Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese premier Xi Jinping will be among the top world leaders who will participate in a five-day online Davos Agenda Summit of the World Economic Forum (WEF) later this month. Several union ministers including Narendra Singh Tomar, Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan along with top business leaders such as Mukesh Ambani and Anand Mahindra will also participate in the event.
While the WEF will host its physical annual meeting in May in Singapore, as against the regular venue of Swiss ski resort town of Davos, the Geneva-based organisation is hosting an online event, named ‘Davos Agenda’ around the same time it generally hosts its yearly congregation of the rich and powerful of the world. The online Davos Agenda Summit from January 25-29 will see several heads of state and government deliver special addresses and engage in dialogue with business leaders at the start of a “crucial year to rebuild trust”.
In a statement, the WEF said the heads of state/ government who have confirmed their participation include Xi, Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, South Korea President Moon Jae-in, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore, the host of the World Economic Forum Special Annual Meeting 2021. The WEF’s Davos 2020 summit was the last major global event that took place before almost the entire world got locked down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ‘Davos Agenda’ will also mark the launch of WEF’s “Great Reset Initiative” and begin the preparation of the special Annual Meeting in the spring, said the Geneva-based entity, which describes itself as an international organisation for public-private cooperation. Heads of state and of government and international organisations will give special addresses on the state of the world, besides engaging in dialogue with business leaders. Industry leaders and public figures will discuss how to advance and accelerate public-private collaboration on critical issues such as COVID-19 vaccination, job creation and climate change, among others, according to the WEF.
Those who have already registered for the event also include former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan and ex-IMF chief Christine Lagarde. From India, the registered participants from the business community are Mukesh Ambani, Sanjiv Bajaj, Shyam Sunder Bhartia, Hari S Bhartia, Ajay Khanna, Jayadev Galla, Dipali Goenka, Ajit Gulabchand, Shobana Kamineni, Hemant Kanoria, Neeraj Kanwar, Onkar S Kanwar, Vikram Khemka, Grandhi Kiran Kumar, S P Lohia, Anand Mahindra, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Rajan Bharti Mittal, Pawan Munjal, Salil S Parekh, Jai Shroff, Sumant Sinha and Vaishali Sinha.
The ministers registered for the event so far are Nitin Gadkari, Piyush Goyal, Smriti Zubin Irani, Dharmendra Pradhan and Narendra Singh Tomar. While the WEF annual meeting for 2021 will be held during May 13-16 in Singapore, the high-profile summit will return to Davos in 2022. The WEF said the Davos Agenda 2021 will convene under the theme ‘A Crucial Year to Rebuild Trust’. More than 1,500 business, government and civil society leaders from over 70 countries will set the agenda for a critical year ahead and discuss how to catalyse impact in the rapidly advancing Fourth Industrial Revolution, it added. The conclusions from the Davos Agenda week will feed into task forces working on global issues for the upcoming Special Annual Meeting in Singapore, the WEF said. “In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to reset priorities and the urgency to reform systems have been growing stronger around the world,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of WEF.
“Rebuilding trust and increasing global cooperation are crucial to fostering innovative and bold solutions to stem the pandemic and drive a robust recovery. This unique meeting will be an opportunity for leaders to outline their vision and address the most important issues of our time, such as the need to accelerate job creation and to protect the environment,” he added. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that no institution or individual alone can address the economic, environmental, social and technological challenges of our complex, interdependent world.
The pandemic has accelerated systemic changes that were apparent before its inception. The fault lines that emerged in 2020 now appear as critical crossroads in 2021. The Davos Agenda will help leaders choose innovative and bold solutions to stem the pandemic and drive a robust recovery over the next year, it added. Special addresses from G20 heads of state and government and international organisations will provide crucial insights into a range of important issues in the year ahead, the WEF said. The private sector will be represented by more than 1,000 leaders from the Forum’s member and partner organisations.