The 50th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting closed today, a historic
meeting bringing all stakeholders together to shape a cohesive and sustainable
World Economic Forum President Børge Brende said “Our 50th Annual Meeting has been truly remarkable, due to the real progress
that we created on a spectrum of issues where public-private collaboration is
crucial. We laid the basis for a decade of delivery.”
Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary
Fund (IMF), told participants that we are in a better place in January 2020
than we were in October 2019. There are several drivers for this positive
momentum: trade tensions are receding; central banks have loosened monetary
policy; and global industrial production is bottoming out.
The IMF’s economic forecast is for 3.3% growth this year and 3.4% next
year. This level of growth was characterised as “sluggish”, and governments
were called on to enact structural reforms and boost spending.
In 2019, 29 central banks globally reduced rates 71 times and it is now
time to pass the baton on to fiscal policy. “We need to go beyond monetary
stimulus – fiscal policy needs to become more aggressive,” Georgieva added.
Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, shared this
relatively sanguine outlook. Uncertainties have abated on issues like trade and
Brexit, she said, and it is likely that income growth and low unemployment will
eventually be reflected in prices.
“The European Central Bank has launched a broad strategic review, the
first since 2003, to revisit the bank’s processes and policies and to recommend
structural changes,” she said, committing to delivering the outcomes of this
review at the next Annual Meeting.
Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, said:
“The US economy continues to be the bright spot in the world.” The economic
outlook for 2020 is very robust, he added. Inflation remains muted, incomes are
rising and unemployment is near historic lows.
“Trade negotiations have started with both the EU and the UK and we look
forward to completing both of those deals this year,” he said.
Haruhiko Kuroda, Governor of the Bank of Japan, said: “We expect Japan’s
economy to grow by 1% to 1.5% this year.” Nevertheless, inflation in Japan is
stubbornly low. Continued accommodative monetary policy will be required for
some time to achieve the 2% inflation objective, he added.
Climate risk is quite real for Japan, he said. In the fourth quarter of
last year, the Japanese economy experienced negative growth largely because of two
large typhoons. These types of natural disasters are intensifying and Japan
stands ready to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat global
Germany has embarked on an expansionary fiscal policy programme, said
Olaf Scholz, Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister of Finance of Germany. Taxes
have been reduced by about $25 billion a year, investment in infrastructure is
at record levels and R&D spending is targeted to reach 3.5% of GDP.
“Germany’s economy remains strong and we expect these investment
measures to have a material impact on demand,” he added.
However, we must act urgently on sustainability issues, he said. Europe
will continue to lead on climate change, with a target to be carbon neutral by
2050 backed by investments in the green economy and renewable energy.
Outcomes of the Annual Meeting 2020
In a letter sent to participants in advance of the Annual Meeting, Klaus Schwab, the Forum’s Founder and
Executive Chairman, and the heads of Bank of America and Royal DSM, asked all
members and partners to commit to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050
or earlier. In part inspired by this, the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting
2020 saw a number of outcomes that made progress towards a more cohesive and
Skills and Work
· The Reskilling Revolution was launched to provide better education, skills and jobs to 1 billion
people by 2030, with the initial backing of the governments of Bahrain, Brazil,
Denmark, France, India, Oman, Pakistan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and the
United States as well as business partners, including PwC, Salesforce,
ManpowerGroup, Infosys, LinkedIn, Coursera Inc. and The Adecco Group.
Commitments to provide better education, skills and work for 250 million people
have already been made. The Forum’s Global Shaper community further pledged to
provide skills to 100,000 people in vulnerable communities.
· Six leading platform companies – Cabify, Deliveroo, Grab, MBO
Partners, Postmates and Uber – became founding signatories of the Forum’s Charter of Principles for Good
· The Valuable 500
initiative of companies committed to placing disability inclusion on their
leadership agendas that was launched last year in Davos, announced that 241
companies from 24 countries have pledged their support.
· Ingka Group (IKEA) and Royal DSM became founding members of the
Forum’s Hardwiring Gender Parity in the
Future of Work initiative. McKinsey joined as knowledge
· The Partnership for Global LGBTI
Equality, which was launched in Davos last year to
accelerate inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex
(LGBTI) people, announced that it has grown its membership to 17 international
· The International Business Council, incorporating 140 of the world’s largest companies, agreed to support
efforts to develop a core set of common metrics and disclosures that could be
used to measure private sector progress against key environmental, social and
governance (ESG) goals.
· The Forum also became a founding partner this week, alongside
Refinitiv, United Nations and others in the Future of Sustainable Data
Alliance. The alliance focuses on improving the quality of ESG data available
to governments and investors to inform decision-making.
· The Davos Friends of Africa Growth Platform launched with the support
of the Presidents of Botswana and Ghana to promote entrepreneurism in Africa.
The platform’s initial target is to reach 1 million entrepreneurs by the end of
· A strategic partnership was signed between the World Economic Forum
and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to
accelerate progress towards inclusive and sustainable growth globally.
· Some 42 organizations, including businesses from mining, automotive,
chemical and energy that have a combined revenue of $1 trillion dollars agreed
on 10 guiding principles for a sustainable battery value chain, enabled by a
traceability platform called Battery
· The Australian state of Queensland announced it will join the Forum’s
Global Lighthouse Network in a bid to help small and medium-sized enterprises
adopt advanced manufacturing technologies.
· CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations that was
launched in Davos in 2017, today announced the initiation of three programmes
to develop vaccines against the novel coronavirus,
nCoV-2019, in partnership with Moderna and the
Wellcome Trust. The swift action was made possible by the fact that the leaders
of the partner organizations were all in Davos.
· GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, celebrated its 20th anniversary. GAVI was
launched at the Annual Meeting 2000 with the backing of the Gates Foundation,
World Health Organization, pharmaceutical companies and governments to bring
vaccines to children who lacked access. Since then, GAVI has reached 760
· The World Economic Forum announced a partnership with the Global CEO
Initiative (CEOi) to form a coalition to accelerate diagnostics and treatments
for Alzheimer’s disease.
· The Forum initiated Ending
Workplace Tuberculosis, a multi-sector initiative aimed at
tapping into the business community to help stop TB in countries affected
disproportionately by the disease.
· Ministers at Davos announced negotiations between 99 economies on a
new international agreement on investment facilitation at the WTO. The
agreement is aimed at making it easier for investment to flow between economies
while increasing its development impact.
· As theUS and France agreed a detente on digital tax during the
Annual Meeting, the Forum received a mandate from multistakeholder partners to
further build multistakeholder understanding of and input to international tax
reforms and assist the search for broadly supported solutions.
· The Forum partnered with the Japanese government on a multistakeholder
effort to find practical mechanisms to enable free “Data Free Flow with Trust”
in support of the Osaka Track process that was initiated at the G20 in 2019.
· The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship announced that its
community has improved the lives and livelihoods of more than 622 million people in 190 countries since 2000. Impacts include distributing $6.7 billion
in loans or value of products and services; mitigating more than 192 million
tonnes of CO2; improving education for more than 226 million children and
youth; improving energy access for more than 100 million people and driving
social inclusion for over 25 million people.
· 11 NGO executives united to stop sale of .org domain to a private equity
firm. Executive directors of Greenpeace International, Access Now, Human Rights
Watch, ACLU, International Trade Union Confederation, Sierra Club, Amnesty
International, Consumer Reports, 350.org, Color of Change and Transparency
International released an open letter on 21 January 2020 “calling on the leaders of Internet Society (ISOC)
and Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to stop the
sale of the .org top-level domain to private equity firm Ethos Capital”.
Combating climate change
· 1t.org, a new multistakeholder initiative aimed at supporting efforts to grow,
conserve and restore 1 trillion trees by the end of the decade was announced.
Within the first days of its launch, the US and China announced support.
Salesforce announced a new commitment to plant 100 million trees; Colombia
confirmed its existing commitment to plant 180 million trees by 2022; Pakistan
reaffirmed its 10 billion trees campaign; and the Global Shapers also committed
to planting 1 million trees by 2021 across its 400 hubs worldwide.
· New members signed up to the Forum’s community of CEO Climate Leaders. The community are committed to helping their respective companies meet
the Paris Climate Goals. New members include: AstraZeneca; Bayer AG; BBVA,
Dalmia Cement; Jacobs Engineering Group; JLL; Newmont Corporation; OVG Real
Estate, and Zurich Insurance Group.
· The Sustainable Markets Initiative, backed by a Sustainable Markets Council, was launched by HRH The
Prince of Wales in collaboration with the World Economic Forum with the goal of
bringing about a transition to sustainable markets and rapid industry-wide
· The Forum’s Advanced Manufacturing and Production community launched
the Carbon Reduction in Manufacturing Initiative with Johnson & Johnson,
Schneider Electric and Unilever, with support from Al Gore’s Generation
Investment Management to achieve a goal of cutting carbon emissions in
manufacturing by 50% by 2030.
· The Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance of 16 pension funds and insurers
committed to helping achieve the Paris Climate Goals added the Church of
England and Generali as new members. The alliance’s portfolio now stands at $4.3
· The Champions for Nature, a high-level group calling for raised
ambition on nature, was launched. It is chaired by the Executive Director of UN
Environment Programme, the CEO of Unilever, and the President of Costa Rica.
The launch followed a new report Nature Risk Rising which found that over half the world’s total GDP –
is moderately or highly dependent on nature.
Sustainable Development Goals
· Frontier 2030 was launched as a platform to leverage the technologies of the Fourth
Industrial Revolution to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals. The
platform is chaired by UNDP in partnership with the governments of Botswana,
South Korea and Norway, as well as private sector commitment from Microsoft,
Google, Cisco, Arm, Planet Labs, X, Amazon Web Services and Chipsafer. It is
hosted by the World Economic Forum.
· The Food Action
Alliance was launched by over 25 partners of the
World Economic Forum, UN agencies, companies, farmer organizations, civil
society, and finance institutions to scale collective action and transform
foods systems to be sustainable, nutritious and healthy, efficient and inclusive.
· A new multistakeholder partnership, SDG500, was launched to mobilize $500 million towards achieving the Sustainable Development
Goals in emerging markets through a series of six blended finance funds. SDG500
is a partnership between the International Fund for Agricultural Development,
the United Nations Capital Development Fund, Smart Africa, Stop TB Partnership,
the IDB Lab of the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Trade
Centre, CARE USA, and Bamboo Capital Partners.
A Cohesive and Sustainable Fourth Industrial Revolution
· The Forum partnered with a community of 40 central banks, international
organizations, academic researchers and financial institutions to create a
framework to help central banks evaluate, design and potentially deploy Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).
· The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with 100 stakeholders,
produced theEmpowering AI Toolkit to help board members better understand the positive and negative
implications of deploying artificial intelligence.
· The Government of Brazil, together with the World Economic Forum and key
business stakeholders, rolled out a set of new scalable policy interventions to increase successful adoption of industrial internet of things
technologies by small and medium-sized enterprises in manufacturing.
· Partners of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Global
Network, including Brazil, Colombia, Japan and Saudi Arabia, expanded their
commitment to ensuring responsible and ethical governance of smart city
technologies through the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance on Technology
Governance, led by the World Economic Forum.
· The World Economic Forum’s Global AI Council, launched in 2019,
collaborated with UNICEF to create guidelines for AI-supported toys for under
seven-year-olds, as well as identifying young people under the age of 18 to sit
on a Global AI Youth Council.
· A group of private-sector leaders from cybersecurity companies, services
providers and global corporations along with law enforcement agencies, Interpol
and Europol, agreed to work together with the World Economic Forum through 2020
to foster a global public-private alliance against cybercrime.
· A group of telecommunications stakeholders, including BT, Deutsche
Telekom, Du Telecom, Europol, Global Cyber Alliance, Internet Society, Korea
Telecom, Proximus, Saudi Telcom, Singtel, Telstra and ITU, endorsed new
principles combating high-volume cyberattacks that could protect up to 1 billion consumers in 180 countries.
· Navdeep Bains, Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry,
and Ajay Banga, CEO of Mastercard, announced a $510 million investment by
Mastercard to establish a new global Intelligence
and Cyber Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia.