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Day 2 #SpecialMeeting24: Key insights and what to know

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Anwar Ibrahim, Prime Minister of Malaysia; Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President of Nigeria; Børge Brende, President, World Economic Forum; Faisal Alibrahim, Minister of Economy and Planning of Saudi Arabia; Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Washington, DC; Maroun Kairouz, Head of Middle East and North Africa, World Economic Forum; Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda; Peter Orszag, Chief Executive Officer, Lazard, USA; Speaking in the Opening Plenary: A New Vision for Global Development session at the Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy for Development 2024. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 28 April 2024. King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center, Plenary.Copyright: World Economic Forum/Deepu Das


Gayle Markovitz
Acting Head, Written and Audio Content, World Economic Forum
  • The World Economic Forum's Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy for Development takes place in Saudi Arabia from 28-29 April 2024.
  • Here's a snapshot of everything you need to know about Day 2 of the Special Meeting.

Welcome to the second day of the World Economic Forum's Special Meeting in Riyadh. Here's a rundown of what to expect today, key quotes, announcements and the sessions to keep an eye on, with live updates, so keep checking back on this page.


Middle-power leadership is moving the global agenda forward. Here's how

What you might have missed

We heard from global leaders yesterday on issues from inclusive growth and human capital, to the geopolitical recession, the energy transition and prospects for the Middle East and North Africa.

Key sessions included What Kind of Growth Do We Need?, where speakers addressed the 'vicious cycle of protectionism' and the need to put people at the centre of growth.

Listen on podcast to the full audio of the session here.


At the Opening Plenary: A New Vision For Global Development, leaders spoke of the 'categorical imperative' of growth, the lifeblood of economies that is energy, and the urgency of finding common ground. The IMF's Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund warned, "We may end up with this decade being remembered as the Turbulent Twenties or the Tepid Twenties. What we actually want is the Transformational Twenties".

H.H. Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said, "collaboration is not optional", as he stressed the need to resolve regional issues in the Middle East at the opening Press Conference.

And following the Opening Plenary, Mahmoud Abbas, President, Palestine and the Palestinian National Authority, urged an immediate end to hostilities in Gaza and called for humanitarian aid to be allowed to reach those in need.

Dozens of energy ministers are gathering at the #SpecialMeeting24. Here’s what they're saying

Leading energy experts from across sectors identified financial, technological and policy solutions aimed at scaling up the use of clean energy solutions. In a public session on the rise of green molecules, Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalization at the African Union Commission, spoke about the need to pursue new fuel types such as biofuel, hydrogen and their derivatives.

AI – it's potential for unleashing growth and also the need for balanced policy around its deployment – was a common thread across a number of sessions, while a new report, Shaping the Future of Learning: The Role of AI in Education 4.0, called for a responsible integration of AI to foster a more inclusive, adaptable and forward-looking educational landscape.

You can read more highlights from yesterday in our round-up, rewatch sessions on the website, or check out our coverage across social media.

Sessions to watch today

All times below are in UTC+3.

With emerging markets experiencing a 9% decrease in FDI in 2023, how can policymakers and investors mould the investment environment to foster global economic stability and equitable growth? Salman F. Rahman, Private Industry and Investment Adviser to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, was joined by William Ford, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, General Atlantic Service Company, Lubna S. Olayan, Chair of the Executive Committee, Olayan Financing Company, Laurence D. Fink, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, BlackRock, Khalid Al-Falih, Minister of Investment, Saudi Arabia, and Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director, World Economic Forum Geneva.

Zahidi highlighted an environment of growing complexity but cautious optimism. She sees positive sentiment in the private sector, but divergent needs in different parts of the world. Fink spoke of optimism with respect to fiscal stimulus, "the amount of innovation that we are witnessing right now is going to create an incredibly large... investment cycle", he said. Ford agreed, saying "entrepreneurship and innovation is alive and well. It's not abating at all."


But speakers also revealed growing division and widening disparities between developed and emerging economies. Olayan explained that 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", but she later added, "every country needs to find it's own way".


Summing up, Zahidi concluded with 3 takeaways, "We are in a paradigm shift. There are still investment opportunities. And developing countries will need to work differently or to attract them."


How can developed and emerging economies harness the revolutionary potential of AI to meet their toughest challenges and what is the roadmap needed to get there? Tiit Riisalo, Minister of Economic Affairs and Information Technology of Estonia, Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Minister of Finance and National Economy of Bahrain, and Jörg Kukies, State Secretary, Federal Chancellery of Germany, were joined by Freeke Heijman, Co-Founder and Director, Ecosystem Development, Quantum Delta Netherlands and Al Arabiya's Riz Khan.

Minister Riisalo spoke of the power of AI, "You can just start to imagine if you give billions of people this capacity, what kind of ideas, what kind of creativity can come out of it.” He added, that it will hopefully free time for people to "build more human connections.”

A conversation with Antony Blinken, United States Secretary of State, and Børge Brende, President, World Economic Forum.

"We're at an inflection point", said Secretary of State Blinken, "and must face challenges together. The decisions we make in these moments are likely to have repercussions… for decades to come."


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


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, prioritising collaboration because 'a more fragmented world is a lower growth world'.


David Cameron spoke about the crisis in the Middle East and said 'we're in a better place potentially than we've been for a while' but reinforced the need for long-term security.

Sharif spotlighted the 'unimaginable' climate-led devastation in Pakistan back in 2022. "I have to say, in all humility, that Pakistan is one of those countries which has nothing to do with the reasons leading to climate change - our contribution to emissions is not even a fraction of a percent. And yet we were devastated like never before."


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.


Publications to look out for

Energy Transition and Geopolitics: Are Critical Minerals the New Oil?

The energy transition will cause big shifts in dependencies – away from oil and other fossil fuels, and towards a raft of critical minerals such as lithium and copper. Will this trading of places have dangerous political and environmental consequences? This paper, authored by the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on the Future of Energy Transition, offers a broad framework for answering this question.

This playbook outlines three guiding principles to support manufacturing and supply chain leaders in establishing a culture of cyber resilience throughout their organizations.

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.

Launches and announcements

The Forum signed an agreement with the Saudi Space Agency to establish a Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) focused on space.

The Centre for Space Futures, set to open in autumn 2024, will be hosted by the Saudi Space Agency. It aims to facilitate public-private discussions on space collaboration, incorporating best practices from the Forum and its communities into the global space sector and generating contributions to accelerate space technologies.

UpLink, the World Economic Forum community supporting early-stage impact-focused entrepreneurs, launched four new initiatives today. These aim to ignite innovative technology solutions that can accelerate the transition to a circular carbon economy, address the increased demand for minerals vital for clean energy technologies, rejuvenate and conserve vital ocean ecosystems, employ quantum computing to help solve sustainability challenges, and help build a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

More reading on the Special Meeting

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What you might have missed Sessions to watch todayPublications to look out for Launches and announcementsMore reading on the Special Meeting

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