After three years, the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting (Davos Forum) returned to tradition for the first time since the outbreak of the new crown epidemic, and was held offline in Davos, Switzerland in January.
In three years, the world has changed dramatically.
The new crown epidemic has greatly changed people's living habits. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues. The energy crisis and food crisis are superimposed.
The theme of this year's World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is "Strengthening Cooperation in a Divided World". More than 2,000 politicians, business leaders, and scholars from many countries gathered in Davos to conduct dialogues and exchanges on issues such as global economic recovery and mitigation of geopolitical conflicts.
Recently, Olivier Schwab, executive director of the World Economic Forum, accepted an exclusive interview with a reporter from the Beijing News.
He said that entering 2023, the world is facing multiple crises and requires global cooperation.
Shi Liwei also expressed optimism about China's economic prospects in 2023.
He said, "China's economic growth rate will accelerate again in 2023 and may be higher than the global average."
The world is more connected than ever
Beijing News: Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the 2023 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting will return to tradition for the first time.
The world has undergone tremendous changes in the past three years. Compared with three years ago, what changes do you think have taken place at the Davos Forum, and what remains the same?
Shi Liwei: In fact, the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum will be held in Davos in May 2022. Last year's annual meeting was relatively small.
We are very pleased to see that this year's annual meeting returned to tradition for the first time, and was held offline in Davos, Switzerland in January, and the scale has also returned to the level before the outbreak of the new crown epidemic.
In addition, this year's annual meeting also focused on many important issues.
Beijing News: The theme of this year's annual meeting is "Strengthening Cooperation in a Divided World". What considerations do you have in setting the theme of the annual meeting?
Shi Liwei: We are now in a world where we have to solve both short-term challenges and long-term challenges.
In the short term, we face a cost of living, energy and food crisis.
We also face medium and long-term issues, namely growth, trade, investment and finding climate solutions.
The theme of this year's annual meeting is to call on countries to commit themselves to solving short-term problems.
At the same time, it should not be forgotten that the world needs to cooperate to solve some long-term problems so as to ensure continued (economic) growth and continue to find solutions to the deterioration of climate conditions.
The Beijing News: In a divided and fragmented world, the prospect of globalization has also been re-examined.
The expert group also discussed the issues of "re-globalization" and "de-globalization". In your opinion, what factors drive the transformation of the globalization process?
Where are we at?
What will the future of globalization look like?
Shi Liwei: This needs to talk about the theme of the annual meeting again.
If the world breaks up into different independent regions, it will not be good for global (economic) growth and it will not be good for supply chain integration.
The theme of the annual meeting is therefore a call to ensure global cooperation remains in place.
We are not in a phase of de-globalisation, quite the contrary, the world is more interconnected than ever before.
The gathering of people from all over the world in Davos is a testament to the global desire to maintain cooperation as we emerge from the impact of the new crown epidemic.
Beijing News: How do you view the role played by the World Economic Forum?
Shi Liwei: When the World Economic Forum was established in 1971, some of the global situation was similar to what it is now. Energy prices continued to rise, the world (economy) experienced zero or even negative growth, and the world was in crisis.
The idea behind the Forum was to bring together leading figures from around the world to address some of these challenges.
This philosophy has not changed over the years.
We are not a contracting organization and do not play a role similar to the United Nations Organization or the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
But we act as a catalyst by providing a platform for discussion, identifying themes for meetings, building coalitions of the willing and finding solutions.
The 2023 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting has achieved many results
Beijing News: Earlier, the World Economic Forum released the "2023 Global Risks Report", which pointed out that the cost of living crisis is the most serious threat we face in the next two years.
Which groups will be hit hardest by rising global cost of living?
What solutions have been suggested by the forum?
Shi Liwei: The risk of rising living costs has been with us for many years, but this year, for the first time in the "Global Risks Report 2023", the cost of living crisis is listed as the world's largest short-term risk.
Businesses have a responsibility within their organizations and supply chains to protect those most affected by this (against cost of living risks), who are often those at the bottom of the employment ladder, or in emerging markets who need support and assistance.
The report on employment and retraining shows that 110 of the companies participating in Davos have pledged to provide support to those most in need in education, technology and other areas requiring retraining.
The Beijing News: The issue of climate change is also one of the core topics of this meeting. What achievements have been made in this annual meeting on climate?
Shi Liwei: The climate process has been going on for several years.
A number of coalitions have already pledged to reduce their emissions.
Take the "CEO Climate Leaders", a group of 100 chief executives from large multinational companies who pledged that they would reduce their emissions.
We also have some initiatives on that particular topic, which is something we'll be focusing on over the next decade.
Beijing News: The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has lasted for nearly a year and has had a profound impact on the global supply chain.
How does the Forum see the prospect of a Russia-Ukraine conflict?
Shi Liwei: We hope that a peaceful solution to the crisis in Ukraine will be found soon.
Once found, we will use the platform to launch initiatives to help them rebuild trust and rebuild their homes.
Many central banks will remain cautious in the face of inflation
Beijing News: According to a survey conducted by the World Economic Forum, two-thirds of the chief economists surveyed are worried that there will be a global recession in 2023.
How do you personally see the outlook for the global economy?
Shi Liwei: Entering 2023, we are facing multiple crises, food crisis and energy crisis superimposed, and prices are still high.
For now, though, U.S. inflation has stabilized, falling from a high of 9 percent to around 6.5 percent.
Inflation in Europe also edged down in December, to 9.2 percent from a high of 10.6 percent.
These are all positive signs.
Economists are still debating how quickly inflation can come down and what that means for the global economy to enter a recession, but there is little doubt that a peaceful resolution of the Russia-Ukraine conflict is good for growth.
For now, many central banks will remain cautious.
Beijing News: How do you view China's economic development in 2023?
What role do you expect China to play in global economic cooperation in 2023?
Shi Liwei: We are very honored to see that Vice Premier Liu He led a large delegation to participate in this World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.
This sends a strong signal that China wants to engage in global affairs, which we welcome.
Based on some data, China's economic growth in 2020 will slow down a bit.
But I believe that China's economic growth will accelerate again in 2023, driven by accelerated consumption and exports, and may be higher than the global average.
Beijing News reporter Zhu Yuehong Luan Ruoxi Liu Jingyu