What will be discussed at the World Economic Forum this year

DrThe most popular participant in this year’s World Economic Forum does not even take a trip to the Swiss Alps. Volodymyr Zelensky will be delivered from Kyiv on Monday for his speech to the participants in Davos and to spectators around the world. The president of Ukraine, who has held his post in his hard-earned homeland since the beginning of the war, could not change his course on a trip to the picturesque Swiss mountains from everything. However, his messages to the world will draw attention. Because the Russian war of aggression and its consequences are pushing with all its might the agenda of the fifty-second World Economic Forum, which is being held for the first time in May, and not in January due to the pandemic.

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Ukraine will be present with a large delegation of politicians and representatives of businessmen, including several ministers, including the famous Deputy Prime Minister and Digital Minister Mikhailo Fyodorov. The Klitschko brothers will be there, too. On the other hand, there is no Russian delegation this time. The organizers had already openly invited the abuser in February. This is remarkable for an organization whose founder, Klaus Schwab, has always believed in the need to maintain dialogue with all relevant parties, and who has had a regular personal exchange with Putin. Forum director Alois Zwingli spoke about the speed of decision-making. “It immediately became clear to us that we stand in solidarity with Ukraine,” he told the Swiss newspaper Blick. Therefore, a diplomatic peace initiative cannot be expected due to the absence of the Russians. But according to the former director of Holcim Zwingli, the humanitarian consequences of this war and the question of what economic reconstruction might look like after the end of hostilities must be discussed.

discussion space

The war in Ukraine inevitably pushes other, no less important issues into the background. However, the World Economic Forum attempts to focus on six pressing challenges of events: The change in traditional industries towards more sustainable production is closely related to combating the climate crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has almost receded into the background for now, but its consequences are enormous for both the healthcare sector and the global economy. Given the accelerating inflation rates in many countries, the question of where the future growth momentum will come from seems more urgent than ever. ECB President Christine Lagarde’s speech is expected to be eagerly awaited, and not just because of interest rate policy.

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Finally, the topic of distributive justice is not only of great interest in many developing countries. Development aid organization Oxfam criticized in advance that many super-rich have particularly benefited from the Corona crisis, for example through stock transactions. It previously added that out of the nearly 2,670 billionaires in the world, 573 have been added since the start of the pandemic. In contrast, a quarter of a billion people are at risk of sliding into extreme poverty. Federal Economy Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) addressed critics of globalization, who traditionally consider meeting in the Alps a piece of red cloth, in a statement before leaving for Davos.

Despite all the justified criticism, the World Economic Forum also provides a space for controversial and critical discussions on these issues. Habik will participate in a forum on energy supply and security. For Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Social Democratic Party), his Davos debut will also be his first public appearance before an international audience. European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg are also traveling to Switzerland. On the other hand, US President Joe Biden, who will visit Japan and South Korea on a trip to Asia, will be absent. DAX executives such as Herbert Diess (VW), Frank Appel (Deutsche Post) and Christian Klein (SAP) are anticipating the German economy.

On the other hand, familiar faces from the ranks of climate activists are missing. Above all, the Swedish Greta Thunberg, whose popularity received a huge boost in Davos. In general, the activities reported by activists appear relatively modest. In the introductory period, the explanation can be heard from their ranks that this relates to the May date: many young people are currently undergoing their final exams. Then world politics will have to wait.

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