Davos Notebook

Next year’s potential guest to Davos?

osamaThe World Economic Forum is all about promoting debate and finding solutions to problems the world is facing.

One thing the world’s political and business leaders have been discussing is the role of the dollar in the global economy.

The world’s most wanted man Osama bin Laden has been offering his take on solving global imbalances. He urges the world to stop relying on the dollar in order to solve the global financial crisis.

Perhaps next year’s key note speech might be delivered from bin Laden via satelite from his mountain hideaway camp?

Read the full story on bin Laden’s view on the dollar.

Marathon day for Greece in Davos

It’s truly a marathon. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou are in Davos to tell the world that they are serious about reducing their huge deficit.

UK finance minister Alastair Darling, who passed by, tapped the PM’s shoulders, saying:  “Are you doing the rounds? Good luck!”

Below you see how our team of text reporters and Reuters Insider television prepping for an interview with the finance minister, inside the congress hall in Davos.

Ask Nouriel Roubini

US-ECONOMY/ROUBINIGot a question you would like to ask economist Nouriel Roubini? Now’s your chance. Roubini will be joining us in Davos later today for a social media interview and we want you to send us questions to put to him.

Roubini, Professor of Economics at New York University and co-founder of RGE Monitor)  is one of the few economists to accurately predict the global financial crisis, warning of turbulence in the housing market, loss of consumer confidence and a deep recession.

The interview will be streamed live and you can watch it in this blog post or on our Davos 2010 live blog at 5:20pm GMT (12:20 ET and 6:20pm local time). Reuters columnist Felix Salmon will conduct the interview and put your questions to Roubini.

Royals in Davos

Among world political leaders and business executives, there are several royals who are making appearence in Davos.

Why are they here? I met some of them but didn’t dare ask.  Some have said that royals want to play a key role as opinion leaders to promote public debate in “rebuilding” the world — the main theme of the World Economic Forum this year.

The most high-profile would be the Queen Rania of Jordan, whose twitter updates have been followed by more than 1.2 million people.

Africa feels the heat on climate change

kilimaIt may have contributed less than any other continent to CO2 emissions, but Africa is on the front line when it comes to the impact of climate change.

Just ask Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.

“It is a threat for us,” he told a panel at the World Economic Forum.  “On Kilimanjaro the snow is fast disappearing, sea levels are rising — we have one island that has already been submerged — and we’ve towns around the coast where we have to incur huge costs of adaptation to erect walls.”

In theory, Africa is also in a strong position, given its virgin forests that represent one of the world’s great carbon sinks. But setting up workable offset-trading schemes is easier said than done.  “I can assure you, it is so difficult to access these facilities,” Kikwete said.

Bouncing back

Figure 0.1

Being bullish is, of course, part of the job if you are a CEO.

But sentiment really is improving. The annual PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of 1,200 industry bosses from 52 countries shows a nice pick in in the short- and long-term confidence curves, with 31 percent of those questioned now “very confident” about revenue prospects for the next 12 months and 81 percent plain-vanilla confident.

More remarkable, perhaps, confidence about sales looking out 3 years is now back up around its historic highs.

Davos VIP dropouts

The world’s top politicians are dropping out from the WEF‘s highly publicised list of top VIPs.

wefprepareLast-minute cancellations happen more or less every year, but this year it’s at an alarming rate.

Japanese PM Yukio Hatoyama, mired in domestic political turmoil and facing busy Parliament sessions at home, has pulled out of  the forum and is sending his strategy minister Sengoku instead.  Afghan President Hamid Karzai  has decided not to make a detour from London where he’s due to attend a conference on Afghanistan this week.

Davos 2010 live coverage

Five themes for Davos

Top (L-R): Steve Clarke, Natsuko Waki, Gerard Wynn, Martin Howell
Bottom (L-R): Peter Thal Larsen, Felix Salmon, Ben Hirschler, Krista Hughes

Reuters will have a multimedia team of 20 journalists plus editors and three columnists on site covering the Jan. 27-31 World Economic Forum annual meeting.

This year we are focusing our news coverage around five global themes that are shaping economics, politics and investment opportunities in 2010.  Our in-depth reports will draw on the expertise of our specialist correspondents from around the world to help inform the Davos conversation. These reports will be complemented by on-the-ground coverage, exclusive text and TV interviews, as well as a live blog aggregating the best Davos coverage on the web and on Twitter. We’ll be exploring the probing questions behind efforts to rebuild the world economy and financial system two years after the credit crisis.

Davos Man turns 40

Davos Man2 Many happy returns or midlife crisis?

The annual talkfest in the Alps records its 40th birthday this year but the rich and powerful will hardly be in celebratory mood as problems pile up in the post-crisis world.

How to withdraw the trillions of dollars in stimulus that helped the world avoid a rerun of the Great Depression, without spooking markets all over again?

What to do in the face of the world’s lukewarm response to the hot topic of climate change?