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Trapped in crises: World Economic Forum without superstars

For the first time since the beginning of the Corona pandemic, the World Economic Forum is taking place in Davos again. But the meeting of the rich and powerful has lost its luster.

    For the first time since the beginning of the Corona pandemic, the World Economic Forum is taking place in Davos again. But the meeting of the rich and powerful has lost its luster.

US President Joe Biden has canceled, Chinese head of state and government Xi Jinping is sending a deputy, and dazzling CEO Elon Musk finds it absolutely boring ("boring as fuck"). After all, the founder of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Klaus Schwab, can still rely on the winter weather: Shortly before the start of the WEF annual conference in Davos, the Swiss alpine town disappeared again under a blanket of snow.

Even if you can expect boots and fur coats in Davos again, the gathering of the rich and powerful seems to have lost some of its luster in recent years. Before the corona pandemic, the visit of then US President Donald Trump and his meeting with climate activist Greta Thunberg was electrifying. In 2017, the Chinese Xi gave a well-received speech for free world trade in the Swiss mountains. This time the organizers announce a record participation, but without superstars.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is almost the most renowned name in the WEF program. A total of 50 heads of state and government have been announced. But there could still be cancellations at short notice. South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa, for example, is not coming to Davos after all because of a serious electricity supply crisis in his country. For security reasons, it was kept secret until shortly before the event, whether the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj wanted to be involved again or even travel himself this time.

World Economic Forum: War in Ukraine likely to be the focus again

A total of almost 2,700 participants from politics, business and society want to discuss solutions to international problems at the meeting until Friday. As in the previous year, the focus will probably be on the war in Ukraine and its effects on the global economy.

Also read: All current information on the war in Ukraine in the live ticker

Schwab spans a wide arc: The world is currently caught in crises, he said before the start of the conference. Davos should help that she doesn't get caught up in it. However, there are only slogans if governments, business and organizations work together. This is also the aim of the motto of this year's conference: "Cooperation in a fragmented world".

The global economy is under enormous pressure from the Ukraine war: energy crisis, high inflation, disrupted supply chains. The corona pandemic in China. "Economic, environmental, social and geopolitical crises are converging to create an extremely unpredictable and uncertain future," Schwab says.

Topics at the World Economic Forum

1. Inflation and impending recession: Rising inflation rates are putting politics and business under pressure. At the WEF, Finance Minister Christian Lindner is therefore discussing the rise in the cost of living, and Economics Minister Robert Habeck is discussing the revival of trade, growth and investment. There are podiums on the looming recession and the future of monetary policy. The 56 participating finance ministers, 30 trade ministers and 19 central bank heads give hope for debates about the controversial subsidy program for US companies ("Inflation Reduction Act") Above all, there is the question of whether climate protection is not falling more and more behind in the face of gas shortages, the revival of coal-fired power plants and the nuclear debate. The annual conference itself wants to be climate-neutral and calls for people to travel by train – but Greenpeace already feared a fleet of private jets in the Swiss Alps davos The Ukrainian delegation is expected to again solicit support for reconstruction. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will also speak. And the former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, 99 years old, presents "historical perspectives on the war". 4. Labor market and skills shortage: How do we work in the post-corona world? Several panels are also dedicated to this question in Davos. It's about fair wages, the success of four-day weeks, a global minimum wage and the phenomenon of "quiet quitting", which is a buzzword in the working world for employees only doing as much at work as contractually stipulated and is rewarded. The World Economic Forum has always been a forum for exchange for advocates of growing world trade and open markets – both of which have been disrupted since the start of the corona pandemic. Has the focus shifted? Star investor George Soros, actually a much celebrated regular guest in Davos, is traveling to the Munich Security Conference this year instead.

    1. Inflation and impending recession: Rising inflation rates are putting politics and business under pressure. At the WEF, Finance Minister Christian Lindner is therefore discussing the rise in the cost of living, and Economics Minister Robert Habeck is discussing the revival of trade, growth and investment. There are podiums on the looming recession and the future of monetary policy. The 56 participating finance ministers, 30 trade ministers and 19 central bank heads give hope for debates about the controversial subsidy program for US companies ("Inflation Reduction Act").2. Energy and food crises versus climate protection: Both topics are well represented in the program – and the overriding question is whether climate protection is not falling more and more behind in the face of gas shortages, the revival of coal-fired power plants and the nuclear debate. The annual conference itself wants to be climate-neutral and calls for people to travel by train – but Greenpeace already feared a fleet of private jets in the Swiss Alps.3. Geopolitics: The future of the Ukraine and the second year of the Russian war of aggression, which will soon begin, will determine numerous podiums in Davos. The Ukrainian delegation is expected to again solicit support for reconstruction. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will also speak. And former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, 99 years old, presents "historical perspectives on the war".4. Labor market and shortage of skilled workers: how do we work in the post-corona world? Several panels are also dedicated to this question in Davos. It's about fair wages, the success of four-day weeks, a global minimum wage and the phenomenon of "quiet quitting", which is a buzzword in the working world for employees only doing as much at work as contractually stipulated and is rewarded. The World Economic Forum has always been a forum for exchange for advocates of growing world trade and open markets – both of which have been disrupted since the start of the corona pandemic. Has the focus shifted? Star investor George Soros, actually a much celebrated regular guest in Davos, is traveling to the Munich Security Conference this year instead.

(Theresa Munch, dpa/tas)

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