World’s rich and powerful people, including over 100 from India, as well as government heads from the UK, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh will be in this Swiss ski resort for 5-day WEF Annual Meeting beginning on Monday to hold discussions on global economy and need for a ‘responsive and responsible leadership’.
Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and Nirmala Sitharaman, Niti Aayog’s Arvind Panagariya, DIPP Secretary Ramesh Abhishek and Andhra Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu are among the prominent attendees from India at the elite talkfest, where Modi government’s demonetisation move, as also the fear of ‘de-globalisation’ in the wake of Trump Presidency in the US, will be among key topics of discussion.
There will be a special session on India where the panelists will discuss the country’s anti-corruption and tax reform programmes and how inclusive the results can be.
Besides, more than 100 Indian CEOs and business leaders, including the next chief of Tata Group N Chandrasekaran, will be present at the event which will see overall more than 3,000 participants from more than 100 countries, including 1,200 CEOs, the biggest such gathering ever, who will huddle over important economic and geo-political issues before the world.
There will be an estimated 300 public figures, including more than 50 heads of state and government, and many participants from media, academia, and NGOs.
Over the next five days in snow-laden Davos, where the temperature could fall to as low as minus 20 degrees, the 47th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) will be held amid a growing focus on fight against terror across the world, including Europe, and would incidentally end on the day when Donald Trump assumes office of the US President.
Top global leaders expected to be present include British Prime Minister Theressa May and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who will open the meet along with Swiss President Doris Leuthard, even as some others like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and South African President Jacob Zuma will give this year’s annual jamboree of the rich and powerful a miss.
Jinping will be the first Chinese President to attend the 47-year-old summit, which will also see presence of Pakistan President Nawaz Sharif, Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe from the region.
Former Pakistani Army Chief Raheel Sharif will also be there.
Ahead of the summit, the WEF said economic inequality, societal polarisation and growing environmental dangers are the top risks facing the world over the next 10 years while India alone can see this year a staggering 93 per cent holding jobs without social security benefits.
These would be among the key issues to be discussed by the world leaders at the meeting.
“Trends such as rising income inequality and societal polarisation triggered political change in 2016 and could exacerbate global risks in 2017 if urgent action is not taken,” the WEF said.
The annual study further noted that key drivers of these risks can be arrested or reversed through building more inclusive societies, for which international cooperation and long-term thinking will be vital.
The Summit will also see a host of bilateral meetings on the sidelines, including by Gadkari and Sitharaman, who would also meet Swiss Minister for Economic Affairs Johann N Schneider-Ammann on efforts to conclude the long-pending EFTA free trade agreements.
Switzerland will also host the traditional informal WTO ministerial meeting, with around 30 participants including from India, which will work towards concrete results at the upcoming ministerial conference in Buenos Aires in December.