Next week sets the stage for one of the most important global seminars of the year from the 22nd – 25th of January. The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting, which is taking place in Davos, is going to be one of the most important meetings in recent history.
The theme this year is ‘Globalisation 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution’. An aptly dramatic title for what is likely to be an eventful week for global economic discussion.
The WEF attracts ambassadors, business leaders, academics and cultural figures alike to contribute to proceedings across a plethora of topics beyond just economic issues. For example, Bill Gates and Sir David Attenborough will be holding discussions on financial innovation in healthcare and the preservation of life on earth respectively.
This year 3,000 delegates will descend on Davos to address the pressing issues facing the world. Emphasis will be placed on addressing elevated levels of global risk, faltering growth, climate change & the environment, financial & social inequality and the impact of cybersecurity and technology.
Why The Fuss?
These talks are extremely important as they set the tone for global economic relations for the year ahead. Notably, the absence of President Trump’s US delegation and Emmanuel Macron from France has left the door open for China to take a commanding role in the proceedings.
Having elected to stay at home to fight the Democrats over his border wall, President Trump was scheduled to be replaced by Wilbur Ross, Mike Pompeo and Steve Munchin – US heads of Commerce, State and Treasury respectively. However, recent developments in the government shutdown have forced Trump to withdraw his entire delegation from the forum. Trump’s absence is a contentious topic, seeing as he is partially responsible for the item at the top of the agenda (global risk) thanks to his penchant for protectionism.
What Can We Expect?
Notwithstanding, other influential leaders will still be attending; such as Angela Merkel, Benjamin Netenyahu and Shinzo Abe and are set to contribute extensively to the talks. Most are expected to stress the importance of multilateralism and economic cooperation and resisting the urge to isolate oneself by following protectionist policies.
Brexit and the risks associated with the rise of populism in Europe will also be high on the agenda. The overarching theme of the forum is inclusive globalisation and perhaps some of the rhetoric will finally sink in for leaders looking to cut trade ties rather than make them!
These talks couldn’t have come at a better time when more countries are questioning the status quo and lashing out against globalisation. Europe has been the poster-child for political upheaval and discontent with the surge in support for populist leaders speaking volumes about the peoples’ need to be heard. The last few years have seen a considerable pushback against traditional political frameworks and the idea of multilateralism, putting the entire global liberal order under pressure to change in line with the will of the people. This will likely be a hotly-debated topic next week with the hope that the overarching theme of multilateralism can impress the importance of economic cooperation upon those flirting with isolationist policies. Surprisingly, this year it will be China setting the example for countries to follow with a record number of delegates and plans to promote further freeing up of global trade and investment.
The three-day forum is likely to have some interesting twists and turns and we’ll be there to make sure you don’t miss out on the latest developments. Be sure to keep an eye on our daily newsletter and the Invstr feed for the latest updates and analysis.