WEF meet kicks off in Davos with focus on economic downturn, rising inflation

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Davos (Switzerland), Jan 17 (IANS) The World Economic Forum (WEF) has kicked off its 54th meeting in Davos amid an atmosphere of uncertainty about when the global downturn will reverse and when the rising inflation in most countries will be reined in.

Topping the list of the WEF’s agenda is the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, which is threatening to enter a wider theatre of conflict in the Middle East, and the Russian-Ukraine war that has now entered the second year and has disrupted global supply chains for raw materials needed for the infrastructure growth.

Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelensky on Tuesday addressed the gathering drawing attention to his country’s plight with the advent of the Russian invasion.

Other nations expressed concern that if the war was not halted other countries would advance their territorial ambitions to their neighbouring countries.

The WEF will conclude on Jan 19th.

The gathering of the WEF in an alpine village in Switzerland has a long history of hosting the powerful in politics, business and culture.

Political, business and other elites have gathered here to tackle the thorniest of problems, from war to inequality to climate change.

Conflict in the Middle East, trust in governmental and business institutions, and climate change are to dominate the proceedings.

The event includes speeches, dialogues among groups, panels on a variety of topics, and various sidebar conversations and after-hours social gatherings that are often a hot ticket.

Over the years, the gathering has seen some big names, including sitting US Presidents (Bill Clinton and Donald Trump), a former political prisoner (Nelson Mandela), a prophet of climate change (Jacques Yvez-Cousteau) and close-to-countless prime ministers (Tony Blair), corporate titans (Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch) and cultural icons (Bono), media reports said.

The 2024 event is not without its star attractions and as in years past — often famous people who are not listed ahead of time also show up.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chinese Premier Li Qiang, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron, new Argentine President Javier Milei and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres are listed as planning to attend.

This year’s conference comes on the heels of a report released by think tank The Conference Board detailing findings of business leaders, which showed a global economic downturn and inflation, are among the top concerns of CEOs worldwide.



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