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#SpecialMeeting24: What to know about the programme and who's coming

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This year's World Economic Forum Special Meeting is being held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

#SpecialMeeting24 is taking place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 28-29 April 2024. Image: Untung Bekti Nugroho

Mirek Dušek
Managing Director, World Economic Forum
Maroun Kairouz
Head of Middle East and North Africa, World Economic Forum
  • Leaders are convening from 28-29 April for the World Economic Forum's Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy for Development in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
  • The meeting is organized around three themes: revitalizing global collaboration; a compact for inclusive growth; and catalyzing action on energy for development.
  • From themes and attendees to the key sessions to watch, here's what you need to know about the #SpecialMeeting24.

Robust dialogue is the only way to navigate turbulent times and find a path to a more sustainable, equitable future for the planet and its people.

The IMF's most recent World Economic Outlook reveals some "confidence in a soft landing for the global economy", which is "growing against a backdrop of better-than-expected economic data in many parts of the world". This suggests an opportunity for leaders to find the bright spots: the rise of intelligent economies; the growing agency of middle powers to forge global cooperation; and the momentum for a new compact for global growth – among other priorities.

But the World Bank finds in its Great Reversal report a widening income gap between the world's wealthiest and poorest countries for the first time this century. It behoves all of us to stop this reversal and work towards meeting the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

That is why the World Economic Forum is convening a Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy for Development in Saudi Arabia, to bring together developed and developing markets across industries to find solutions to immediate crises while laying the groundwork to create a more sustainable, resilient world.

Over two days and 50 sessions, more than 1,000 leaders from around the world will meet in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding to address the most urgent challenges posed by the increasingly fragmented geopolitical and economic environment.

By leveraging global cooperation for economic development, promoting a global energy transition that underpins sustainable development, and furthering technological advancement, the goal is to contribute to a more stable and inclusive economic future.

The Special Meeting in numbers


Public figures from 60 countries


World leaders from all sectors and industries


Sessions on the themes of collaboration, growth and energy


International organizations and multilateral development banks

The programme and key sessions to watch

The Opening Plenary – A New Vision For Global Development – will set the tone for the Special Meeting, as the Forum President Børge Brende is joined by the Presidents of Rwanda and Nigeria, Paul Kagame and Bola Ahmed Tinubu; the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim; Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva; and Peter Orszag, CEO of financial services group Lazard, to discuss how to reignite the momentum on development and economic convergence.

Sessions are grouped around the programme's three thematic pillars. Here are some of the key sessions under each theme:

1. A compact for inclusive growth

The current pace of technological innovation and recent economic policy threaten to widen global inequality and reverse progress in the fight against poverty. To address these challenges, the meeting will explore the implications of these transformative trends for innovation, human capital and entrepreneurship. Discussions will highlight key opportunities, which include emerging economic corridors, technology partnerships and the imperative of job-creating growth.

The IMF's Georgieva will join Malaysia's Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Tengku Zafrul bin Tengku Abdul Aziz, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Finance, and the Forum's Managing Director Saadia Zahidi to discuss how to achieve growth in a sustainable way in the session What Kind of Growth Do We Need?


Economic growth: Everything you need to know and live coverage from #SpecialMeeting24

AI, Productivity, Work: Can We Have it All? brings together Information Ministers from Estonia, Rwanda and Saudi Arabia, Tiit Riisalo, Paula Ingabire and Abdullah AlSwaha, who will be joined by Øyvind Eriksen, President and CEO of Aker ASA and Hiroaki Kitano Executive Deputy President, CTO and CEO of Sony Research to talk about the trade-offs leaders will need to manage as AI develops further.

The closing plenary will revisit the question of Rejuvenating Growth, with insights from Faisal Alibrahim, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Economy and Planning, and Anna Marks, Global Chair, Deloitte.

2. Catalysing action on energy for development

The energy transition is not only urgent for the future of the planet, but to address stark disparities in access and achieve the SDG of affordable, clean energy for all, particularly in developing economies. The meeting will convene cross-sectoral actors to identify financial, technological and policy solutions aimed at scaling up the use of clean energy solutions, while also ensuring equitable growth.

The flagship session, People, Policy, Finance: Realizing an Equitable Energy Transition, will bring together H.R.H. Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy, Saad bin Sherida Al Kaabi, Qatar's Minister of State for Energy Affairs, Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy, European Commission, along with Vicki Hollub, President and CEO of Occidental Petroleum Corporation and Darren Woods, Chairman and CEO, ExxonMobil.

3. Revitalizing global collaboration

Ongoing geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, most notably the conflict in Gaza, have implications not only for the region, but the world. The meeting aims to foster dialogue between the Global North and South that can help revitalize international collaboration. It will go beyond just recognizing areas of shared concerns by amplifying humanitarian initiatives and identifying the partnerships and actions that can help to contain the widening ripple effects of geopolitical instability and build a more resilient global economy.

In the session North to South, East to West: Rebuilding Trust, H.H. Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, will join Forum President Børge Brende to discuss how the Global North and Global South can revitalize cooperation to open up solutions to today's most critical challenges.

Sigrid Kaag, the United Nations' Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza, joins Mohammad Mustafa, Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority, and Bisher Hani Al Khasawneh, Prime Minister of Jordan, in a Briefing on the Gaza Crisis, which threatens the stability of the region as a whole.

To answer the question of how the region can build a viable path out of conflict towards cooperation and peace, Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry, joins H.H. Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Ayman Al Safadi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Attendees at the Special Meeting

More than 220 public figures, from over 60 countries will participate in the Special Meeting which is under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Top political leaders taking part include: Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait; Mostafa Kamal Madbouly, Prime Minister of Egypt; Mohammed Shyaa Al Sudani, Prime Minister of Iraq; Bisher Hani Al Khasawneh, Prime Minister of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Ignazio Cassis, Federal Councillor and Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation, Anwar Ibrahim, Prime Minister of Malaysia; Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President of Nigeria; Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham Al Said, Crown Prince of the Sultanate of Oman; Shehbaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan; Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian President; Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar; Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda.

As well as Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State; Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; Stéphane Séjourné, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France; Annalena Baerbock, Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany; David Cameron, UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs; Alexandre Silveira, Ministry of Mines and Energy of Brazil; Arifin Tasrif, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources of Indonesia; Ahn Dukgeun, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy of Republic of Korea; Kgosientso Ramokgopa, Minister in the Presidency for Electricity of South Africa; Mehmet Şimşek, Minister of Treasury and Finance of Türkiye; Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Prime Minister for Financial and Economic Affairs of the United Arab Emirates. Leaders in international organizations taking part include: Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund; Sigrid Kaag, United Nations Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza; Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization.

Leading the dialogue, 15 leaders from government, the private sector and international organizations will co-chair the event. Over half of participants – spanning companies, governmental entities and thought leaders – are from the Global South and emerging economies, with over 80% of heads of state from developing or emerging economies.

Watch live-streamed sessions from the meeting here and join the conversation on social media using hashtag #SpecialMeeting24

The Special Meeting in numbersThe programme and key sessions to watchAttendees at the Special Meeting

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