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2022: a year of jubilees and leadership contests


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Hello and welcome to a new year.

I am starting 2022 by looking a little further ahead than usual, outlining events set to happen over the next 12 months. Think of it is a forward planner diary for the coming year.

If there is an overarching theme — apart from the further evolution of Covid — then it is going to be national leadership. We will be aware of the venerability, and vulnerability, of our presidents, prime ministers and other heads of state in 2022.

Perhaps most notable, at least because of the time she has been in the job, is the milestone about to be reached by the Queen. In February, health permitting, she will have reigned for 70 years, the longest of any British monarch. A cluster of jubilee celebrations have been planned for the following months, which organisers hope will lift the Covid-damped mood of many Britons, including a contest to create new cities. Could it even aid the country’s economic recovery?

Across the Channel, Emmanuel Macron will be trying to sustain his own period in office through the French presidential elections, which kick off in April. With France having just taken the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU, Macron will be able to use a pan-European stage to project his authority to his domestic audience.

US president Joe Biden has to worry about his party’s hold on power in Washington with midterm elections looming in November. It currently looks like an opportunity for Republicans to end Democrat control of one or both houses of Congress.

It will be a significant year also for China’s leadership, but for different reasons. In October, President Xi Jinping will — barring a major upset — be anointed as a latter-day emperor at the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist party with a ruling enabling him to remain in office until at least 2028.

Hopefully you will find this skeleton guide to the next 12 months useful — as ever, you can email me at with your views. The Week Ahead will return to its normal structure next Sunday. I wish you a prosperous new year and look forward to returning with the usual weekly guide on January 9.

Key economic, company and world events


  • Change at the top of Johnson & Johnson. Joaquin Duato becomes CEO, succeeding Alex Gorsky, who becomes executive chair

  • European Commission’s provisional deadline for a decision for its investigation into the proposed acquisition of Kustomer by Facebook

  • World Bank launches the winter edition of its Global Economic Prospects report, a semi-annual forecast with an emphasis on the emerging and developing regions of the world

  • Australia, final cricket test match of the Ashes series between Australia and England in Hobart plus the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne

  • World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. The annual gathering of world leaders will take place online rather than in Davos, Switzerland


  • UK, Ofgem will announce an update to its energy price cap

  • First flight planned for the Nasa X-57, a small, experimental aircraft powered by electricity

  • 55th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, rescheduled from September 2021

  • UK, the Queen celebrates her platinum jubilee, marking 70 years as monarch

  • US, Joe Biden’s full year 2023 Budget will be released


  • World Trade Organization annual trade statistics release

  • Belgium, Nato foreign ministers’ meeting

  • China, National People’s Congress annual session for China’s top legislature

  • Mali, run-offs for presidential and parliamentary elections


  • France, presidential elections begin

  • G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meet

  • SpaceX Crew-4 mission launches on a Falcon 9 rocket, to fly astronauts to the International Space Station

  • IMF World Economic Outlook published


  • Colombia, presidential election

  • Italy, Eurovision Song Contest in Turin

  • Philippines, general election

  • UK, local elections in England, Wales and Scotland plus deadline for Northern Ireland assembly elections. Also, May Day bank holiday moves to June for Queen’s jubilee celebrations

  • OECD economic outlook report


  • France, presidential elections conclude

  • UK, Glastonbury Festival set to return after cancellations in 2020 and 2021

  • UK, winners announced in contest to gain official city status. The capitals of the Falkland Islands, Cayman Islands and Gibraltar are among the 39 applicants.


  • France, Cannes Film Festival

  • UN Foundation gender equality summit


  • Nasa Pre-Aerosol Clouds and ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission due to launch

  • UK, 75th Edinburgh Fringe Festival

  • 25th anniversary of Diana, Princess of Wales’s death in a Paris car crash


  • UK, Bank of England withdraws the legal tender status of the paper £20 and £50 notes, having replaced them in recent years with polymer notes

  • UN General Debate opens


  • China, Chinese Communist party begins its five-yearly National Congress

  • IMF and World Bank annual meetings



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