The story of day four at Davos 2023

Here's a snapshot of what you might have missed from Day 4 of Davos 2023.
Here's a snapshot of what you might have missed from Day 4 of Davos 2023.
Image: World Economic Forum/Walter Duerst
  • Trade, equality and growth in Europe were on the agenda at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting 2023 today.
  • Here's a snapshot of what you might have missed from Day 4 of Davos 2023.

Talk of trade

We heard today from Yoon Suk Yeol, President of the Republic of Korea, and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Greece.

At a time of fragmentation, Yoon Suk Yeol called for cooperation and collaboration - in particular on trade and supply chains.

Even in the current global economic landscape marked by fragmentation, the
free trade system, which has contributed to global economic growth and
enhanced humanity’s freedom remains a global public good that can never be
forsaken. Building up walls and intensifying protectionism cannot be the right answer.

— Yoon Suk Yeol, President of the Republic of Korea

It came on a significant day for trade at Davos, which the launch of our new Coalition of Trade Ministers on Climate, which will aim to put climate action at the heart of trade and trade policies. Supply chains and climate action were also brought together in our Decarbonizing Supply Chains: Leaving No One Behind, session with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Director-General, World Trade Organization.

And, this evening, Okonjo-Iweala, also stressed the role of trade as a solution - to the climate crisis, to the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and to a range of issues we face. But, only if we prevent decoupling and fragmentation.

The issue of inequality

There was concern about the system in the Reversing the Tide session - or as Joaquin Castro put it, the infrastructure of opportunity. Gabriela Bucher called it an 'explosion of inequality'.

Business also has a role to play in diversity, equity and inclusion, as we heard in the Beyond the Rainbow session. There's been significant progress, Sharon Marcil, Regional Chair, North America at Boston Consulting Group, but still plenty of work to do.

Perspectives from Africa, Europe and Latin America

In Realizing Africa's Century, panelists outlined the challenges that the continent faces, in particular around climate change, the cost of living, COVID-19 and conflict. But Winnie Byanyima, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, also said she sees cause for optimism. "There are many challenges," she said. "But I always see the potential of our beautiful continent."

The Finding Europe's New Growth session heard from political and business leaders from across the continent. From a capital markets union to the need for finance for the twin green and digital transition, they assessed the state of the economy.

Christine Lagarde, the President of the European Central Bank, struck an optimistic tone.

And we heard from Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, on the energy crisis in Europe and diversifying from Russian gas.

Yesterday, we also heard from leaders from across from LatAm in the Leadership for Latin America session. They looked at how they can advance the global energy transition and climate agenda. They also discussed how their countries are actively solving domestic challenges such as inflation, inequalities, and sustainability against a backdrop of global uncertainty.

Ukraine's peace formula

Andrey Yermak, Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine shared his proposal for peace for his country in this session. He emphasised the tragedy of lives lost due to the war and explained why it might not be possible to achieve peace with Russia in the traditional way.

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