FOCUS - The US President will close the World Economic Forum on Friday, January 26, as the organizers' annual global risk survey puts climate disruption and armed conflict at the top of the list of threats.
The suspense is up. Donald Trump, the first US president to participate in the World Economic Forum in Davos for 18 years, will speak on the last day of the conference, which will be held this year from January 23 to 26. The head of the world's leading economic power has given itself the role of concluding the debates, while are expected 3000 participants, half of whom are responsible for companies, mostly multinationals. In addition, 70 heads of state or government will be present, as well as 38 leaders of international organizations (UN, IMF, World Bank, WHO, WTO, ILO among others).
This grand rally of globalization, now in its 48th year, will be opened by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Among the European leaders, Theresa May (Great Britain) will be there, but not the German Angela Merkel, too busy putting the house back in order. His absence will only give more relief to the participation of Emmanuel Macron, crowned with his image of a strong man in Europe, probably by default, but also for his youthful charisma. The President of the French Republic will speak at the end of the day, Wednesday 24.
Klaus Schwab at the maneuver
Presenting the calendar of this Forum, which he was the creator in 1971 and remains the Director General year after year, Professor Klaus Schwab was keen to remove the misunderstandings and criticisms raised by the announcement of the coming of Trump . How can one who advocates protectionism and isolationism come to commune in the temple of globalization and cosmopolitanism? The topics to be debated in Davos are "the future of global cooperation, in relation to trade, the environment, the fight against terrorism, taxation, competitiveness, and in this context, it is absolutely essential to to have President Trump with us ". This is the answer given Tuesday in Geneva, where the Foundation organizes the World Economic Forum, by the master of the house, Klaus Schwab, in his traditional press conference.
The participation of the American president comes in a very typical context, even paradoxical, where the good health of the world economy is adapting as best as possible geopolitical and environmental risks particularly acute. "The economic recovery, which is spreading every day, offers us an opportunity that we can not afford to waste," said the tireless Professor Schwab on Wednesday, but this time from London, where he presented the Global Risk Perception Survey 2018 (GRPS). This annual report has also been part of the "Davos ritual" for the past ten years: based on a global panel of a thousand business leaders, scientists and economists, the GRPS aims to identify the main risks (30 different in total), whether in terms of their probability or their destructive impact over ten years.
The main risks identified
The five most likely risks are, in descending order, "extreme weather events" in mind, then "natural disasters", in three "cyber attacks", followed by "theft or data fraud", and fifth position "the failure of policies to combat climate change". Their probability is all the stronger because their misdeeds are already reality!
The ranking in terms of impact and severity is significantly different. This time it is "weapons of mass destruction", which are perceived as the major threat. Then in two "extreme weather events", followed by "climate disasters", "failures in the fight against climate change" coming in four, and finally "water crises".
Commenting on the results, John Drzik, who chairs the global risk and digital consulting firm, emphasized the interdependence of these different risks: "Geopolitical friction is driving the scale and sophistication of cyber attacks soaring. At the same time, companies are becoming more dependent on technology and their exposure to cybernetics is increasing. While cyber risk management is improving, businesses and governments need to invest a lot more to avoid what we see for natural disasters: a "protection gap" between economic losses and insured losses.
Economic risks that are less scary
As for the economic risks themselves, and especially the financial crises, the concern is lower than in previous years, notes the GRPS. But some panellists fear that "the improvement in growth rates of global GDP is causing some complacency about the structural risks of global economic and financial systems," he said.
On all these topics, Donald Trump will obviously have a lot to say. Consider him a troublemaker (after his denunciation of the Paris climate agreement of 2015) or that he appears on the contrary as a potential savior as head of the first financial and military power of the planet, the performance of the Colossus of the White House - 1.90 m under the roof and 108 pounds on the scale - will not leave anyone indifferent ...
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