The work of the World Economic Forum – known as the Davos Forum – was launched today, Monday, but this year’s version came virtual via closed-circuit television due to the Corona pandemic.
The pandemic imposed itself on the agenda of the forum in its five days, as most of the sessions were devoted to discussing ways of economic, social, environmental and health recovery from the consequences of the epidemic.
At the outset of the forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the participants to stand united in facing the epidemic, warning of a “new cold war,” and stressing multilateral action.
Without naming the United States, Xi championed multilateralism and globalization, just as he did before the forum four years ago.
Less than a week after the end of the term of Donald Trump, who chose open confrontation with China, and the inauguration of Joe Biden as the new President of the United States; The Chinese president said, “Forming small blocs or starting a new cold war and ostracizing, threatening or intimidating others, imposing divisions or sanctions, or disrupting supply networks with the aim of isolation, will only contribute to pushing the world into division and even confrontation.”
Xi pointed out that the global recovery from the Corona pandemic is somewhat shaky, and the outlook remains uncertain. He also called for strengthening the role of the G20 as the main forum for managing the global economy, and urging the countries of the world to participate in closer coordination of macroeconomic policy.
The Biden administration – who will not participate in these sessions – is expected to define its policy in the face of China’s economic and technological expansion.
The forum is usually held in the resort of Davos, in the Swiss Alps, but the Covid-19 pandemic ruled otherwise.
This year, the virtual sessions will be attended by more than 1500 personalities including leaders of states and governments, businessmen and thinkers, who represent about 70 countries.
Combating the epidemic that continues to claim lives in various parts of the world is the main issue of concern to the participants in the 51st edition of the forum, as the optimism that prevailed last November – when vaccines appeared – no longer prevails. After that, mutated copies of the virus appeared, new restrictions were imposed, and vaccine doses were delivered.
The founder and CEO of the forum, German Professor Klaus Schwab, said that rebuilding trust and increasing global cooperation are crucial to stopping the pandemic and achieving a strong recovery.
In addition to China’s strong presence in the forum – despite the emergence of the virus on its soil a year ago – Europe confirms its presence through French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
This comes after the European Union laid the foundation stone for the controversial agreement on encouraging mutual investment with China at the end of last December.
Meanwhile, Russian news agencies quoted a Kremlin spokesman as saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin will deliver a speech at the forum on Wednesday.
Putin’s appearance at the forum is expected to be controversial, at a time when the West is considering possible new sanctions on Russia over the Kremlin’s handling of opposition Alexei Navalny.
Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that Putin had not participated in a similar event since 2009, when he was prime minister of Russia.
After the virtual sessions, the Davos Forum will move next May to Singapore, away from the luxurious Swiss winter resort, where it has been held since it was founded by Professor Schwab in 1971.
The stated reason for his transfer was related to health concerns; Singapore – which has recorded only 29 deaths from the pandemic – is safer than Switzerland.
This focus on Asia on the part of the World Economic Forum organizers reflects the economic data that confirm the growing rise of Asia, especially China.
A United Nations report published on Sunday showed that in 2020 China has become the world’s first destination for foreign direct investment. Superior to the United States.
On the other hand, the International Labor Organization said today that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused the elimination of the equivalent of 255 million jobs in 2020, 4 times what happened during the global financial crisis in 2009.
For its part, Oxfam called in its annual report – published today – to impose taxes on the wealthiest groups to fight what it called “the virus of inequality”, noting that billionaires saw their wealth increase by 3.9 trillion dollars between March 18 and December 31. / December 2020.