The annual congregation of the world’s most influential figures at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos has kicked off, bringing together global leaders.
From the future of artificial intelligence and climate change to labor market dynamics and geopolitical tensions, this year’s forum is no different, with a diverse range of voices deliberating on pivotal issues shaping our world.
Trump’s Influence Felt Despite Physical Absence: Former President Donald Trump, though not present, quickly became a topic of discussion on the first day at Davos. Former Vice President Al Gore expressed doubts about Trump’s inevitability as the Republican presidential candidate.
“Well, last time in 2016, Ted Cruz won the Iowa caucuses going away, and then it mattered not a whit. We’ve seen others win the Iowa caucus on the Republican side and then disappear,” Gore commented in a Bloomberg interview.
On Monday, in freezing conditions, Iowans will gather for the Iowa Republican Party’s initial presidential nomination caucus.
In a Bloomberg interview, Philipp Hildebrand, Vice Chairman of BlackRock Inc., reflected on the possibility of Trump’s return to the presidency, noting, “You know, we’ve been there before, we survived it, so we’ll see what it means.” He added, “Certainly from a European perspective, from a kind of globalist, Atlanticist perspective, it’s of course a great concern.”
Inflation and Interest Rate Concerns: Hildebrand also warned that investors’ bets on U.S. interest-rate cuts might be excessive, given that inflation might prove to be more persistent than expected. “I’m a little worried we’re sort of priced for near perfection, sort of almost a perfect soft landing where inflation is gone as a problem,” he said.
IMF Chief Kristalina Georgieva highlighted the need for countries to build buffers against upcoming economic shocks, emphasizing that the central banks’ job is far from over. Georgieva also stated that inflationary pressures could reemerge due to exogenous shocks.
Switzerland Calls for Global Cooperation in Peace Efforts: On Sunday, Switzerland Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, during Ukraine’s 10-point peace formula session, stated, “Nations have got together in Davos” to discuss peace, focusing on Ukraine and other global areas. Cassis urged doing “everything to end this war,” including dialogue with China. “We must find ways to work with China on this,” he added, noting the unwillingness of Russia and Ukraine to make concessions.
Zelenskiy Heads To Davos: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to meet the President of the Swiss Confederation Viola Amherd in Bern on Monday. Furthermore, Bloomberg reported that Zelenskyy plans to meet with JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon this week at the World Economic Forum as he seeks financial support for Ukraine’s fight against Russia.
“Zelenskyy and his delegation are really here to shore up support,” Reuters reported, emphasizing the necessity for Zelenskyy to “show his face, have his ministers come along, have key meetings, bilateral meetings.”
Erdogan’s Stance Against WEF Over Middle East Issues: In a significant political move, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked his country’s officials to skip the World Economic Forum this week. This decision was in response to the forum’s stance on Israel’s conflict with Hamas. A spokesperson for the World Economic Forum commented that the “serious security and humanitarian situation in the Middle East will be a key focus” of the summit.
Oxfam Sheds Light on Wealth Inequality: A critical issue that emerged on Monday was the ongoing efforts to address wealth inequalities. Oxfam’s latest report shows that since 2020, the wealth of the top five richest men has surged by 114 percent, and billionaires are the leading or main shareholders in seven of the world’s 10 largest companies.
Oxfam called for governments to rein in corporate power by breaking up monopolies, instituting taxes on excess profit and wealth, and promoting alternatives to shareholder control such as forms of employee ownership. “We are entering a decade of division” due to an era of “billionaire supremacy,” said Amitabh Behar, the Interim Executive Director of Oxfam.