by Staff Writers
Geneva (AFP) Jan 10, 2017
Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to be the star attraction at this year's Davos forum, taking place next week at a time of rising populism and uncertainty around the globe.
This year's World Economic Forum, held in the luxury Swiss ski resort of Davos, should be seen as a call for "responsible and responsive leadership," WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab told AFP as the organisation unveiled the programme for its 47th edition.
The five-day event kicks off Monday and is expected to draw a record 3,000 political and business elites to Davos -- considered the highest-altitude town in Europe, situated at 1,550 metres (5,085 feet) above sea level -- which usually counts just 12,000 inhabitants.
Schwab, 78, said he hoped the eclectic gathering could brainstorm on how to address "the root causes" of the widespread anxiety seen in the world today.
"Why the people are angry, and why they are not satisfied," he said, insisting on the need for "responsibility which needs courage and which needs decision-making and which needs action orientation."
"We will have in Davos numerous initiatives ... which together may make positive contributions, not only to economic development, but also to social, more inclusive progress," he said.
As for the main highlights of this year's forum, Schwab said "the main interest probably will be with the unique Chinese delegation, which will be in Davos under the leadership of the president Xi Jinping."
Xi will be the first Chinese leader to ever attend the forum.
He is set to pay a state visit to Switzerland from January 15-18, during which time he will also visit the UN's European headquarters and the World Health Organization in Geneva and the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne.
His visit comes as China seeks opportunities to reshape the rules for global trade, anticipating a more isolated United States under President-elect Donald Trump, who will take office on the last day of the forum on January 20.
- Trump transition team represented -
The Davos line-up will include outgoing US Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry, along side a representative of Trump's transition team, Anthony Scaramucci.
Schwab said he expected the US transition to be one of the hottest topics of discussion at the forum, adding that there would certainly also "be great interest given to the question of Brexit and the future of Europe."
Davos this year will also feature the new UN chief Antonio Guterres, as well as ministers representing 70 countries, including all of the G20 nations.
The business world will also be well represented, with the heads of some 1,000 companies expected to attend.
Among them are many top Chinese executives, including Alibaba founder Jack Ma, Dalian Wanda Group chairman Wang Jianlin and Baidu president Zhang Yaqin.
A number of Hollywood stars will also be present this year, including Matt Damon, who is also the co-founder of an organisation called Water.org, and Forest Whitaker, who is behind the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative.
Global Trade News
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