The 2023 World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Annual Meeting, the world’s largest annual economics event, has commenced in Davos, Switzerland today.
WEF, originally known as the European Management Forum, is a not-for-profit foundation that was stablished by the German economist Klaus Schwab in 1971. The name was changed to the current one in 1987.
This year’s forum, themed “Cooperation in a Fragmented World,” will be taking place from January 16 to 20 with world’s government, finance, business and civil society leaders addressing the state of the world and discussing global economic development priorities for the coming year.
According to the World Economic Forum‘s officials, over 2,700 leaders from 130 countries, including 52 heads of state and government, will be attending the event in the Swiss Alps resort town.
“We’re likely to surpass the old record from 2020 with 600 global CEOs – including 1,500 C-suite level overall,” says the World Economic Forum’s chief of digital and marketing, George Schmitt.
A total of 116 billionaires are attending the World Economic Forum this year, a 40-percent increase from a decade ago.
Representatives from the US will form the largest group with 33 delegates. Some 18 more billionaires are coming from Europe, and 13 from India, including industrialist Gautam Adani, the world’s fourth-richest person, according to the Billionaires Index.
But a large number of top-tier leaders will be notably absent from the 2023 event though.
US President Joe Biden is skipping this year’s gathering, along with French President Emmanuel Macron, and new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
China’s Xi Jinping and his retinue of Chinese businessmen will also be a no-show at the forum, due to the fallout of a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the country and tumult on the domestic stock market, which saw some $224 billion evaporate from the fortunes of China’s rich in 2022.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is also not attending the event due to an ongoing energy crisis in the country.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is the only representative of the Group of Seven (G7) leaders set to attend Davos 2023 along with European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen.
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is also absent from the Swiss event, along with the entire Russian business establishment, having been scratched off the guest list due to sanctions, imposed on Russia over its brutal and unprovoked war of aggression launched against Ukraine.
Attending the World Economic Forum are:
Alain Berset – president of the Swiss Confederation 2023 and Federal Councillor of Home Affairs
Alexander De Croo – prime minister of Belgium
Andrzej Duda – president of Poland
Christine Lagarde – president of the European Central Bank
Sanna Marin – prime minister of Finland
Roberta Metsola – president of the European Parliament
Kyriakos Mitsotakis – prime minister of Greece
Mark Rutte – prime minister of the Netherlands
Pedro Sánchez – prime minister of Spain
Maia Sandu – president of the Republic of Moldova
Olaf Scholz – federal chancellor of Germany
Leo Varadkar – taoiseach of Ireland
Ursula von der Leyen – president of the European Commission
Aleksandar Vučić – president of Serbia
Chrystia Freeland – deputy prime minister and minister of finance of Canada
Avril Haines – US director of national intelligence
John F Kerry – special US presidential envoy for climate
Katherine Tai – US trade representative
Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego – president of Colombia
Martin J. Walsh – US secretary of labor
Aziz Akhannouch – head of government of Morocco
Najla Bouden – prime minister of Tunisia
Samia SuluhuHassan – president of Tanzania
Félix Tshisekedi – president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Ilham Aliyev – president of Azerbaijan
Ferdinand Marcos, Jr – president of the Philippines
Yoon Suk-yeol – president of South Korea