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008 is here: http://weforum.org/annualmeeting

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a foundation in 1971, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests. (http://www.weforum.org)


The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is independent, impartial and not tied to any interests. It cooperates closely with all leading international organizations (www.weforum.org).