Davos Notebook

All waiting for Putin

Near the VIP entrance of the congress hall here in the World Economic Forum in Davos, scores of delegates, press, aids, security guards are all waiting for the imminent arrival of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

It’s extremely cramped here with a constant stream of people squeezing past those who are standing here to catch a glimpse of Putin.

Former UN secretary Kofi Anan was nearly hit by a TV camera while financier George Soros asked the press “Who’s coming?” When someone said it was Putin, his aide said: “Say hello to him!”

The shift in power from West to East

One news theme I’ve asked our journalists to be alert to this year is the shift in power and emphasis from est to East.

The rise of China’s economic power during 30 years of reform and opening to the world is just one manifestation of this; the knowledge and service powerhouse that India has come in a globalised world is another. At Davos this year I’m moderating a panel on Asian innovation that will surely highlight software advances in Japan, Korea and Thailand as well.

I’m convinced the current global economic crisis must lead to a fundamental reassessment of how power and influence is expressed through the world, from manufacturing and service oriented Asia through the oil-rich Gulf.