Coronavirus, growth and inequality on the Forum menu that opens this Monday

Coronavirus, growth and inequality on the Forum menu that opens this Monday
Coronavirus, growth and inequality on the Forum menu that opens this Monday

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The logo of the World Economic Forum, in Davos in 2019. – CHINA NEW

Coronavirus crisis requires, the World Economic Forum (WEF), which opens on Monday, abandons the snowfall of Davos this year in favor of a completely virtual format. Chinese President Xi Jinping will start the ball rolling with a speech. Later in the day, ECB President Christine Lagarde will debate, alongside French Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire, his German counterpart Peter Altmaier and the CEO of Goldman Sachs, on how to “restore economic growth “.

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The return to an increase in GDP is the key question for officials, business leaders and scientists participating in this week of virtual round tables.

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The optimism that prevailed in November when the Covid-19 vaccines became a reality is no longer in place at the start of the year, marked by the imposition of new restrictions and the progression of variants of the coronavirus.

“A crucial year to rebuild confidence”

During the 2020 edition of the WEF, the appearance in China of a mysterious pneumonia, which was not yet a pandemic, still raised only a vague concern.

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The economic elite gathered in the wealthy alpine resort was more interested in the passes of arms between Donald and Greta Thunberg than in the confinement decreed in Wuhan. A year later, when the Republican has just reluctantly left the White House, the Asian continent returns to the front of the stage for this 51st edition, on the theme: “A crucial year to rebuild confidence”.

Another major subject debated this week will be that of the rise in inequalities and the risk that this poses to the cohesion of societies, while the name of Davos symbolizes, for his critics, the omnipotence of money and drifts of ultra-liberalism.

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The organizers also intend to “re-found capitalism”.

Europe will be present via French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel or President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

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The new Biden administration, which has undertaken to reconnect with multilateralism, dispatched immunologist Anthony Fauci, presidential advisor on the pandemic. John Kerry, the special climate envoy, will also be present after the new Democratic president’s decision to bring the United States back into the Paris agreement. Asia will be represented by the Chinese and South Korean presidents, and the Indian and Japanese prime ministers.

A forum in Singapore in May

As a symbol, after this first virtual session, “Davos” will be transported in May to Singapore, far from the Swiss ski resort where this symposium, created in 1971 by German professor Klaus Schwab, usually takes place.

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The reason given is “health security”, the city-state, which had to deplore only 29 deaths, being considered safer than Geneva, a time mentioned as a fallback solution.

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