World Economic Forum 2024 kicks off in Davos with ‘Rebuilding Trust’ as key theme

World Economic Forum 2024 kicks off in Davos with 'Rebuilding Trust' as key theme
World Economic Forum 2024 kicks off in Davos with 'Rebuilding Trust' as key theme

Africa-Press – Tanzania. Against the backdrop of escalating geopolitical tensions, evolving economic policies, and rapid technological advancements, the 54th annual World Economic Forum (WEF) kicked off Monday in Davos, Switzerland, with the theme “Rebuilding Trust.”

During the Jan. 15-19 meeting, over 2,800 participants from 120 countries, including prominent figures from the business, political, academic, and civil society realms, will gather to navigate the complex global landscape and seek solutions to pressing challenges.

WEF underscores the necessity of international collaboration in tackling humanitarian, climate, social, and economic challenges, encapsulated by this year’s theme Rebuilding Trust.

Global risk analysis by WEF identifies disinformation, extreme weather events, and climate change as major threats, further complicated by mounting geopolitical crises.

Leaders will concentrate on six critical themes: Economic resilience, energy transformation, globalization, productive artificial intelligence, strengthening institutions, and women’s health.

Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of WEF, emphasized the imperative to rebuild trust in a fragmented world witnessing increased social divisions.

The forum explores the impact of the technological revolution, sustainability, and the rise of populism.

Artificial intelligence (AI) takes center stage, with discussions focusing on its equitable use, regulatory frameworks balancing innovation and societal risks, and its interface with other transformative technologies.

The agenda also delves into the rise of populism, technological advancements, breakthroughs in medicine, robotics, AI, and digitalization.

Geopolitical issues, including the war in Gaza and Ukraine, feature prominently on the agenda, acknowledging the complex geopolitical landscape. Diplomatic discussions on conflicts in the Middle East, Ukraine, and Africa are anticipated.

Who is attending?

Global political figures slated to participate include China’s Vice Premier Li Qiang and French President Emmanuel Macron, the sole G7 leader attending this edition, who is scheduled to deliver a special address.

UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves are confirmed attendees at the forum.

Representing the US, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry will be in attendance.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be making speeches as well.

Argentinian President Javier Millei is set to address the gathering on Wednesday, attracting attention due to recent controversial decisions such as dollarizing the economy and abolishing the central bank.

Prominent figures from the global economy, including International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank President Ajay S. Banga, and World Trade Organization Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, will make appearances.

Leaders from international bodies and civil society groups joining the forum include the United Nations’ António Guterres, NATO’s Jens Stoltenberg, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organization, and Tirana Hassan of Human Rights Watch.

While more than 800 chief executives of multinational companies are expected to be in search of new markets at the summit, more than 150 global innovators, technology pioneers, and industry-transforming Unicorns will also take part.

One noteworthy initiative is the “AI Governance Alliance,” an alliance that includes major tech players such as Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Meta Platforms. This alliance aims to shape AI development and usage responsibly, emphasizing transparent and inclusive AI systems.

Another one is the “First Movers Coalition,” a collective endeavor by leading companies to decarbonize heavy-emitting sectors and advance emerging climate technologies. With over 95 members making a total of 120 commitments, this coalition underscores a growing influence and dedication to combatting climate change.


The annual Davos Summit is under increased scrutiny amid questions about the organization’s ability to fulfill its stated mission of “improving the state of the world.”

Critics argue that WEF meetings provide a convenient platform for large corporations to influence governments from a distance by investing money, with concerns having been raised over the rise of global trade tensions, technology wars, and growing inequality, all of which cast doubts on the effectiveness of the WEF’s initiatives.

To address these global challenges, the WEF has forged partnerships with numerous international organizations and companies, focusing this year on projects related to creating resilience for future generations, reimagining globalization, rewiring artificial intelligence, guiding the green transition, and addressing power gaps and economic inclusivity.

Some detractors argue that the WEF repeats the same discussions with the same individuals annually.

Supporters of the WEF counter these criticisms, asserting that the organization fills gaps left by other international bodies. They view the WEF as a vital platform where political and business leaders come together to discuss “good ideas for the world.”

Despite the high-profile nature of the Davos Summit, it’s important to note that ideas, speeches, discussions, and promises made during the event do not have binding implications for governments.

Responding to protests, particularly in the early 2000s, WEF founder Schwab expanded media access to more closed-door meetings and included additional civil society organizations.

The WEF, traditionally a proponent of globalization, now expresses concerns that rising inequality, protectionism, and nationalist policies could precipitate another global economic crisis.

The WEF membership requires a strategic partnership fee of hundreds of thousands of dollars, with additional costs for attending the Davos summit. Critics also highlight the exorbitant prices of hotels and food during the summit.

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