What to expect at Davos 2017: regional round-up

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to members of the Charity Commision for England and Wales at The Royal Society in London, January 9, 2017. REUTERS/Dan Kitwood/Pool - RTX2Y4IU

British Prime Minister Theresa May to talk about a 'new Europe' Image: REUTERS/Dan Kitwood/Pool

Oliver Cann
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This article is part of: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

The global agenda tends to dominate coverage of Davos. The international economy, financial markets or global emergencies such as inequality and climate change will continue to occupy reporters this year. But the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting has more than 400 sessions, and many are dedicated to regional matters, as well the global outlook. Here’s an overview of some of the region-specific headlines expected to emerge this week.

Europe and Eurasia

  • Over 100 heads of state and ministers from Europe will contribute to this year’s narrative, The Beginning of a New Europe, including a keynote presentation by Theresa May.
  • CEOs from global businesses will partner with Digital Europe to launch a new initiative aimed at connecting innovation hubs across the region to entrepreneurs, investors, policy-makers and businesses. They will also kick off an initiative called Future of Jobs in Europe, which will focus on helping workers develop the skills they need for the 21st century.
  • The Forum will kick off a process in partnership with the European Investment Bank and the think-tank Brugel on creating inclusive growth. The initiative is based on new Forum research that suggests countries have been missing an opportunity by focusing on economic growth rather than people’s living standards.
  • Davos will see the inaugural convening of the Europe & Eurasia Regional Strategy Group, a multistakeholder group made up of leaders from business, government and academia. This group is intended to shed light on the critical developments in the region ad guide the Forum’s work in Europe and Eurasia.

Latin America

  • In recognition of his efforts to secure peace and bring a lasting end to the country’s long-running civil war, the Forum will honour Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos with its Global Statesman Award.
  • Regional integration will be on the agenda with the launch of Mercosur-ESTA trade negotiations during the meeting.
  • Another highlight will be the participation of Rodrigo Janot, Prosecutor General of Brazil, who has been leading an epic fight against corruption in the country. Market capitalism needs urgent reform in three key areas: ending corruption, tackling inequality and failing to adopt sufficient long-term thinking, according to Klaus Schwab, the Forum's Founder and Executive Chairman.

East Asia

  • Cambodia will sign an agreement to become the first country to join the Forum’s Sustainable Development Investment Partnership, which aims to mobilize US$100 billion into infrastructure investment in less developed economies by 2020. By joining this initiative, the goal is to help global capital flow into Cambodia to address its critical infrastructure gaps.
  • Ministers of trade and industry from five ASEAN countries will meet to begin a project that aims to examine the future of manufacturing in South-East Asia. The work, which also involves companies and other stakeholders, will help to understand how the big trends in manufacturing will impact the region, and how the region can position itself to survive and thrive during the fourth industrial revolution.
  • Davos will see the inaugural convening of the ASEAN Regional Strategy Group, a multistakeholder group that has been set up to guide the Forum’s work in South-East Asia and to ensure the Forum’s resources are trained on the most important economic, social and environmental challenges.

North America

  • At a critical time for the United States, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry will deliver farewell messages. Biden’s special focus will be on Europe. Additionally, several long-standing Annual Meeting participants who are closely associated with President-Elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration will share their insight on the priorities of the incoming team.
  • Only one week after a government reshuffle, Canada’s new trade minister will be among a delegation of six ministers. Significant, given the fact that CETA (the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) was the only major international trade deal signed last year.

The Middle East and North Africa

  • Leaders will discuss progress on the Forum’s efforts to create sustainable employment opportunities in the region. Signatories to our New Vision for Arab Employment project have helped re-skill 250,000 people since 2013 and are now targeting 1 million current and future workers.
  • The Forum and the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank group, will launch a joint initiative, 100 Best Arab World Start-Ups, to support entrepreneurship and youth empowerment in the region and also to spur new thinking on the future of the region’s economy in the context of the fourth industrial revolution.
  • Building on longstanding efforts to facilitate dialogue and peace, formal and informal meetings will take place over the future of Syria, the overall geopolitical situation in the Middle East and the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations.
  • Forum communities across the region will launch a new initiative titled Accelerating Economic Reforms in the Middle East and North Africa. It will help governments implement large-scale economic reforms. Of particular interest is a session with Saudi ministers on the country’s Vision 2030, which will shed light on the importance of public-private partnerships in driving reform there.

India and South Asia

  • The Forum will launch a Regional Strategy Group on South Asia tasked with pushing forward public–private cooperation. Two key areas of focus will be to establish a body to oversee the Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture food security initiative, which has so far been adopted by five Indian states (in Maharashtra alone, 500,000 farmers were helped between 2012 and 2015) and to launch an India Innovation Index alongside the Indian government, Cornell University and the World Intellectual Property Organization to measure and rank the innovation performance of Indian states.

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