WEF cancels 2021 annual meeting in Singapore

WEF founder Klaus Schwab says the decision to postpone the annual meeting was "difficult". Keystone / Laurent Gillieron

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has been forced to cancel its flagship annual meeting that was due to be staged in Singapore this summer.

This content was published on May 17, 2021 - 16:43

Singapore has recently seen an escalation in the number of coronavirus infections, forcing the island state to take further measures to prevent its spread. WEF had originally arranged to move its annual meeting from the Swiss mountain resort of Davos to Singapore for this month, before postponing the event until August.

Amid an escalation of Covid-19 cases in many parts of Asia, WEF says it will now have to cancel the meeting altogether.

“Regretfully, the tragic circumstances unfolding across geographies, an uncertain travel outlook, differing speeds of vaccination rollout and the uncertainty around new variants combine to make it impossible to realise a global meeting with business, government and civil society leaders from all over the world at the scale which was planned,” WEF said in a statement on Monday.

WEF founder Klaus Schwab added that it had been a “difficult decision” to cancel, “but ultimately the health and safety of everyone concerned is our highest priority”.

Davos in doubt?

Last month a WEF spokesperson said it was hoping to bring the meeting back to its traditional Davos venue in January. But the latest statement also appears to cast doubt on this ambition.

“The next Annual Meeting will instead take place in the first half of 2022. Final location and date will be determined based on an assessment of the situation later this summer.”

The number of infections has been gradually decreasing in Switzerland in recent weeks, leading to hopes that restrictions will be further eased at the end of this month. But the government also says it is remaining vigilant in case variant strains worsen conditions again.

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