A large Chinese delegation, led by President Xi Jinping, will be the highlight of the World Economic Forum’s 47th annual meeting in Davos, which hopes to persuade the world’s leaders to be more responsible and responsive.
Xi Jinping will become the first Chinese premier to attend the meeting and will address a record 3,000 delegates at the opening plenary session on Tuesday. At a press conference, WEF founder Klaus Schwab said China’s high profile attendance would be “particularly relevant” to the theme of this year’s meeting.
Speaking about China’s growing power and influence in world affairs, Schwab said he could “foresee that President Xi will show how China will assume a responsible and responsive leadership role in world affairs”.
Schwab pointed to a growing global tendency for voters to express their dissatisfaction with leaders in recent months. Populist votes in Britain, the United States and Italy last year could be followed by similar expressions of discontent in France, Germany and the Netherlands in 2017.
“We hope the world will listen more to this message than it has done in the last few years,” he said.
French President François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will stay away from Davos this year as election fever builds up in their respective countries.
Some 1,800 business leaders from 1,000 global companies will descend on Davos between January 17-20. Movers and shakers from the worlds of civil society, religion, the arts and academia will supplement the ranks of politicians and entrepreneurs.
WEF will tackle a range of topics, including the continued strife in Syria and Iraq, immigration, the impact of the fourth industrial revolution, growing social inequality, employment issues and the environment.