The annual World Economic Forum (WEF) kicks off Monday, with global and business leaders descending on the town of Davos, Switzerland for high-level discussions about the global economy, climate, and Russia’s war in Ukraine.
It’s the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that the full event has run unencumbered by restrictions.
Here’s a look at how global media are covering the event.
Fears over the state of the global economy and the worldwide cost of living crisis top the list of concerns as leaders head to the conference, writes Philippe Escande for French newspaper Le Monde, citing a survey of 1,200 experts released last week.
As countries balance high inflation with the need to fund social services like healthcare and education, the polarization between rich and poor is exacerbated, Escande says. As a result, the “nefarious cocktail becomes even more detrimental when these difficulties are combined with geopolitical tension and even wars.”
The ongoing crises today — climate, world debt, war, and nuclear threat — feel pretty familiar to Henrik Muller, a journalist and economist writing for German-language magazine Der Spiegel. “Somehow there is always a crisis,” he writes, adding that according to WEF founder and executive chair Klaus Schwab, decision makers are overwhelmed. Under that kind of pressure, Muller writes, “you run the risk of acting too short-sightedly — and making things worse.”
Despite the 2023 summit being the first time in three years that global leaders have gathered in Davos, the WEF seems to have lost its edge as countries are less interested in cooperating to fix global problems, writes Larry Elliott.
That, Elliott says, could lead the elites attending the event to a bit of soul-searching for what the conference looks like going forward — and that could be a good thing. “For those struggling to get by,” he writes, “there are few things more nauseating than the self-styled masters of the universe wringing their hands about the need to address inequality.”