News / Economy

Davos Economic Forum to Tackle Challenges of a Changing World

World Economic Forum Executive Chairman and founder Klaus Schwab addresses a news conference in Cologny, near Geneva, Jan. 15, 2014.
World Economic Forum Executive Chairman and founder Klaus Schwab addresses a news conference in Cologny, near Geneva, Jan. 15, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
A stellar cast of more than 2,500 business, government, academic and civil society leaders are expected to attend this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.  The meeting, which takes place from January 22 to 25, will address the challenges facing today’s changing world. 

As in previous years, glitz and glamour will be in abundant supply at the World  Economic Forum.  Security will be tight in the small Swiss Alpine town of Davos to protect some of the world’s leading movers and shakers.  

Among the more than 40 heads of state expected to attend are the prime ministers of Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom, and the presidents of Mexico, South Korea and Brazil.  

For the first time since 2004, a sitting president of Iran will come to Davos.  Forum organizers say Hassan Rouhani will speak about Iran’s place in the world and present his view of Iran’s relationship with the rest of the world.  

The list of luminaries expected to attend is extensive.  Many will participate in panel discussions focused on this year’s unwieldy theme -- “The Reshaping of the World:  Consequences for Society, Politics and Business.”

The forum's founder and executive chairman, Klaus Schwab, says some of today's best minds will be asked to try to unravel the world's complexities.  He says they will be asked to look at hot-button issues, such as the situation in the Middle East.  They also will be asked to address fundamental underlying development issues, including the new digital and technological landscape, job creation and global warming.

“What we want to do in Davos this year in this respect is to push the reset button," he said. "Let me explain. The world is much too much still caught in a crisis management mode and we forget that we should take now into our hands and we should look for solutions for the really fundamental issues.  We should look at our future in a much more constructive, in a much more strategic way.”  

Among the many highlights in the program are sessions on climate change and the post-2015 development goals, the future of health and healthcare, and the pressing problem of youth unemployment.  Others include panels on economic prospects for major emerging economies including China, India, Brazil, Mexico and Russia.  The future of North Africa and the Middle East also will be discussed.

Africa, too, will figure prominently, but differently from previous years.  Nearly 40 African leaders, among them nine heads of government, will attend, including the presidents of Tanzania, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia.

In a departure from traditional practice, WEF Director, Head of Africa, Elsie Kanza, says this year there will be no formal sessions devoted to Africa.  She tells VOA African issues will be dealt with on the sidelines of the meeting, or they will be integrated into other global topics that are addressed.

“Something that is important from the African community, and which we paid heed to this year, is that they were tired of being boxed into an Africa corner," she said. "They said Africa is very much part of the world and Davos is really a platform that is global, and that therefore what you have is African voices on global issues.”

Kanza says African leaders do not want their issues to be treated as isolated cases.  She says they want to be seen as equals to all others who attend the meeting.  They say they want the Davos focus to be more on Africa’s place in the world, rather than on the continent or region of origin.

You May Like

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies


Rates may not be current.