Full report
Published: 9 February 2021

The Davos Agenda 2021: Global Engagement

Global Media Coverage

Special Address by Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor of GermanyGeneva - Switzerland, 25-29 January 2021.
Source: World Economic Forum / Pascal Bitz

The Davos Agenda was the most impactful event in media since the pandemic began, with four-times the media impact than the next biggest event. It generated more than 40,000 global media mentions.

More than 1,200 journalists from influential media outlets in all G20 countries covered the meeting. We saw daily coverage in the Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNBC, CCTV, Nikkei, Al Arabiya and O Globo, among many more, resulting in 43,500 articles in total.

News organizations in 138 economies covered the Forum’s calls to build trust, strengthen global cooperation, harness the technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and protect our global commons. Crucially, the benefits of stakeholder capitalism were seen throughout the sessions and highlighted by global media as the most-covered Forum initiative.

The sentiment of the coverage was mostly neutral or positive (87%) and focused on the key initiatives and themes of the meeting. The highly talked-about public figures include Chinese President Xi Jinping, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Thought Leadership

International media featured 119 interviews and 18 op-eds by Forum spokespeople.

Top Media Mentions:

CNN - WEF leaders have to 'Walk the Talk'

Reuters - Davos Agenda comes at a "crucial moment": Schwab

Bloomberg TV - WEF Founder Schwab on Pandemic Recovery, Inequality, Climate

TIME - Klaus Schwab | TIME100 Talks: Klaus Schwab on building an inclusive global economy.

CCTV - Interview with Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum: “President Xi’s speech points out the direction for world development”

NZZ am Sonntag - Würden Sie Trump wieder einladen?«Die Antwort wäre wahrscheinlich:Nein»

CNBC - WEF President Borge Brende on the pandemic, economic recovery, climate and the Biden administration

CGTN - 2021 Davos Agenda: Way for China-U.S. reengagement?

Asahi Shimbun - 「Kの字を描くコロナ禍の経済」 ダボス会議主催者指摘

The Washington Post - World leaders pledge a ‘great reset’ after the pandemic

Financial Times - Davos highlights: Singapore’s prime minister urges US and China to defuse tensions

Xinwen Lianbo - The Davos Agenda has been covered on a daily basis on China’s daily news programme.

Nikkei Asia - Stakeholder capitalism' rises as likes of Sony and Mahindra commit

CNBC Africa - WEF’s Munyati on how to strengthen intra-African trade

The Times of India - India has capability to strengthen global supply chain: PM Modi at World Economic Forum

Elaph - King Abdullah II: Let’s allow our humanity to lead the march

Infobae - Cómo orientar hacia la cooperación mundialLa cooperación mundial no es un lujo; es el ingrediente necesario para la recuperación en el presente y la resiliencia en el futuro

Le Figaro - Après le Covid: Macron veut tourner la page du monde libéral

Deutsche Welle - Davos: Steht die Weltwirtschaft am grünen Scheideweg?

O Globo - Fórum Econômico Mundial cria aliança para aumentar acesso à internet no mundo

Channel News Asia - Tackling COVID-19, economic recovery and climate change requires global cooperation: PM Lee

The Korea Herald - Moon briefs global leaders on S. Korea's inclusive policy amid pandemic

Al Arabiya - أجندة دافوس تجمع 1500 من صناع القرار بالعالم

Access screen grabs of the media programme here and interview images here.

Op-eds in global media:

The stakeholder approach should no longer be a matter of beliefs. It can be grounded in facts and figures.

—Klaus Schwab and Brian Moynihan

Klaus Schwab and Brian Moynihan: In stakeholder capitalism, good metrics will keep corporate leaders honest (Fortune)

Both public and private sector efforts must ensure that as we rebuild, the post-pandemic labour market embeds justice and fairness for all segments of society.

—Klaus Schwab and Angel Gurría

Klaus Schwab and Angel Gurría: Pandemic recovery must focus on creating a resilient labour market (The Straits Times, Agenda)

The direction we need to head is toward greater dialogue, coordination and collective action.

—Børge Brende

Børge Brende: How to orient toward global cooperation (Caixin, Japan Times, Straits Times, Finanz und Wirtschaft, Daily Sabah, Estado, La Stampa, Agenda)

Cultural leaders connect us to each other, they give us a language to imagine, and they provide visions of the world that can cut through the limitations of short-term or linear thinking.

—Hilde Schwab

Hilde Schwab: Meet the winners of the 27th Annual Crystal Award (Forbes, Agenda)

Saadia Zahidi: How to build more resilient countries after the COVID-19 pandemic (TIME, Agenda)

Dominic Waughray: 2021: the year the real economy must start building a net-zero, nature-positive partnership (GreenBiz, Agenda)

Chido Munyati: How Africa can lead an inclusive, cohesive and sustainable pandemic recovery (Mail & Guardian, La Tribune, Agenda)

Joo-Ok Lee and Thuy Nguyen:How ASEAN can lead an inclusive, cohesive and sustainable pandemic recovery (ASEAN Post, Agenda)

Mirek Dusek: 5 agents of change for Europe’s post-pandemic recovery (Il Sole 24 Ore, Die Presse, Agenda)

Mirek Dusek: How the MENA region can shape the post-COVID-19 sustainability agenda (The National, Agenda)

Viraj Mehta and Suchi Kedia: How South Asia can lead an inclusive, cohesive and sustainable pandemic recovery (The Print, Agenda)

Maha Eltogby: What gets measured gets managed: How sustainability reporting can help save the planet (Forbes, Agenda)

David Sangokoya and Ty Greene: The bold steps business leaders must take on social justice (Forbes, Agenda)

Sheila Warren: 4 predictions for blockchain in 2021 – from cryptocurrencies to art (CoinDesk, Agenda)

Mélisande Kingchatchaval Schifter: How companies can accelerate racial justice in business (Forbes, Agenda)

Francisco Betti: Manufacturing can be the engine of global recovery – here's how (Forbes, Agenda)

Jonathan Eckart and Mathy Stanislaus: How 5 pivots in 2 industries can trigger net-zero pathways in 2021 (Forbes, Agenda)

Adam Robbins and Beatriz Pessoa de Araujo: How corporate leaders can apply ESG tools to help overcome global challenges (Forbes, Agenda)

Media Sessions

Journalists are crucial stakeholders, and their voices were more present than ever before. More than 49 sessions were moderated and co-branded with the world’s top editors, anchors and senior reporters, 32% more than the Annual Meeting 2020.

The New York Times called for blunt discussions in the widely streamed Mobilizing Action on Climate Change session with the US, UK, UN, and top business leaders. Delivering Social Justice in the Recovery with The Washington Post looked at accomplishing a just recovery and social inclusion in a critical year ahead.

Sessions on Restoring Economic Growth with CNBC and The Financial Times were among the most-watched, and Caixin’s Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis, CNBC Africa’s Building Inclusive, Sustainable and Job-creating Growth in Africa and Deutsche Welle’s Boosting Green Transition advanced important ongoing project work at the Forum.

Media Programme

“Alongside the official programme, the Forum has worked with media organizations worldwide to produce the Davos Agenda week's Media Programme, a series of exciting debates taking place in various languages and focusing on innovative and bold solutions for a robust recovery.


After more than 300 virtual events in 2020, the Forum’s Public Engagement team was able to bring some new features to the Davos Agenda. They include: news flashes for reporters on special addresses; a daily overview of key panels, embargoed press releases and links to new Forum-created digital content; expanded access to working impact sessions; a new media programme so trusted news partners could build their own debate; and partnering with Reuters to livestream sessions.

Coverage by Region


Media coverage in China was largely on President Xi Jinping’s participation and speech at “Davos Agenda” 2021. On China’s daily news programme Xinwen Lianbo, the Davos Agenda has been covered on a daily basis. All major media in China reported on the week along with climate change, multilateralism, carbon neutral solutions, and international cooperation in the 4th industrial revolution. Forum interviews and Op-eds were featured in publications including Economic Daily, CCTV Business Channel, CGTN, People’s Daily, Caixin and Xinhua News Agency.


In Japan, the Special Address by Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide was covered on primetime news, namely on NHK. Other media coverage in Japan included announcements on Mission Possible by Newsweek Japan and ESG by Nikkei Asia. Nikkei and Kyodo News were also active in publishing multiple articles everyday throughout the week. The media session in which Asahi Shimbun committed to co-brand will be featured in coming weeks. The op-ed by President Borge Brende was featured in The Japan Times and emphasized the global call for cooperation.


South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s special address and his call for vaccines drew attention from across the continent and in international media, with mentions in CNBC, Reuters, Business Day (South Africa) and The Guardian (Nigeria). There was also double the number of interviews on the continent compared to last year on topics such as the launch of the Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics (Power FM – South Africa), the Nigerian government joining the Forum’s Global Plastic Action Partnership (NTA, This Day) and the Forum white paper on operationalizing the largest free trade area AfCFTA (CNBC Africa) with Chido Munyati’s op-ed featured in La Tribune (Pan-African) and Mail & Guardian (South Africa).

Middle East & Turkey

Across the Middle East and Turkey, media covered the Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics launch (Al Khaleej, Hürriyet, Dünya) and Kind Abdullah of Jordan’s Special address (Sky News Arabia, Anadolu Agency). Coverage also focused on vaccine distribution in the region (CNN Arabic, Al Hurrah TV) and its manufacturing (Asharq Al Awsat, Youm 7). Feature articles included President Borge Brende’s interview in Asharq Al Awsat and Mirek Dusek’s with Al Khaleej.


In ASEAN, heads of state and senior ministers participated the Davos Agenda Week and provided insights. President of South Korea Moon Jae-In gave a special address highlighting inclusion, solidarity, cooperation in overcoming COVID-19. The message was picked up in international media: FT, CNBC, Bloomberg, Yahoo News, across the region: Straits Times (Singapore); Xinhua News Agency (China), Berita Satu (Indonesia), as well as in national news: Arirang TV, KBS, The Korean Herald.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s closing remarks calling for global cooperation was live-streamed on Channel NewsAsia, well covered by media worldwide, including Reuters, Bloomberg, CGTN (China), Nikkei Asia (Japan), Hindustan Times (India) and the Business Times (Singapore). Media in the ASEAN region followed the Davos Agenda closely. Including live coverage from The Straits Times, The Jakarta Post, ABS-CBN (Philippines), The ASEAN Post (Malaysia), BusinessWorld (Philippines) and VTV (Viet Nam).


Prime Minister Modi’s message on India’s capability to strengthen the global supply chain and introducing more locally made COVID-19 vaccines was under the spotlight in Indian media, and across the globe: Times of India, mint, NDTV, India Today, Economic Times; FT, CNBC-TV18; Business Standard, Reuters, EFE (Spain), South China Morning Post and Swissinfo.

An opinion piece from Forum colleagues on four ways South Asia can lead to pandemic recovery and become the driver of global growth published in The Print. In addition, Forum initiatives such as the EDISON Alliance, Global AI Action Alliance (GAIA) and Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics were also widely reported – The Hindu, Hindustan Times, Financial Express and Wion(link to come next week).


Europe had the most special addresses of any region this year and their strong calls for cooperation in turning the economy green, cooperation with the vaccine roll out and regulating technology were picked up by global media. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s last special address as Chancellor at the Davos Agenda received prominent coverage in German media and throughout Europe including Süddeutsche Zeitung, Der Spiegel, and Manager Magazin.

Remarks from French President Emmanuel Macron (Le Figaro, La Tribune, BFM TV) and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen (The Financial Times, The Guardian, France Info, La Repubblica) also received widespread coverage.

Sustainability and the green transition were a focus for UK, Swiss and German reporters (The Independent, Deutsche Welle, Corriere della Sera, Tribune de Genève). Furthermore, access to the COVID-19 vaccine and its distribution were discussed in business publications throughout Europe (FAZ, Le Monde, Les Echos, AGI). The FT ran daily Davos review pieces capturing the special addresses and ministerial participation as well as summaries of key business leaders on green investments and economic recovery.

An op-ed by Mirek Dusek, Deputy Head of the Centre for Geopolitical and Regional Affairs, was featured in Il Sole 24 Ore and Die Presse.

Latin America

Media coverage in Latin America was largely focused on the President of Argentina’s Special Address and the President of Colombia’s participation, including in Àmbito, Clarín, Exame, Estadão, El Heraldo, Infobae, Semana, O Globo, G1, Télam and Valor. The COVID-19 pandemic and inequality were also top of mind. Several initiatives and launches were also featured such as the EDISON Alliance in Brazil and Colombia; the AI Alliance in Argentina and Brazil and the Racial Justice Initiative in Brazil and other media outlets in the region. For the first time, in partnership with El Tiempo and Exame, we had Spanish and Portuguese Davos sessions. Borge Brende’s op-ed was published in Infobae and Brazilian photographer and “Crystal Awards” awardee, Sebastião Salgado was covered by his home country.

North America

This year, media covered a wide range of topics namely climate remarks from John Kerry (New York Times), ESG commitments (Barron’s) and the changing views of world leaders (Washington Post). Daily coverage in top publications like the NYT, WSJ and Washington Post as well as in speciality publications on development (Devex), climate action (Greenbiz) blockchain (Coindesk) and AI (Venture Beat).

Other coverage focused on geopolitics with many outlets, including, CNBC, Axios, Quartz, reporting on addresses from top Public Figures like Xi, Merkel and Putin and what their statements may mean for US foreign policy under the new administration.

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