2024 Global Forecast:
A World Dividing - Part IV


The last two years have witnessed significant global developments that brought geopolitics back to center stage and exacerbated global divisions. The CSIS 2024 Global Forecast—A World Dividing—offers insights from dozens of our scholars on the most urgent questions in the year ahead around security, technology, geoeconomics, alliances, and regional influence. 

This fourth and final installment of A World Dividing analyzes the key areas that will define the fierce battle for influence in the Global South. CSIS experts offer diverse views on regional diplomatic strategy, the humanitarian agenda, global health leadership, climate adaptation, and global food and water security—challenges that will determine geopolitical power and shape the future of the global order.

This volume follows the first three installments of A World Dividing, which explore the myriad issues facing U.S.-China competition in 2024, the rapidly shifting contours of global economic and technology competition, and the outlook for the conflicts raging in Europe and the Middle East.

We invite you to explore the perspectives below to deepen your thinking on these issues.

Visit A World Dividing to read all installments of the CSIS 2024 Global Forecast, featuring expert insights on U.S.-China relations; the global economic and tech race; and the ongoing conflicts in Europe and the Middle East.

Strategic Priorities

A worker is producing photovoltaic modules for export at a workshop of a new energy company in the Sihong Economic Development Zone in Suqian, Jiangsu Province, China.

Humanitarian Challenges in the Global South Are the Unintended Face of U.S. Foreign Policy

Michelle Strucke, Director and Senior Fellow,
Humanitarian Agenda

"Yet for those countries in the Global South for which national security interests are a top U.S. concern, aid professionals are considered technical experts and urged to stay in their lane. Continuing to silo these experts is a missed opportunity for the United States."

Four Tests of U.S. Resolve in Global Health in 2024

J. Stephen Morrison, Senior Vice President and Director, Global Health Policy Center

"In many important respects, the United States is looking impressively strongindeed, it is getting strongerproviding good reason to be hopeful. At the same time, high caution is in order. Multiple geopolitical crises dominate, and as seen in 2023, these can crowd out high-level attention to global health priorities."

How U.S. diplomatic leadership in global health fares in 2024 is an open question. U.S. performance will be judged by its actions on PEPFAR, Global Fund and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the pandemic instrument negotiations, and how it manages China and Gaza.

The Contest for Leadership to Address Climate Change Impacts

Noam Unger, Director, Sustainable Development and Resilience Initiative, and Senior Fellow, Project on Prosperity and Development

"Countries across the Global South are already affected by a litany of damaging climate change impacts and have fewer resources to help them cope, which is cause for collective concern."

Russia Is Manipulating the Global South with Food

Caitlin Welsh, Director, Global Food and Water Security Program

"Today's global food security crisis is not only about the millions of innocent people around the world whose food security has deteriorated due to Russia's invasion but also about attempts by Russia to manipulate these countries through its own exports."

Russia is using the "silent weapon"oof its agricultural exports to secure the support of countries in the Global South. The United States can respond by increasing funding for Ukraine's agriculture sector and by targeting U.S. assistance to the countries whose reliance on Russian grains is growing fastest.

Regional Strategies

A worker is producing photovoltaic modules for export at a workshop of a new energy company in the Sihong Economic Development Zone in Suqian, Jiangsu Province, China.

India and the Global South: Past Obstacles and Future Partnership

Richard M. Rossow, Senior Adviser and Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies

"To the American mind, the 'battle for the Global South' conjures up images of U.S.-China competition. . . . Within its own neighborhood, India will never cede leadership to either China or the United States."

Leadership of the Global South, if such a thing ever really exists, will not be a binary contest between the United States and China. Powerful regional players like India must be engaged as partners as the United States looks to build influence within their regions.

Keeping the U.S. Lead in Southeast Asia

Gregory B. Poling, Senior Fellow and Director, Southeast Asia Program and Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative

"Washington has an opportunity to distinguish itself by pursuing initiatives that promote mutual prosperity, security, and above all the sovereignty of Southeast Asian nations and their populations."

The struggle over the way the global system works will be determined in the Global South, and China's immediate neighbors in Southeast Asia are at the front lines of that competition.

Estranged Neighbors: The Decline of U.S. Influence in Latin America and the Caribbean?

Ryan C. Berg, Director, Americas Program

"U.S. interest is not in blocking China’s engagement in LAC but rather in creating an environment in which LAC countries have a realistic chance of protecting their principal interests in remaining open societies instead of continuing lopsided relationships of dependency with Beijing."

It is neither feasible nor desirable for the United States to completely remove China's influence in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Instead, the United States should pursue a three-pronged strategy of insulate, curtail, and compete, to allow countries in LAC to engage China on more equal terms and curb the most harmful facets of China's influence.

Trust Deficit: Historical Obstacles Hamper U.S. Relations in Africa

Mvemba Phezo Dizolele, Director and Senior Fellow, Africa Program

"U.S. prioritization of Europe in Africa dilutes the U.S. brand and undermines U.S. standing among Africans who have come to see the United States as an extension of the former colonial powers."

A container ship stands among containers in Wilhelmshaven port on July 16, 2022 in Wilhelmshaven, Germany.

Visit here to read all installments of A World Dividing, including a foreword from CSIS president and CEO John Hamre and expert perspectives on China, economic and tech competition, and the conflicts in Europe and the Middle East.


Craig Cohen

Craig Cohen is executive vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a bipartisan think tank in Washington, D.C. In this role, he serves as deputy to the president and CEO, responsible for overseeing and helping to achieve all aspects of the Center’s strategic, programmatic, operational, outreach, fundraising, and financial goals, including recruitment of new program directors to CSIS. Previously, Mr. Cohen served as vice president for research and programs, deputy chief of staff, and fellow in the International Security Program. He has served as editor of two anthologies of CSIS work, Global Forecast 2012 and Global Forecast 2011, as well as director of a project sponsored by the National Intelligence Council that produced the report Capacity and Resolve on foreign assessments of U.S. power. Mr. Cohen codirected the CSIS Commission on Smart Power in 2007 and authored A Perilous Course: U.S. Strategy and Assistance to Pakistan (CSIS, 2007). Mr. Cohen served as an adjunct professor at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School in 2006. Prior to joining CSIS, he worked with the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations in Rwanda, Azerbaijan, Malawi, and the former Yugoslavia. He received a master’s degree from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and an undergraduate degree from Duke University.

Alex Kisling

Alex Kisling is vice president of communications at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where he works alongside the chief communications officer to direct the Center’s press, digital and social media, and other external engagement efforts. He also oversees the Center’s broadcasting and publications functions. Kisling was previously the director of strategic communications at the Atlantic Council, where he served as the organization’s spokesman, oversaw the Council’s media relations portfolio, and managed comprehensive communications planning for the Council’s programs and experts. He worked for nearly a decade at the leading public affairs firms Kivvit and Public Strategies Washington conceptualizing and managing high-profile strategic communications and public policy advocacy campaigns that shaped policymaker opinion in Washington and across the United States. He began his career on Capitol Hill as an aide to Congressman Steve Driehaus (OH). Kisling lives with his wife and two children in Washington, D.C., and is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. He earned his bachelor's degree from Trinity College (CT).

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Photo Credits

Cover: The national flags of participating nations are seen during the opening ceremony of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 18, 2023. | PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images
Strategic Priorities: Women walk along a dyke protecting Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and their host community, from further flooding on November 28, 2023 in Bentiu, South Sudan. | Luke Dray/Getty Images
Regional Strategies: (From L to R) President of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of China Xi Jinping, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pose for a BRICS family photo during the 2023 BRICS Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on August 23, 2023. | GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Conclusion: A Kenyan health worker prepares to administer a dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to her colleagues, part of the COVAX mechanism by GAVI (The Vaccine Alliance), to help fight against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi on March 05, 2021. | SIMON MAINA/AFP via Getty Images