Online Davos Event Tackles Big Themes

GENEVA – The corona pandemic has forced the annual meeting of world leaders, business leaders and other heavyweights at the World Economic Forum to go virtual for the second year in a row, but organizers still hope this week to get the world thinking about the future with a scaled-down online version this week.

The meeting, an online alternative to the event typically held in the Swiss ski town of Davos, will feature speeches from the leaders of countries such as China, India, Israel, Japan and Germany, as well as panel discussions with business, government and philanthropy figures such as Dr. . Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert who will talk about COVID-19, and Bill Gates and John Kerry, who are expected to discuss climate change.

Organizers are still hoping their plans for a larger in-person gathering can go ahead this summer. Until then, here are five things to watch at next week’s online event:


President Xi Jinping, which hasn’t left China since the coronavirus emerged in early 2020, will – just like last year – be beamed in as arguably the event’s main headliner.

He has traditionally used appearances at international gatherings such as Davos to call for cooperation to fight climate change and the coronavirus and paralyze what Beijing sees as US efforts to stop China’s rise and dominate global governance.

In a speech on Monday, Xi could again address changes that Beijing says will open up the state-dominated economy and dismiss complaints that it wants to break away from international trade. His comments reflect the verdict The Communist Party’s Desire for Global Influence to match China’s status as the second largest economy.

Beware of any mention of self-governed Taiwan, which China regards as part of its territory and threatens to attack, and claims to the South and East China Seas or parts of the Himalayas, which have created tensions with its neighbors flare up.


One of those neighbors with tense ties to China is India, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also take the virtual floor on Monday.

During the eight-year tenure of Modi, the star of the Hindu nationalist BJP party, India has seen a resurgence in attacks on the Muslim minority. India’s political parties are gearing up for state elections just two months after Modi’s government… rare retreat on agrarian reform bill that led to huge protests from farmers.

The campaign attracted tens of thousands of people, even though, as elsewhere, the ommicron variant has caused a surge in COVID-19 cases.


It is impossible for the Davos crowd to overlook the health crisis that has disrupted plans for the past two years.

The pandemic is getting a top bill on Monday, with Fauci and the CEO of vaccine maker Moderna joining in a panel discussion about what’s next for COVID-19, which has taken several major turns as its omicron variant sweeps the world.

On Tuesday, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will certainly promote his oft-repeated call for greater vaccine equality at a panel on the subject. Many developing countries lag far behind their wealthy counterparts when it comes to access to vaccines. Who says greater vaccine equity may help prevent the emergence of worrisome, highly transmissible variants such as omicron.


Climate change and energy — along with a regional take on Latin America — will take the top bill on Wednesday, with a speech from the Saudi energy minister and a look at how the world is transitioning from its reliance on fossil fuels. Kerry, the special climate envoy under US President Joe Biden, joins Davos tough Gates — recent author of “How to Avert a Climate Disaster” — in a panel on climate innovation.


True to its name, the economic forum never strays far from the world of business activity. The week will conclude with discussions on issues such as capitalism for a sustainable future, trade in an age of tense global supply chainsand how government action is needed to deliver sustainable and equitable recovery after the pandemic.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will have the final say Friday with a talk at the virtual forum, where she will have the chance to promote President Joe Biden’s plans to re-engage globally to prevent new environmental disasters. Amid the pandemic and soaring inflation, the former Federal Reserve chairman could also tap into financial recovery efforts, government says $1 Trillion Infrastructure Act and her support for a worldwide minimum corporate tax agreed by more than 130 countries.


AP Business Writer Joe McDonald in Beijing and Fatima Hussein in Washington contributed.

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Source Online Davos Event Tackles Big Themes


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