Sunday, 24 September 2023

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PM Lee attending World Economic Forum in Switzerland this week

Beginning from Monday (20 Jan) to Friday (24 Jan), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be in Davos, Switzerland to attend the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

On Wednesday (22 Jan), the Prime Minister will be speaking at a dialogue session about the issues of leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and how technology will reshape the ASEAN region and the future of smart nations. The president of WEF, Borge Brende will moderate the dialogue session.

On the same day, a livestream media session titled “Leading A New Multilateralism” will be held where the Prime Minister will also participate as a panellist. Roula Khalaf, the Financial Times editor is set to moderate the media session. Discussion matters will include how multilateral system should adapt to emerging ideas, actors and interests. Other panellists are Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor and Indian telecoms tycoon Sunil Bharti Mittal.

Last Sunday (19 Jan), the Prime Minister stated that he will also be meeting other business and political leaders at the forum.

The upcoming forum is the 50th forum of the WEF, which is a stage for leaders in civil society, government and industry to swap views on new approaches to deal with global challenges as well as geopolitical developments.

The forum’s theme for 2020 is “Stakeholder For A Cohesive and Sustainable World”.

Among the high-profile leaders slated to attend are United States President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and China’s Vice-Premier Han Zheng. In addition to this, other attendees and their topics include Huawei Technologies founder Ren Zhengfei with technololy arms race, Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone with the stigma attached to mental illness and 17-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg with how to avoid climate apocalypse.

The scope of topics try to address the key questions that this year’s forum seeks to discuss, such as:

  1. Addressing urgent environmental and climate challenges that are ruining the economy and ecology.
  2. How to retool industries to adopt more inclusive and sustainable business models in the context of changing consumption and trade patterns.
  3. How to govern the technologies ushering in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is the umbrella term for the prevalence of artificial intelligence (AI), digitalisation and automation, and how to minimize the associated risks while reaping the transformative benefits.
  4. How to acclimatise to the technological, demographic and social trends molding the outcomes of entrepreneurship, education and employment.

Accompanying the Prime Minister is S. Iswaran, the Minister for Communications and Information as well as Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies.

In 2019, WEF appointed Mr Tharman as one of the 25 members of the board of trustees.

Mr Iswaran will speak in sessions discussing the strengthening the infrastructure for digital trade as well as the future of governance of technologies and the digital economy.

Throughout the forum participation, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat will be the acting prime minister in the country.

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