February 1, 2023

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The global elite gather again in the Swiss mountain village of Davos | Economie

Next week, the economic and political elite gather again in Davos, a mountain village in Switzerland, for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF). The gathering this time was not so much overshadowed by the Corona virus, but by the purchasing power and the energy crisis that threatens global economic growth.

Founded by German economist Klaus Schwab, the World Economic Forum has been bringing together top politicians, business leaders and NGOs for more than 50 years as the world’s largest public-private event. Supporters describe the organization as a super think tank where ideas are exchanged at a high level and, above all, connections are made. Belgian politicians also take the opportunity to catch up with their foreign colleagues or to negotiate new investments for our country. Critics speak of an elitist club, a “talking barracks” in which the atmosphere of “we-know-us” reigns.

In recent years, the coronavirus has thrown a wrench into the organization’s business more than once. In January 2020, another full-fledged World Economic Forum took place, but the following year there was no actual meeting. Last year, the summit was pushed back to May again due to the evolution of the variant omikron virus.

Now is the time to gather again for the World Economic Forum in the Snow, January 16th to January 20th. This year’s theme is Collaboration in a Fragmented World.

2700 participants

Participants are expected to reach 2,700, a record number, Schwab announced this week. Among the participants were about 50 heads of state and 1,500 businessmen. But many famous chiefs are missing. Not US President Joe Biden, nor his Brazilian colleague Lula da Silva. French President Emmanuel Macron has yet to confirm. China only sends Vice Premier Liu He. Not surprisingly, the Russians excel in their absence. And Elon Musk, the most famous billionaire in the world, will not come to Davos either.

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Among those in attendance are European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, US politician John Kerry, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Federal Prime Minister Alexandre de Croo and Flemish Prime Minister Jan Gambon will travel to Davos for our country, as will Foreign Minister Hajja Lahbib and Deputy Prime Minister Petra de Sater. Several Belgian business leaders will also attend, including the CEO of the Port of Antwerp and Zeebrugge, Jacques VanderMeeren. A delegation from Ukraine will also come to Davos, but the composition is not yet known.

mental change

According to Schwab, “Davos should help change the way we think because the world is facing several crises.” Indeed, the Global Risks Report warns of the dangers of a “multiple crisis”, where several major challenges converge and reinforce each other. “This creates a very volatile and uncertain future,” Schwab said. Governments must work together to avoid “unprecedented social unrest”.