WEF concludes on a sombre note

The World Economic Forum's 2009 annual meeting has concluded in the Swiss resort of Davos with no plan to stem or reverse the global financial meltdown.

This content was published on February 1, 2009 - 18:54

For the thousands of attendees, the five-day summit finished on Sunday in the same subdued atmosphere as it had begun.

"Everybody's lost in Davos," said Kishore Mahbubani, the dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. "No one seems to have a clear understanding of how big this crisis is and what we need to do to get out of it."

The yearly meeting of the world's most influential people saw Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin hit out at United States computer magnate Michael Dell, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan leave a stage after a disagreement with Israeli President Shimon Peres, and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao attack US-style capitalism.

Leaders were able to agree that work needed to be done on the economy and the forum's founder, Klaus Schwab, called for a redesign of global banking, financial regulation and corporate governance systems.

"Now the hard work begins," he said and announced that his organisation would start a "Global Redesign Initiative".

"It's not just disappointment and frustrations," said Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus said of the meeting's atmosphere.

"This is the greatest moment we have because things need to be changed, it's as simple as that. We don't want to go back to the same normalcy that we're coming from. We will create a new normalcy which will stay and keep on moving and change the world."

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