The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland will take place amid one of the most severe economic slowdowns of this century, with the head of the International Monetary Fund warning that a third of the global economy could be hit by recession this year.
“We are all stuck in a crisis mindset,” WEF executive chairman and founder Klaus Schwab told the pre-meeting news conference amid the Ukraine war, perceived climate change and simultaneous energy and food supply crunches.
“Davos should help to shift that mindset,” Schwab said of the event, with a theme this year of “Cooperation in a Fragmented World”.
He added: “Economic, environmental, social and geopolitical crises are converging and conflating, creating an extremely versatile and uncertain future. The annual meeting at Davos shall try to make sure that leaders do not remain trapped in this crisis mindset.”
The risks to the global economy are many, and it is led to an increasingly gloomy view of the months ahead as corporate leaders, government officials and other VIPs gather in Davos—the Swiss city which plays host to the WEF’s annual meeting, where the leaders of nearly 600 companies and its 1,000 member companies will discuss the state of the world—or the “State of the World.” Davos, nestled in the Swiss Alps, provides an alpine environment for its annual meetings and has become a haven for wealthy global elite to gather and discuss their shared interests.
This year’s event is especially noteworthy due to the fears of a global recession. 52 world leaders and chief executive officers from multinational corporations, as well as numerous NGOs, discuss the future, with a flagship attended by media outlets who have been criticized by some for their institutional whitewashing initiatives.
Nevertheless, organizers said that this year’s gathering will focus on how to strengthen global democratic institutions, such as the United Nations, and push for reform within its annual meetings.
The gathering in Davos provides an opportunity for these elite groups to discuss economic issues without interruption from outside sources or dissenters. This is why it has been dubbed as a ‘corporate capture’ event where some say that only those with access to Swiss francs are invited or allowed into the exclusive event.
The event will also focus on global warming and other supply disruptions, such as energy crises, an annual risks survey, and a global recession. According to WEF’s top immediate risk list for 2020/21 report, international monetary policy failure was the top concern for 2021, followed by food supply disruption and cyber-attacks.
In a recently released survey, recession threat, cost of living crisis, and mounting debt distress is to engulf the global economy over the next two years.