Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 26 April 2019

Davos 2019: Japan's Shinzo Abe, Germany's Angela Merkel and China's Wang Qishan among attendees

Steve Mnuchin and Mike Pompeo to lead US delegation after Donald Trump pulls out of World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Switzerland

Two people leave the Congress Centre under snow ahead of the opening of the World Economic Forum 2018 annual meeting. Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
Two people leave the Congress Centre under snow ahead of the opening of the World Economic Forum 2018 annual meeting. Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, China’s Vice President Wang Qishan and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will top the list of leaders gathering in Davos, Switzerland, next week.

Brazil’s recently sworn-in President Jair Bolsonaro will also attend this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, adding a high-profile representative for anti-globalisation voices to discussions aimed at creating a more inclusive economic future for all.

US President Donald Trump had scrapped his trip to the annual gathering because of the partial government shutdown, removing from the meeting in Davos the globe’s most prominent representative of those critical of how globalisation has left many behind, even as it created new wealthy classes in emerging economies.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer still plan to attend the forum, according to AP.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a visit to Cairo last week. AFP
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a visit to Cairo last week. AFP

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Barham Salih, President of Iraq, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, the President of Afghanistan, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations will also be in Davos.

Microsoft’s chief executive, Satya Nadella, is a co-chair of this year’s meeting.

Bank chiefs, including Goldman Sachs’ David Solomon and HSBC’s John Flint, will be well represented as usual.

Among European royalty attending this year will be Britain’s Prince William.

The event, entitled ‘Globalisation 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution’, is aimed at helping to create a more inclusive future in the wake of an increasingly fragmented political landscape in developed countries.

Mr Bolsonaro, nicknamed the ‘Trump of the Tropics’, swept to victory in presidential elections in October off the back of a populist surge in Brazil, as he promised to be hard on crime and return the country to its “glorious period” of military dictatorship.

He has courted controversy with his personal views on race and homosexuality.

To be in Davos, Mr Bolsonaro put off abdominal surgery to remove a colostomy bag attached after he survived an election rally stabbing attack in September.

On Monday, he promised to showcase "a different Brazil, free of ideological ties and widespread corruption" at the Forum’s meeting, AFP said.

Half of the 3,006 attending the meeting will be actively participating in Davos, organisers said, reflecting a meeting that was not just a conference but “a collaborative effort” to meet some of today’s biggest challenges such as the future of job creation, social safety nets and balancing both the benefits and risks of technology.

Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Forum, said that 333 cabinet-level government members would be engaged in working sessions, running from Tuesday to Friday.

The dialogue aims to create mutual understanding on common interests, even if there are not common values in today’s worlds, to cover a “trust deficit”, Professor Schwab said.

“We see everybody absorbed by crisis management. Where do we look still at the future?” said Professor Schwab. “In Davos, we want to be more opportunity orientated. We deliberately take a longer-term view. We want to shape [the future]”

Currently, 95 per cent of all panels at the Forum’s annual meeting will have male and female representation, with an effort being made to get this up to 100 per cent.

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Updated: January 21, 2019 01:54 PM

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