Released at our Annual Meeting in Davos, this report outlines a multidimensional framework to assess the quality of economic growth in 107 economies.
Economic Growth

Economic growth: Everything you need to know from the #SpecialMeeting24

Deep dive

Released at our Annual Meeting in Davos, this report outlines a multidimensional framework to assess the quality of economic growth in 107 economies.

Pooja Chhabria
Digital Editor, World Economic Forum
Kate Whiting
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
  • Heads of state and leaders from politics, business, and international organizations will gather in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, between 28 and 29 April for the Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth, and Energy for Development.
  • One of the three key pillars for the meeting is 'A compact for inclusive growth'.
  • Follow live coverage and curated insights from the Meeting.

The start of 2024 has focused on interest rates, inflation, and how to stimulate growth. Many major economies are seeing persistent weak growth forecasts, and the potential for rate cuts as inflation continues to fall has been a hot topic.

The International Monetary Fund's latest World Economic Outlook does offer an optimistic note. "The global economy remains remarkably resilient," writes Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, the Fund's Economic Counsellor and the Director of Research.

Economic growth and inflation
The latest IMF World Economic Outlook says the global economy has been 'remarkably resilient'. Image: IMF

However, uncertainty remains high as the global economy continues to grapple with compounding headwinds and the weakest medium-term growth outlook in decades.

The World Economic Forum's Chief Economists Outlook warned in January of growing rifts and challenges, including deepening geopolitical tensions, tight financial conditions, mounting debt pressures, growing social strains, and rapid advances in the field of AI.

Geoeconomic fragmentation clouds the outlook.
Chief economists expect geoeconomic fragmentation to accelerate this year. Image: World Economic Forum

Reigniting global growth will be essential to addressing looming challenges. The key question for this pivotal moment, however, is not only about increasing economic growth at all costs; it is also about how that growth is achieved and whether it is aligned with other important national and global priorities.

As the World Economic Forum’s Future of Growth Framework revealed, the world economy, on average, is only halfway to fully innovative, inclusive, sustainable and resilient growth.

Against this backdrop, leaders will gather at a Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth, and Energy for Development in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from 28 to 29 April.

The meeting will bring together the public and private sectors to drive inclusive growth, particularly at the nexus of technology and economics.

Here's what to expect.

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Highlights from key sessions

Read on for live coverage of the key sessions as the meeting takes place.

28 March

All times in UTC+3

Mohammed Al-Jadaan, Minister of Finance, Ministry of Finance of Saudi Arabia, joined Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, and Tengku Zafrul Bin Tengku Abdul Aziz, Malaysia's Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, to look at how we can reignite growth while ensuring equality.

Georgieva outlined the three immediate priorities for the global economy:

  • get inflation down in countries where it is still above target
  • focus on rebuilding fiscal buffers
  • find ways to cooperate more, because fragmentation in the world economy is bad for the prospects for growth

Mohammed Al-Jadaan said investment in human capital was important, but so too was investment in innovation and technology.


Tengku Abdul Aziz said Asean nations recognize the importance of inclusive growth.


Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, joined the President of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund; Prime Minister of Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim and Faisal Alibrahim, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Economy and Planning in this session that touched on all the key themes of the Special Meeting. Catch up on the highlights in the X thread below.


Tiit Riisalo, Estonia's Minister of Economic Affairs and Information Technology joined Paula Ingabire, Rwanda's Minister of Information Communication Technology and Innovation; Abdullah AlSwaha, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Communications and Information Technology; Hiroaki Kitano, Executive Deputy President; Chief Technical Officer; Chief Executive Officer, Sony Research, Sony Group Corporation and Øyvind Eriksen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Aker ASA to discuss the opportunities of AI, and also the risks that need to be mitigated.

If you do not master AI within the next 5 to 7 years, you will become irrelevant to a talented leader that uses AI. In other words, you could be potentially, but surely displaced or disrupted.

Abdullah AlSwaha, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Saudi Arabia

Riisalo said his main priority for AI was not how to make money from it but how to make it useful for the people of Estonia.


Ingabire said she was excited about the potential of AI for two reasons:

"One, the ability to be an equalizer, and especially for developing countries, the ability to leapfrog. One of the benefits that we have is that we don't have legacy infrastructure and systems, so if we're able to be very laser-focused on how we deploy AI solutions for the societal problems we're trying to solve for, then we gain the benefits, but we're also able to leapfrog when it comes to technological development.

"The second thing that excites me about AI is the up-levelling effect that it has on the workforce, particularly for least skilled professionals. They stand to benefit the most when it comes to generative AI. What is challenging, though, is then to think about what's the wage gap that will persist."


Eriksen said: "The multi-billion dollar question to me as a business leader is how to get value and how to get returns from the significant investments in AI, both financial results but also environmental results."

But, he added, it starts with people and how they are using the technology.

"If people or employees don't trust the technology, they will never use it."


The way we do science is going to fundamentally change in the coming years and decades, said Kitano.


With around 25% of youth globally not in work, attending school, or undergoing skills training, we look at the employment opportunities tht lie ahead.

And, with the rates even higher in emerging economies and among women, how can the public and private sectors work together to design policies and labour markets to unlock their potential?

Airlangga Hartarto, Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, joined Badr Al-Badr, CEO, Mohammed Bin Salman Foundation (MiSK); Jay Collins, Vice-Chairman, Global Public Sector, Citi and Emon Shakoor, Global Shaper, Riyadh Hub to discuss.

Reskilling is important said Al-Badr. The main challenge is balancing creating new jobs for the new entrants with also upskilling the existing workforce.

"Unemployment is happening from the changing nature of jobs, from technological disruptions, AI disruption. For that reason, job creation, reskilling is really important."

We need to create new employment, and new employment is only happening when we have, economic growth... Indonesia is using digitalization as a new engine of growth.

Airlangga Hartarto, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Indonesia

Rather than crushing employment, generative AI is actually growing employment among the SMEs who can be the most agile and adapt, said Collins.

"It's not destroying their jobs. It's allowing them to be smarter and more efficient, sell more faster, and be leaner and meaner as they do it. It's a fantastic story... 70% of the job growth in the OECD is small and medium-sized businesses.

"If you can't figure that out, you don't have a proposition to deal with the future of work."

Shakoor said inclusion of women, young people and marginalized communities would drive growth and job creation.

"I think of diversity as meaning being invited to the party. But inclusivity is being asked to dance. As world leaders, as government leaders, as leaders of our organizations, we must ensure that the people that work with us are always being asked to dance, that they truly feel included in these environments."

Adel bin Ahmed Al Jubeir, Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and Member of the Council of Ministers and Climate Envoy joined Jordan's Minister of Finance, Mohamad Al-Ississ; Karin von Hippel, Director-General, Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies and Jihad Azour, Director, Middle East and Central Asia Department, International Monetary Fund, and Ahmed Galal Ismail, CEO, Majid Al Futtaim Holding, to look at the risks facing the region's economy and the prospects for stability and resilience.

Azour began by outlining some of the findings from the IMF's Regional Economic Outlook for the Middle East and Central Asia.

He said: "This year is a tale of two cities. It's a year of shocks and at the same time, a year of resilience, a year of recovery. But also a year of very slow growth, a year of high inflation in certain countries, and very well managed inflation.

"You can read the situation in in different ways, which makes it very challenging to set the same set of policy recommendations for countries."

Al Jubeir agreed with Azour that building buffers was key to resilience in the face of uncertainty.

"We're at an inflection point when it comes to AI and technology, biotech... the one you can be certain of is uncertainty is here to stay. Top of your priority list is how to invest in enhancing your buffers so that you can increase your resilience.

"The reality is decision-makers cannot expect the normal way of doing business to be the way forward."

Ismail said we need to bridge the deficit of hope: "I think from a private sector point of view, we need to deal with the current short-term challenges, but we must not lose hope that this region is on the brink of potential, a new golden economic age."

29 March

In a shifting geopolitical landscape, new global players and security concerns are reshaping foreign investment strategies. Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO, BlackRock, joins Salman F. Rahman, Private Industry and Investment Adviser to the Prime Minister, Prime Minister's Office of Bangladesh; Lubna Olayan, Chair of the Executive Committee, Olayan Financing Company, The Olayan Group; Khalid Al-Falih, Minister of Investment, Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia and William Ford, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, General Atlantic Service Company, to discuss how policy-makers and investors can mould the investment environment to foster global economic stability and equitable growth.

Fink said there was a "great deal of optimism" with fiscal stimulus and innovation creating a "very large investment cycle".


Olayan explained the lack of trust between superpowers is the main reason for global fracture: "The key thing for investors is transparency, rule of law, and the rule applied to everyone equally."

Growth potential is high for those countries who provide education and opportunities for youth, she added, explaining that the middle class is the "backbone of any society".


"Entrepreneurship and innovation is alive and well" and accelerating said Ford, although he acknowledged the risks are complex. AI is the next big transformation driving innovation.


Leaders from the public and private sectors explored the impact of cutting-edge technologies on the efficiency and performance of manufacturing systems globally.

On the panel were Saudi Arabia's Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Bandar Alkhorayef, joined Han Jian, Professor of Management; Founding Academic Director, Chief Human Resource Management Officer Programme, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS); Jake Loosararian, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Gecko Robotics and Sophie Miremadi, Vice-President, Global Government Affairs and Public Policy, AVEVA Group.

Catch up on the key quotes in the X link below.


Nobumitsu Hayashi, Governor, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), joined Wale Edun, Nigeria's Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy; Jeanine Munyeshuli, Rwanda's Minister of State in charge of Public Investment and Resource Mobilization and Alexander von zur Mühlen, CEO, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Germany, Deutsche Bank to discuss how the global debt burden can be addressed.

Hayashi said you have to “borrow to spend and invest”, but you must do so wisely.


There are 21 countries in Africa that have been pushed into high debt distress or at risk of it, said Munyeshuli, warning that buffers have been completely eroded and that the situation is unprecedented on the continent.


We have to be "determined in the battle against inflation, in order to stabilize the economy and bring interest rates down," said Edun, adding that "we must continue to intervene on behalf of the poorest and most vulnerable."


As we witness the slowest half-decade of GDP growth in 30 years, what policy actions are needed at both the national and global levels to lift economic prospects? Faisal Alibrahim, Minister of Economy and Planning, Ministry of Economy and Planning of Saudi Arabia, joined Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum Geneva, Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, Prime Minister, Pakistan Government, David Cameron, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom, Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer, Moderna Therapeutics and Anna Marks, Global Chair, Deloitte, to discuss.

Alibrahim charted the two main pathways to inclusive growth: first, focusing on productivity, which he said "has been going down since the global financial crisis", and second, prioritizing collaboration because "a more fragmented world is a lower growth world".


Anna Marks said we cannot achieve inclusive, sustainable growth without true collaboration which is essentially "creating a common goal, a common vision and building the activities together and executing those activities together to reach that goal". And with rising geopolitical complexities today, the world is witnessing "invisible and visible barriers to collaboration", she added.


Pre-reads, publications and Forum insights

Realizing the Potential of Global Digital Jobs

This newly launched white paper builds on the January 2024 paper The Rise of Global Digital Jobs, identifying ways to make global digital jobs a reality.

Written in collaboration with Capgemini, the paper explores how global digital jobs can alleviate labour shortages and connect skilled workers from regions with surplus to those with labour shortages. It identifies key challenges – technological infrastructure, policies and perceptions, and workforce skills – and offers strategies to overcome these barriers, including public-private partnerships and technology investments. Additionally, it outlines risks like technology malfunctions and work conditions, proposing solutions to facilitate a sustainable global digital job market.

Aimed at policymakers, business leaders, and stakeholders, this paper serves as a guide to capitalizing on global digital jobs to enhance economic growth and employment opportunities worldwide.

Global digital jobs framework
A framework for global digital jobs. Image: World Economic Forum

The third iteration of Education 4.0 Lighthouses explores the potential for artificial intelligence to benefit educators, students and teachers. Case studies show how AI can personalize learning experiences, streamline administrative tasks, and integrate into curricula.

The report stresses the importance of responsible deployment, addressing issues like data privacy and equitable access. Aimed at policymakers and educators, it urges stakeholders to collaborate to ensure AI's positive integration into education systems worldwide leads to improved outcomes for all.

Impact of LLMs on education tasks.
Assessing the impact of large language models on education tasks. Image: World Economic Forum

Explore other reports

Released at our Annual Meeting in Davos, this report outlines a multidimensional framework to assess the quality of economic growth in 107 economies. It explores economic growth across four areas - innovativeness, inclusiveness, sustainability, and resilience.


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Economic GrowthGeo-Economics and Politics
Highlights from key sessionsPre-reads, publications and Forum insights

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