No one really knows what the global risks will be because no one can predict the future, says James Ledbetter, but it doesn’t stop the WEF from trying:
By Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe, who are the co-CEOs of SAP AG, a business software maker. The opinions expressed are their own.
Over the next few days at the World Economic Forum in Davos, as business and political leaders debate what do to improve the world, they should champion and enable further growth of mobile technology as a vehicle that removes barriers, promotes inclusiveness and opens opportunities for those who would otherwise not participate in the digital economy.
Mobile phone applications and software help businesses across all sectors of society find solutions to their problems. Today we heard of an agreement at Davos that will result in solar-powered cell phone towers in India. That’s progress in exactly the right direction. And we need even more of it. We need to create more mobile software applications, have more innovation in mobile technology and more support from political leaders across the globe.
‘‘The next 10 years is going to be the most exciting time in our lives!’’ said Tejpreet Singh Chopra, an Indian entrepreneur. ‘‘The Indian economy will double! It will be incredible!’’
It was hot and humid — typical spring weather in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. It was also late — close to midnight. But the enthusiastic Mr. Chopra, dressed in a still-crisp light shirt with blue and white stripes, navy trousers and blue turban, was on his way to yet another meeting.
Mr. Chopra was in East Africa last May as one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders, a sort of farm team for the full-grown global business elite that gathers every January in Davos.
– Joe Cerrell is Director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, European Office. The opinions expressed are his own. –
It used to be that sometime in the fall, around October, advocates for international development would gather and talk about the year ahead, including big events in the cultural and political calendar that could be used to draw attention to the plight of the world’s poorest. Inevitably, there would be talk of the G8 and sometimes the World Cup, and another event – the World Economic Forum – would also feature as an important opportunity to get development onto the global agenda.
What greater coup than to crash this gathering in Davos and try to get the titans of business, government and industry to pay attention to Africa. Development activists like me used to talk about the necessity of engaging “non-traditional allies” on our causes, and there was no better place than the WEF to recruit these new voices.
Food is one of the key highlights of the World Economic Forum and Wednesday’s lunch brought taste from around the world to serve hungry CEOs, heads of states and policymakers who spend the morning discussing the outlook for the global economy and corporate profits.
From Russia, there were rolled mini-blinis filled with salmon tartar and chive cream and Solyanka pork stew. Assorted sushi and salmon sashimi represented taste of Japan (in this landlocked Switzerland).
Participants queued for crispy couscous balls with aubergine cavier and kibbeh saijeh — beef meatballs with pistachios and potato croquettes from Lebanon. They also enjoyed banana bread with avocado mash and fried bean balls in Ghana.
Reuters has added an exciting new dimension to its Davos coverage this year. As well as Insider TV’s regular Davos Today morning show (streamed live on this website every morning at 7 a.m. CET during the annual meeting), there is now also an afternoon show to be broadcast at 2:30 p.m. on 26, 27 and 28 January.
Davos Today with Chrystia Freeland will feature many of the biggest names at Davos in discussion with Reuter’s Global Editor-at-Large. Topics range from China, India and the U.S. to Trust in Institutions, the Future of Finance and Failed States.
The guest list includes Larry Summers, Harvard professor and former U.S. Secretary, Bob Zoellick, President of the World Bank and Nouriel Roubini, professor of economics at New York University.
How do I trust myself? Let me count the ways…
Global PR group Edelman told the World Economic Forum about its Trust Barometer and said that “Trust” in general had stabilised.
But that’s where the good news for me ended.
My industry, media, had a Trust tumble in the US and UK to small levels of trust never seen before – “How much do you trust media to do what is right?” The US is down to 27% and the UK 22%. Maybe I should try my hand at fiction instead!
There was a big Trust rise for media in China and Brazil but India had a big decline. Fascinating data but having spent many years pouring over Chinese newspapers a bit of a surprise to me.