ED AMONG 10 AFRICAN LEADERS AT WEF
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is one of the 10 African Heads of State and Government that have been invited to the prestigious World Economic Forum’s 48th Annual Meeting which will take place next week.
The meeting will start on Tuesday and end on Friday in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, bringing together a record number of heads of state, government and international organisations alongside leaders from business, civil society, academia, the arts and media.
Convening participants under the theme, Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World, the meeting will focus on finding ways to reaffirm international cooperation on crucial shared interests such as international security, the environment and the global economy.
The meeting comes at a time when geostrategic competition between states is generally seen to be on the rise.
President Mnangagwa’s attendance will be a historic occurrence for Zimbabwe as this marks the first time the country’s sitting head of state has attended the forum.
The meeting is also against a backdrop of positive rhetoric from the International Community that seem willing to engage and do business with Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe Investment Authority chief executive Richard Mbaiwa told our Harare Bureau that the invitation to the forum was key as it would afford the President a chance to market Zimbabwe and to explain its new policy thrust.
“I am sure that he (President Mnangagwa) will be given an opportunity to speak on the new direction that we are taking as a country, the reengagement process and the policy thrust. He will also speak on the reforms that are taking place in terms of the laws. I am sure indigenisation will also come up, I think it’s a key policy issue that has always been an area of concern to investors, so I am sure it will be articulated.
“Generally it’s an opportunity to us as a country to showcase what we offer and say to investors, you are welcome to invest in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is open for business,” said Mr Mbaiwa.
Attending the conference is also set to improve the country’s risk profile going forward as Government will be able to articulate its position to a wider audience in line with the new approach to doing business. One key indicator will be the make-up of those accompanying the President.
The Annual Meeting will feature more than 340 top political leaders with 10 heads of state and government from Africa, nine from the Middle East and North Africa and six from Latin America. These include; Hailemariam Dessalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia; President Mnangagwa; Yemi Osinbajo, Vice-President of Nigeria; Saad Al Hariri, President of the Council of Ministers, Lebanon; His Majesty Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel; and Juan Manuel Santos, President of Columbia.
Alongside international cooperation, an additional priority of the meeting will be to overcome divisions within countries. These have often been caused by breakdowns in the social contract as a result of failure to protect societies from the transformational impacts of a succession of shocks, from globalisation to the proliferation of social media and the birth of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Collectively, these shocks have caused a loss of trust in institutions and damaged the relationship between business and society.
“Our world has become fractured by increasing competition between nations and deep divides within societies. Yet the sheer scale of the challenges our world faces makes concerted, collaborative and integrated action more essential than ever.
“Our Annual Meeting aims to overcome these fault lines by reasserting shared interests among nations and securing multi-stakeholder commitment to renewing social contracts through inclusive growth,” said Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum.
Opening address will be delivered by Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India. Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, will deliver a keynote address before the close of the meeting.
This year a record number of leaders from G7 economies will participate, including Paolo Gentiloni, Prime Minister of Italy; Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission; Emmanuel Macron, President of France; Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada.