GENEVA: Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to be the star attraction at this year’s Davos forum, taking place next week at a time of rising populism and uncertainty around the globe.
This year’s World Economic Forum, held in the luxury Swiss ski resort of Davos, should be seen as a call for “responsible and responsive leadership,” WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab said as the organisation unveiled the programme for its 47th edition.
The five-day event kicks off on Monday and is expected to draw a record 3,000 political and business elites to Davos -- considered the highest-altitude town in Europe, situated at 1,550 metres above sea level -- which usually counts just 12,000 inhabitants.
Schwab, 78, said he hoped the eclectic gathering could brainstorm on how to address “the root causes” of the widespread anxiety seen in the world today.
“Why the people are angry, and why they are not satisfied,” he said, insisting on the need for “responsibility which needs courage and which needs decision-making and which needs action orientation.”
“We will have in Davos numerous initiatives... which together may make positive contributions, not only to economic development, but also to social, more inclusive progress,” he said.
As for the main highlights of this year’s forum, Schwab said “the main interest probably will be with the unique Chinese delegation, which will be in Davos under the leadership of the president Xi Jinping.”
Xi will be the first Chinese leader to ever attend the forum.
He is set to pay a state visit to Switzerland from January 15-18, during which time he will also visit the UN’s European headquarters and the World Health Organization in Geneva and the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne.
His visit comes as China seeks opportunities to reshape the rules for global trade, anticipating a more isolated United States under President-elect Donald Trump, who will take office on the last day of the forum on January 20. — AFP