January 27, 2018

Davos 2018: What is the World Economic Forum all about?

Davos 2018Davos is both the name of a mountain resort town in Switzerland and the colloquial name given to the World Economic Forum (WEF). Formed as the European Management Forum some forty-seven years ago, the WEF got its current name in 1987 and the following year was the first-time member nations of this newly formed world body came together in Davos. The event has been held every year since. Davos 2018 is the 31st edition of the World Economic Forum and here’s what you can expect from it!

At the time I am writing this, the temperature in Davos is a chilling 32° Fahrenheit / 0° Celsius but this hasn’t deterred the world’s leaders from descending on this beautiful ski town five thousand feet above sea level in the Swiss Alps. So, what are the world’s most influential people doing in this desolate, snow-covered Swiss town? They are there are for the World Economic Forum.

The History of Davos

An annual meeting where world leaders as well as corporate heads, intellectuals, celebrities, and activists come together to discuss the world’s problems.  Davos or the World Economic Forum has been held each year since 1988. In fact, it’s been active since 1971, only then the name was European Management Forum.

The first gathering of the WEF or EMF to be technically correct, took place in 1971. Chaired by Klaus Schwab—a German engineer and economist, the event was an academic, economic and management conference. The first forum had more than four hundred attendees. The forum grew over the next few years—becoming bigger and better, and in 1974, politicians were invited to Davos for the very first time.

The purpose of this was to help revive a struggling European economy and deal with conflicts affecting the region. Two years later, in 1976, the membership of the forum was extended to include C-Level executives from the thousand leading companies of the world. In 1987, the annual gathering was renamed as the World Economic Forum—the name it bears today.

Today, the World Economic Forum or Davos as it is popularly known, is where the world most influential people deliberate the biggest challenges faced by the world and how to resolve them. At the same time, they meet, greet and ink deals. The conference is opened by Schwab—now 74, and then it’s four days of discussion galore!

What was to be Expected from Davos this Year?

At Davos 2018 we’ve seen the world’s politicians, economists, business leaders and celebrities descend on the swiss ski town situated two hours’ drive away from Zurich. You cannot be faulted for thinking that Davos 2018 is just a conference.  It is that, but it also a lot more! One-on-one on-stage interviews, speeches and panel discussions—things not associated with a normal conference, are part of this gathering.

Additionally, there are meetings in the background and high profile meetings between corporate heads and world leaders to discuss the latest crisis and sign deals for mutual benefit. According to a press release by the organizers of Davos 2018, the purpose of this year’s forum is to get corporate leaders, heads of state and other influential people to renew their commitment to world cooperation in areas such as the global economy, climate change and technology. Following are some of the most important things/discussions that will take place during this year’s World Economic Forum.

Preventing Another Global Economic Meltdown

One of the most important topics of discussion during Davos 2018 will be how to prevent another global economic meltdown. The CEOs and business leaders will put forth their suggestions and the world leaders will ponder on them to determine their effectiveness and if they can be incorporated into existing policies. Whether the suggestions become part of the economic policies or not, one thing is for sure—this year’s WEF will go a long way in preventing another crash of the world economy.

A Look at The Environment

An increasingly popular topic today is that of global warming and continuing with this trend, the WEF attendees will be discussing the world environment and what can be done to safeguard it. We may even see commitments to combat global warming being made. Also, Davos 2018 may serve as the platform where initiatives to minimize global waste are launched.

Emerging Technologies on the Agenda

This one should be of particular interest to all the techies out there (me being a lover and early adopter of technology too). Emerging technologies and their ability to alter patterns of productivity will one of the main agendas of Davos 2018. The attendees will discuss how recent technologies have changed the world and what skills are required to adapt to these changes.

A topic that is bound to catch the media’s attention is the gender disparity in the technology industry. As I wrote this week, right now, women are unrepresented—to say the least, in the tech world. Discussions will take place on why this is so and how it can be tackled during Davos 2018. The discussion will be co-chaired by a women-only panel which includes the CEO of IBM Ginni Rometty, the prime minister of Norway Erna Soldberg and the International Monetary Fund’s director Christine Lagarde.

Speeches to Look Out For

If you’re interested in what the world leaders had to say about the world economy or global conflicts, then here are a few to come out of Davos 2018:

The opening address by India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi

The closing remarks by our President –  Donald J Trump

Held at the start of each year, the World Economic Forum is an annual gathering of corporate heads, intellectuals, celebrities, and activists to keep an eye on. The above is what you can expect each year and from this year’s forum in the Swiss ski town of DAVOS!  With America’s leadership, entrepreneurship, and the great American worker, the world is on the cusp of wonderful growth and expansion.  I’m ready – are you?

by Bobby J Davidson

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