War in Ukraine, fighting in Gaza… how geopolitical unrest could enter the World Economic Forum in Davos

War in Ukraine, fighting in Gaza... how geopolitical unrest could enter the World Economic Forum in Davos

The World Economic Forum in Davos is due to take place next week. KEYSTONE – SALVATORE DI NOLFI

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, President Emmanuel Macron and Middle East leaders are scheduled to take part in the World Economic Forum in Davos next week, where discussions are expected to focus on ways to end the wars in Gaza and Ukraine.

This 54th edition of the annual meeting in the Swiss winter sports resort will be held in a geopolitical context of unprecedented complexity, conceded Tuesday, January 9, the president of the World Economic Forum Borge Brende.

At the same time, the central bankers, financiers and business leaders who will be present at the event will have to debate a difficult global economic picture, with a shift expected in monetary policies after multiple rate increases in the face of inflation and growing debt.

A closed-door meeting is to be chaired by the executives of the British bank Barclays and the Canadian insurer Manulife Financial, according to a copy of the program that Reuters was able to obtain. Borge Brende, former Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, indicated that the priority of this 2024 edition of the Forum would be high-level diplomatic discussions regarding the wars in the Middle East, Ukraine and Africa.

The US delegation will be led by Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden's national security adviser, organizers said.

A White House official said Jake Sullivan would deliver a speech in Davos and that Vice President Kamala Harris's husband, Doug Emhoff, would also attend the speech. ;event. There was no immediate comment from the US State Department.

In Davos, Antony Blinken will once again meet major players in the Middle East, where the head of American diplomacy began a new tour this week to discuss the conflict in the Gaza Strip. Representatives from Qatar, which mediates between Palestinian groups and Israel, will be present, as will Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

The organizers also announced the presence of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, and more than 40 foreign ministers. Emmanuel Macron is expected to give a speech on France's role in the future of Europe, they said. No comment was immediately made by the Elysée. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will also speak.


The two previous editions of the Davos Forum were marked by the war in Ukraine. While Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky is expected to speak again, it was not yet known whether Russian representatives will visit Switzerland. China, Russia's main ally, will be represented by Premier Li Qiang, the highest-ranking representative sent by Beijing since President Xi Jinping visited Davos in 2017.

Furthermore, the Forum organizers highlighted the presence of leaders from the "Global South", who sought to stay away from the war in Ukraine after initially condemning Russia for its offensive. Geopolitical risks have continued to grow, between the war in Ukraine, the war between Israel and Hamas, as well as the attacks in the Red Sea, linked to the conflict in Gaza, which are disrupting this major axis of maritime transport between Asia and Europe.

China has also intensified its military pressure around Taiwan. Economically, the situation "could be better”, underlined the director general of the World Economic Forum, Jeremy Jurgens, noting that the growth forecast was 2.9% this year. Jeremy Jurgens also highlighted the increased role of Latin America and Asia as an illustration of “broader changes in the global economy”.

The new ultra-liberal Argentine president, Javier Milei, is expected in Davos. A representative of the World Economic Forum mentioned the presence of some 530 executives from banks, insurers, financial groups and others.

"With issues like ongoing geopolitical tensions, the urgent need to respond to climate change, economic concerns, and rapid technological advances influencing policy and boardroom decisions, “this summit is going to be central,” said Anna Marks, global director of Deloitte, in comments sent by email

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