Highlights of the World Economic Forum for India: Davos, 2019

What is the WEF?

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an independent international organization which doesn’t support any political party or association and is aimed at better public-private cooperation. The main objective of this organization is to improve the condition of the world.

WEF was launched in 1971 under the name of European Management Symposium and India associated with the WEF in 1984 after the first Indian Economic Summit was held in New Delhi.

Every year, the gathering aims to bring together the leaders of global society. It is an open and inclusive meeting aimed at creating a discussion platform for disruptive voices of the Forum’s Young Global Leaders, Global Shapers, CEO’s of global companies and Technology Pioneers. The conclave lasts for four days & participation is only possible through special invitation. While the meeting is only reserved for the Forum’s members, transparency is ensured through media participation and public inclusion.

WEF 2019: The Main Agenda

The WEF in 2019 covered a wide array of topics ranging from destruction of the garden of Eden to the Future of Venezuela. Climate Change, Loss of biodiversity and gender biases were among the most highlighted issues. Further, the potential of Global Economic Transition and technological disruption in changing the future of work and the impact of artificial intelligence on the Economy’s growth amidst political and economic uncertainties were discussed.

About Jobs: How artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and automation can impact global employment opportunities. While the skill crisis has already affected the job scenario, experts suggest that it isn’t impossible to overcome. It was recommended that changing the traditional model of recruiting and education can actually help humans build and develop a new skill set that is relevant for the future.

Jack Ma, Chairman of China’s Alibaba group spoke about how hiring people who are ‘smarter’ than us can help us build stronger organizations.

“When we talk of a skills crisis, I really do believe that 100 % of jobs will change, but the crisis won’t be impossible to overcome”

– Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM

Another important topic of interest at the forum was the impact of Technology on enabling firms to promote flexibility in the workplace. Technological advancement can help working professionals to work remotely and balance their lives as the promotion of Video-based, online and real-time learning has made it easier for employees to stay connected with work during odd hours. Additionally, the discussion also revolved around the recruitment of women in technical roles, and how it can actually increase the efficiency of machines.

Mental Health was also on the agenda of discussions at the forum. A lot of discussions revolved around the process of ‘breaking the stigma‘ and how ‘empathy‘ can better support workplaces. John Flint, the CEO of HSBC recognized that the survivors of minor mental illnesses can actually prove to be an asset for the organization. Further, he added that these survivors often possess resourcefulness, resilience and an Emotional Quotient which actually makes them unique.

Climate change was also on the agenda of discussion at this year’s annual meet. Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank, discussed how the pace of the climate change is affecting the global economy. Research from the Standford University states that an increase of 2.5 degrees can actually decrease the Global GDP by 15%, whereas an increase of 3 degrees can decrease the Global GDP by 25% and the suffering in real terms is huge. Eliminating harmful subsidies could act as a remedy for improving these conditions.

Key Highlights for India

From Bollywood Directors, Indian Industrialists, delegates from RBI, IMF and Niti Aayog to Chief Ministers, Indian representatives at senior levels throughout the country marked their presence at this year’s forum in Davos.

Industrialists and government entities discussed the current challenges of the Indian economy. Eventually, Indian industries capitalized on these discussions and made a point to grasp relevant knowledge and apply the same to their advantage. There were different takeaways for industrialists belonging primarily to the agriculture, health care and education sectors who are exploring dynamic technologies that can potentially disrupt the normal code of conduct.

German Chancellor Angela Markel pointed out that India and China are undoubtedly the two big Asian giants that have become influential economies with the impact they have had over Global trade and financial systems in the last few years. Additionally, she pointed out that distortions in the global trade were a result of the protectionist policies implemented by developed countries.

Christian Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund was of the view that India’s economy was growing at a faster pace owing to the reforms that were undertaken. Although, she recommended that the Indian government must reconsider the farm loan wavier policies and address the agricultural sector’s distress effectively.

Raghuram Rajan former RBI Governor opined that with India’s demographic transition and reforms, India may soon surpass China in terms of its economic size. Complementing his thoughts, NITI AAYOG CEO added that Urbanization supported by favorable economic factors along with infrastructure could be a big driver in India thereby promoting Economic Growth.

E-commerce players were confused regarding the amendments made to the FDI policy in India’s E-commerce space. While India allows 100% FDI in the marketplace model, the investors are expecting a stable model with a proper regulatory regime.

WTO Chief Robert Azevedo emphasized that how it has become an urgent need to frame a policy framework for multilateral investment in E-commerce space. Kamal Nath, MP chief Minister positioned his state as an emerging economic tiger and he invited the global investors promising them a better infrastructure and ease of doing business

Expectations for 2020

The WEF in 2020 marks the 50th year of the global event and it is expected that several innovative technologies will be launched next year. For India, rising global interest and favorable policies are expected to increase an inflow of investment in the nation’s favor as the economy is growing at a relatively higher rate than the global average. Even though there is a certain level of uncertainty in the political scenario with the 2019 general elections approaching, India has positioned itself as one of the world’s most influential economies and the WEF will act as a marketing platform for the country.

Sources: India Today, Business Today, World Economic Forum, Quartz
Image Credits: The Financial Express

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