High-profile policy makers and business leaders from around the globe have come to Davos, Switzerland to attend the Global Economic Forum (WEF). They have until Saturday to debate pressing political and economic issues.
The networking forum, which starts Wednesday in the picturesque Swiss mountain resort of Davos, is being attended by over 40 heads of state and government as well as numerous foreign ministers from all over the world.
For the first time in a decade, an Iranian president is to address the meeting. Hassan Rouhani is scheduled to talk about his nation's nuclear program and investment opportunities for foreign companies. He may also choose to talk about Iran's role in the Syria conflict.
WEF President Klaus Schwab (pictured) said he generally expected the forum to provide valuable insights into what leaders make of current political crises and what should be done to resolve them. He also predicted the high-profile gathering would come up with ideas on how to fuel economic growth and finally overcome the global financial crisis.
Social agenda not neglected
This year's World Economic Forum sees a large proportion of business leaders in good mood. According to a poll by consultancy group PricewaterhouseCooper, 44 percent of the executives polled are optimistic about the global economy and its recovery from a protracted crisis.
However, there are still problems to be debated at Davos. While immediate threats to corporate prosperity have receded of late, executives are increasingly worried about an alarming slowdown in emerging markets. In addition, there's uncertainty over the tapering of stimulus measures from the US Federal Reserve and concerns over increased regulation.
These things do not top the agenda of Pope Francis, who urged managers and policy makers to ensure a fair distribution of wealth on the eve of the Davos forum, saying they had to feel responsible for the weakest and most vulnerable members of society.
"It's not acceptable that thousands of people keep dying of hunger every day, despite enough food being available in the world to the extent that much of it simply gets wasted," the Pope criticized.
hg/mz (dpa, Reuters)