Davos WEF 2019 highlights

Davos WEF 2019 highlights

The Annual World Economic Forum conference was held in Davos this year on Jan 23-25. There were over 600 discussion sessions between 3000 global leaders from business, technology and politics. These Global Leaders debated on key challenges for Globalisation 4.0. Davos is a call for us to widen our perspective and face the challenges of the future. I outline the theme and major points discussed at Davos WEF 2019.

Davos is a call for us to widen our perspective and face the challenges of the future. I outline the theme and major points discussed at Davos WEF 2019. Click To Tweet

In case you are interested in attending Davos, 2020. The annual membership cost upwards of €53,000 [1]

1.0 Globalisation 4.0 : Davos WEF 2019

The Theme of this year at was Globalisation 4.0: Shaping the Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

1.1 Globalisation 4.0 has four major challenges.

Globalisation 4.0 - Davos WEF 2019

1. Massive technological disruptions and their implications
2. Power shift from a unipolar to a multipolar world shared by US and China
3. Making countries trade together for betterment of socio-economic conditions.
4. How to combat the Climate Change Threat without slowing down the economy

1.2 What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

The first industrial revolution started with the Steam Engine. The second industrial revolution with the light bulb, motor cars, telephone etc. The third industrial revolution also called the digital revolution saw semiconductor, personal computer and the internet. Now in the fourth industrial revolution, the gap between the digital, physical and biological worlds is shrinking, and technology is disrupting all traditional paradigms. [2]

Now in the fourth industrial revolution, the gap between the digital, physical and biological worlds is shrinking, and technology is disrupting all traditional paradigms. Click To Tweet

1.2.1 Arab World shouldn’t miss the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Khalid Al-Rumaihi, CEO of Bahrain Economic Development Board who was on the panel discussion said: “I think the Arab world has missed first three #IndustrialRevolutions, we must make sure we grab the fourth one.” [3]

“I think the Arab world has missed first three #IndustrialRevolutions, we must make sure we grab the fourth one.” - Khalid Al-Rumaihi, CEO of Bahrain Economic Development Board Click To Tweet
Khalid Al-Rumaihi, CEO of Bahrain Economic Development Board at Davos WEF 2019

2.0 What are the developing trends?

2.1. Blockchain Buzz has gone!

The Blockchain buzz of Davos 2018 was gone. The market cap of crypto currencies dropped from 618.1 billion to 125.6 billion. [4]

However, there were talks about the use of Blockchain beyond crypto. DAPP’s to facilitate land record keeping and other applications if someone resolves the scalability issue of blockchain.

2.2 Possibilities with 5G is unimaginable to humans now

The possibilities of 5G are right now unimaginable to humans. Experts say that imagine electricity only being used to power a light bulb like in the early days of electricity. That is how we are using internet today, for instance, just for for downloading stuff. With 5G, we will enter another realm of human possibilities. 5G networks will fulfil the promise of the Internet of Things, big data and artificial intelligence for world’s 7.7 billion people.

2.3 AI is here to stay

A 2017 survey by Deloitte

53 percent of companies had already started to use machines to perform tasks previously done by humans. The figure is expected to climb to 72 percent by next year.

AI is here - Davos WEF 2019

3.0 Outline of the discussions at Davos WEF 2019

Here is a brief on what they discussed on the major challenges of Globalisation 4.0

3.1 Future of Jobs

What is the future of jobs? Will the jobs we hold be still relevant in another 10 years?

3.1.1 Rapid Technological Transformation

The Telephone line took 75 years to achieve 100 million users [5], while Pokemon Go achieved 100 million users in just 2 months.[6]

This is an example how fast technology is scaling.

This is the age of rapid technological transformation and an entire labour force will soon find their jobs becoming redundant. Human resource is the most difficult to manage. Therefore, while Business leaders are happy about the massive cost saving and efficiencies it will bring in to their operations they should also be concerned about the loss of employment.

How do you re-skill this labour force? Who pays for the re-skilling of this workforce?

3.1.2 AI is a threat

Artificial intelligence will cut 40 percent of the world’s jobs within 15 years.[7] The promise of AI is to take over the mundane tasks and free the human mind for creative work. But what if AI takes away their jobs and the creative jobs don’t pay?

3.1.3 Slowbalisation

Slowdown effects are being felt over the globe. Globalisation 4.0 reflects on slowdown of the economy and how to steer the economy to sustainable growths.

3.1.3.1 China Slow down

Economic leaders are monitoring China’s slowing growth. Even US is expected to grow by 1.5 percent in 2020.

3.1.3.2 Trade conflicts in a multipolar world. 

The two major world powers China and US getting into a Trade conflict is not a good sign for growth. Experts predict China will lead in AI which could be another factor in increasing tensions between the two global superpowers.

The Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil took part in the panel discussion for Peace and Reconciliation in a Multipolar World [Video] He recommended other countries to use the Lebanese model of sectarian power sharing in the government for achieving stability.

3.1.3.3 Dropping Confidence of GLOBAL CEO’s 

The consulting firm PWC survey of Global CEO’s survey reveals that there has been a sixfold drop in the confidence. CEOs are expecting global growth to slow during 2019 due to macro-economic factors like over regulations and trade conflicts.[7]

3.1.4 Up-skilling

Up-skilling was one of the grave concern. They discussed economic aspects such as who will pay for up-skilling of the work force.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talked about the need for educational systems reform, which is paramount in helping young people develop the skills required to succeed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

3.1.5 Gender Equality

Discussions on how to reduce the gender pay gap and advance women in workplaces of the future also took place.

4.0 Inequality – Inclusive Growth

I believe the world to be entering a stage of instability and inequality brought on by massive technological disruption. The WEF is concerned about this gnawing issue and there were several debates around curbing inequality.

It is important that the dividends of growth are distributed equally and beneficiaries are not only the wealthy.

Source Oxfam [8] –

While billionaires saw their joint fortunes grow by $2.5 billion each day last year, the world’s 3.8 billion poorest saw their relative wealth decline by 11 percent.

Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

This fourth wave of globalisation needs to be human-centred, inclusive and sustainable

 

4.1 Increase taxes on the wealthy

While Billionaire like Bill gates are doing amazing work with the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, It is not enough!!

As per historian economist Rutger Bregman, “No one is addressing the elephant in the room” i.e. “More Taxes”. [Video]

He suggested that we should be discussing “More Taxes, More Taxes “on the wealthy.

5.0 Climate Change

President Trump who is climate change sceptic hasn’t gone down well and they expressed concern obout the new Brazilian President Mr Bolsonaro having similar views.

The question is how do we sustain the planet without killing economic growth.

What are your thoughts on trends to watch out in Future? Let me know in comments.

About the author

Financial advisor to UHNWI, private entities, family offices, and companies. Certified Anti-Corruption Manager from The American Anti-Corruption Institute

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