Top European leaders headline Davos summit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will join the prime ministers of both Britain and Russia, David Cameron and Dmitry Medvedev, as top participants at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, the founder of the annual winter meeting said on Wednesday.

Top European leaders headline Davos summit
World Economic Forum founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab. Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP

Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the forum he created more than 40 years ago, said some 50 heads of governments and state are set to attend the January 23rd-27th meeting in the small Swiss town.
Neither China nor the United States will be represented at the same high level as Germany, Britain and Russia amid the change in leadership in Beijing and Barack Obama's start of his second term as US President.

France will be represented by "two of its most important ministers," finance minister Pierre Moscovici and innovation minister Fleur Pellerin, and
will also bring a delegation of business leaders, Borge Brende, director general of the Forum said.
Organizers have said that this year's Forum will focus on global health issues under the theme of "Resilient Dynamism."

Health ministers and more than 25 heads of healthcare companies are also due to attend.
The poster names of the meeting include Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, Jim Yong Kim, head of the World Bank, Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund as well as Mario Draghi, the chief of the European Central Bank.
Schwab, now 74 years old, founded the Davos Forum in 1971.

This year, it will celebrate its 43rd edition.
The meeting gathers some of the world's leading politicians and economists and is viewed as a global think tank forum.

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Switzerland: 2021 Davos summit shifted to Lucerne in May

The World Economic Forum announced Wednesday that its postponed 2021 Davos summit, themed as "The Great Reset" in the coronavirus crisis, will take place in Lucerne, Switzerland from May 18 to 21.

Switzerland: 2021 Davos summit shifted to Lucerne in May
Participants at the World Economic Forum at Davos in 2020. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The annual gathering of the world's political, economic and business elite traditionally takes place in January against the idyllic snowy backdrop of the Swiss Alpine village of Davos.

But it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and, charged with remodelling the world economy in the wake of the crisis, will now be held 125 kilometres (75 miles) away in the plush Burgenstock resort overlooking Lake Lucerne.

“The meeting will take place as long as all conditions are in place to guarantee the health and safety of participants and the host community,” WEF spokesman Adrian Monck said in a statement.

“The meeting will focus on the solutions required to address the world's most pressing challenges. “Global leaders will come together to design a common recovery path, to shape 'The Great Reset' in the post-Covid-19 era and rebuild a more cohesive and sustainable society.”

Hybrid format

The WEF announced in June that the 51st edition of its annual meeting would take place in a hybrid format, then in August said it was being delayed for several months to reduce any risks to participants from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Lucerne summit will combine both in-person and virtual elements, with participants linked to a network of around 400 hubs worldwide to incorporate dialogue with the WEF's “young global shapers, to ensure openness and inclusion”, said Monck.

The summit will be preceded during the week of January 25 by digitally-convened high-level “Davos Dialogues”, when global leaders will share their views on the state of the world in 2021.

The novel coronavirus has killed more than 1.04 million people while at least 35.5 million infections have been recorded since the outbreak emerged in China late last year, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.

The pandemic has also triggered a global economic downturn, though the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday that while it is far from over, it will not be as bad as originally feared thanks to a flood of government spending.

The World Trade Organization said likewise, forecasting a global trade contraction of 9.2 percent this year, rather than its previous “optimistic scenario” prediction of 12.9 percent.

But global trade will then grow by only 7.2 percent next year, rather than the previous 21.3-percent estimate issued in April, the WTO added.

Swiss cases rising

The WEF announcement comes as Switzerland announced Wednesday that daily coronavirus cases had jumped over the 1,000-mark for the first time since April 1, when the peak of the pandemic's initial wave began to recede.

Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset has urged the country to “get a grip” and be more rigorous in applying the basic measures to control the spread of the virus.

The 2020 edition of the WEF summit, hosted in January just as the world was beginning to become aware of the new coronavirus spreading in China, drew more than 50 heads of state and government to Davos.

It focused on themes of sustainability and finding a more inclusive model for capitalism. US President Donald Trump and Swedish teenage eco-warrior Greta Thunberg were among its top speakers.

The WEF said it aims to be back in Davos for 2022.