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Davos Day 1 Highlights Package 1

posted 26 Jan 2011, 07:14 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 26 Jan 2011, 07:17 ]

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011 opened Wednesday, 26 January, in Davos, Switzerland, focusing on the theme "Shared Norms for a New Reality". Governments, international agencies, and businesses need to find new ways of working as the world's economies recover from the brink of disaster over the past two years.

DAVOS-KLOSTERS, SWITZERLAND - Over the five-day Meeting, over 2,500 leaders from over 100 countries will convene in Davos-Klosters, representing business, government, civil society, academia and culture. More than 1,400 business leaders from the Forum's 1,000 Member companies will take part in the Annual Meeting. Participants also include over 35 heads of state or government, with 19 of the G20 governments represented at ministerial level or higher. They are joined by government ministers, central bankers, top officials from international organizations, labour leaders, religious leaders, representatives of civil society, media and leading academics.

Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum, said the new reality is that the world has entered a post-globalisation, post-digital and, perhaps, post-crisis era, which requires new solutions and structures.

Robert Greenhill, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum, said another new reality is the emergence of new economic powers, including the "BRIC" nations - Brazil, Russia, India and China - which all are well-represented in Davos. The Annual Meeting's atmosphere for dialogue, Greenhill said, has an important influence on actions taken over the next year by all of the Forum's constituents.

The first session of the Meeting focused on the state of the world's economy. All of the panellists agreed that the situation had improved markedly over the past year, but real risks remain.

New York University Economics professor Nouriel Roubini noted some real positive elements in the global economy - improved growth in the advanced economies and the developing economies, though they are growing more quickly; fears of a double-dip recession are decreasing; and major corporations have improved their balance sheets and will be in a position to invest in the coming year. However, Roubini and others noted that rising energy and commodity prices represented a real risk - economic, social and political.

Azim Premji, Chairman of India's Wipro, said his government was most concerned with curbing inflation. But the major factor in the world economy is that the balance of consumption is shifting from the advanced economies, which are not growing very quickly, to the fast-growing emerging countries.

WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell noted four factors for the coming year that the International Business Council had determined with its membership - instability has led to increased investment in the "BRIC and next-11", while they indicated a lack of available talent as a risk, despite large unemployment numbers, and "green" initiatives as continuing to be important.

The Risk Response Network, one of the Forum's most important initiatives was launched Wednesday. The network will address concerns about widening economic inequalities and failed global governance systems underpinning a raft of other interrelated risks ranging from financial governance to cyber security and resource scarcity, according to the Forum. Kevin Steinberg, the World Economic Forum's Chief Operating Officer who will manage the Network, says the Forum is uniquely placed to catalyse a collective response to this new landscape, working with governments, NGOs, and international agencies, and also with the private sector, to better understand, manage and respond to the complex and intertwined risks.

The demonstrations in Egypt were on the minds of delegates. Former Saudi Arabian intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal said the Egyptian government has to "catch up" with the people demonstrating in the streets.

The Forum of Young Global Leaders (YGLs) is a global community of more than 750 high achievers under the age of 40 representing business, government, civil society, arts & culture, academia and media, and social entrepreneurship. 130 of the YGLs gathered for a pre-meeting day of discussion. Set up as an independent not-for-profit foundation in close cooperation with the World Economic Forum, the Forum of Young Global Leaders is headed by David Aikman. He says it adds a generational perspective to the WEF's view of global affairs. Among participants at Tuesday's sessions were Beijing-based investment advisor Jason Li, and Brazilian businesswoman Jill Otto, who runs her family asset management business.

Notes to Editors:

Comprehensive information about the Annual Meeting 2010 can be found on the Forum website: