51ST WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM: AN AGENDA FOR POST-COVID RECOVERY

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Abandoning its traditional format to adapt to the demands of the pandemic, the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering of world political and business leaders, which usually takes place in Davos, once again had a record number of participants for an international economic event.

Held under the theme, ‘A Crucial Year to Rebuild Trust” the virtual event had over 1,500 participants from the highest levels of leadership, including 25 Heads of State and 600 global CEOs, and consisted of a virtual round of dialogues aimed at rebuilding trust and shaping the principles, policies and partnerships needed for 2021.

The five-day virtual meeting had each day focus on one of the five domains of the Great Reset Initiative with discussions over a broad variety of topics, including designing resilient economic systems, building a better future for sustainable development, harnessing the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the coronavirus crisis, which has been the focus of much of the event.

Confronted with pressing challenges like the dwindling global economy and the raging Covid-19 pandemic, world leaders who partook in the virtual dialogue all voiced their support for multilateralism.

Addressing Forum, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, who primarily represented the African global community, stressed the need for global cooperation in tackling challenges from Covid-19.

“It is only through multilateral action that the world can solve its challenges. The pandemic has underscored the vital importance of multilateral institutions in facilitating coordination, cooperation and common responses”, H.E. Ramaphosa noted.

Sharing similar sentiments, UN Secretary-General, AntónioGuterres, underscored the need to address those structural inequalities that have made many societies vulnerable. Emphasizing that pandemic recovery must be inclusive, H.E. AntónioGuterres reiterated that vaccines must be seen as global public goods.

According to him, “Inclusive and sustainable recovery around the globe will depend on the availability and effectiveness of vaccines for all, immediate fiscal and monetary support, and transformative longer-tern stimulus measures.”

Expounded China’s stance on how to promote multilateralism, Chinese President Xi Jinping, called for the safeguard of the authority and effectiveness of multilateral institutions, as well as for more global collaboration on vaccines and assistance to developing countries.

Keeping to a similar theme on multilateralism as the Chinese President and European leaders who spoke after him; Klaus Schwab, WEF Founder and Executive Chairman, in his welcome address told the virtual audience that, “We have to create a new multilateral system which is fair, and takes into account the necessities of the 21st century”.

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