Davos 2022: What Is for the Middle East This Year?

Published May 23rd, 2022 - 06:00 GMT
Davos 2022
A Sign of the World Economic Forum Is Seen at the Congress Centre Ahead of the World Economic Forum (Wef) Annual Meeting in Davos on May 21, 2022 the World’s Political and Business Elite Will Hobnob in Davos Next Week After a Two-Year Break Caused by COVID, With the Ukraine War Set to Dominate the Exclusive Swiss Mountain Summit. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / Afp)

After two years of remote events, the World Economic Forum is finally back to in-person meetings in the Swiss town of Davos, promising a very unorthodox experience, under the theme "History at a Turning Point: Government Policies and Business Strategies".

Whether it is the unusually green scenery in the town used to welcome international visitors with a white cover of snow, or the fact that the conference is being held in person for the first time following a global pandemic that had wreaked havoc across the world, this Davos is certainly quite different in every aspect.

The 5-day event starting on the 22nd of May is welcoming thousands of leaders, activists, and experts who will be discussing several of the world's most challenging issues, particularly as it emerges from two years of COVID19 chaos, in addition to the escalating situation in Ukraine, where the war enters its fourth month.

The 2022 WEF will host around 50 heads of state, including the President of Ukraine, who will join remotely in an effort to address the world amid the ongoing Russian invasion of his country.

Ukrainian's President Volodymyr Zelensky appears on a giant screen during his address by video conference as part of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos on May 23, 2022. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Davis 2022 Themes

1- Climate and Nature 

2- Fairer Economies

3- Tech and Innovation

4- Jobs and Skills

5- Better Business

6- Health and Healthcare

7- Global Cooperation

8- Society and Equity

What makes Davos 2022 unique?

Yet, the 2022 WEF is noticeably attracting fewer people than usual, including fewer billionaires than in previous events. According to Bloomberg, only 90 billionaires are taking part in the 2022 Davos event, compared to 119 who attended the last in-person meeting in January 2020.

Bloomberg named Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and BlackRock Inc.’s Larry Fink and Steve Schwarzman amongst the billionaires who are not scheduled to attend this year's event.

The declining number of businessmen attending 2022 Davos has been strongly linked to amounting fears of an economic recession in recent weeks, especially after Wall Street slid into a bear market territory last week.

This year's event is also expected to draw notable takeaways from the COVID19 pandemic and the many crises it triggered around the world, including the damage it inflicted on the global economy. 

Finally, the 2022 spring conference will feature the unprecedented absence of Russian billionaires and business people, many of whom are suffering the consequences of Western boycotts following the war their country has waged in Ukraine last February. 

Yet, the challenges facing the World Economic Forum this year are not new. The international event is still facing mounting pressure to address economic problems from the public's point of view, such as demanding the rich community that is convening in the Swiss town to exert more efforts into building a more fair economy.

This call was echoed across Davos during a remark given by Dutch author Rutger Bregman in 2019 when he called out the "global failure to effectively tackle tax avoidance" as the primary cause of inequality.

What is in Davos 2022 for the Middle East?

Throughout the 5-day conference, four sessions will be dedicated to issues relevant to the Middle East and North Africa, hosting experts from the region to weigh on challenges and solutions.

May 23 - the Middle East and North Africa Economic Outlook - 16:00 - 16:45CEST

The session will bring business executives as well as ministers from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, and Bahrain to discuss the region's rising unemployment rates in addition to the economic impact of the Ukraine war on its people. 

May 24 - A New Security Architecture in the Middle East - 14:45 - 15:30CEST

With the participation of current and former politicians from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the Kurdistan Regional Government, the panel will draw lessons from past violent confrontations in the region and debate the possible ways that can help craft the region's security future. 

May 25 - Saudi Arabia Outlook - 10:00 - 10:45CEST

Hosting five ministers from the region's biggest economy, the panel delves into the different aspects of the Saudi economy, exploring its strategies of international cooperation with both the east and west, in addition to shedding light on its resources, priorities, and past experiences with global economic shakes. 

May 25 - Transitioning to a Green Middle East - 11:30 - 12:15CEST

With the Middle East suffering some of the most serious consequences of Climate Change, the panel from the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar will discuss their country's collaborations in terms of building sustainable economies that can help tackle the global challenge in a pace that does not harm the largely oil-reliant economies.  

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