48t World Economic Forum opens in Davos

48t World Economic Forum opens in Davos

The 48th World Economic Forum kicks off in Davos today. It will be held amid the most impressive global economic growth over the past ten years and a positive outlook.

The forum this year will be visited by a record number of political leaders. More than 70 heads of state and governments will arrive, including French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Theresa May, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Argentina's President Mauricio Macri, Zimbabwe's president Emmerson Mnangagwa and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, who will deliver a program speech at the oppening of the forum.

US President Donald Trump is expected to grab world attention with his message on the America First policy and the opportunities for European and international partners. This will be the first visit of a US leader to Davos over the past 18 years. Last time, the summit in the Alpine resort was attended by Bill Clinton in 2000.

Russia’s delegation at the Davos forum will be led by Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich. It will also include Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund Kirill Dmitriev and business representatives. The delegation members will meet with investors and representatives of other states. According to Dmitriev, at the forum Russia may announce several investment projects in the technological sector. The session "Russia: Strategic Vision" will be attended by the head of the Russian Center for Strategic Research (CSR) Alexey Kudrin.

The panel session "Russia and the Global Digital Agenda" will be held at the Russia House organized by the Roscongress Foundation with participation of Minister of Communications and Mass Media Nikolay Nikiforov and Vnesheconombank (VEB) CEO Sergey Gorkov. The participants and media representatives have also shown interest in a session devoted to Russia’s role on the global energy market to be attended by Energy Minister Alexander Novak and also CEOs of Lukoil and Novatek companies.

The Davos forum will host 1,900 business leaders and also more than 200 media executives, 50 prominent culture figures and over 30 "technology pioneers." The forum will be held from January 23 until 26 and will have 400 sessions.

The advisor on macroeconomics to the CEO of the 'Opening-Broker' brokerage house, economist Sergey Hestanov, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the Russian delegation are pursuing rather political objectives at this Davos forum, than economic ones. "Both Davos and St. Petersburg forums have long turned into a kind of Vanity Fair, and no one really expects that it will have ant fateful consequences: the countries advertise themselves there, and trade agreements signed there are usually of formal nature," he explained.

"This year, like the previous one, is specific, because we live under sanctions, which are a significant restriction for many companies. We have current projects, but no one plans new ones, large enough to be discussed at the Davos Forum. This is why the diplomatic rank of most members of our delegation is not very high, due to the fact that no one has any special hopes for this forum. But the formal presence in Davos is still important to show that we are open to cooperation. In general, nothing important, interesting and capable of affecting the lives of Russians is expected at this forum," Sergei Hestanov said.

Professor of the RANEPA faculty of Finance, Money Circulation and Credit, Yuri Yudenkov, in turn, also drew attention to the political importance of the Davos forum for Russia. "In conditions of Russia's growing political undesirability, it is necessary to have all possible contacts with the countries at such a high level. Our delegation is represented by the Deputy Prime Minister, which is a sufficient level for establishing and maintaining contacts. As the main task of our delegation, in addition to maintaining contacts, I would stress studying the expert opinion both on the dynamics of Russia's development and on the dynamics of the development of the world economy. It is important for us to catch world economy trends and how Russia fits it them, because Russia's artificial insulation isn't going to last, the sanctions will be lifted, and by this moment we will have to correspond to the world level," he stressed.

"It is necessary to know the competitors' level of development, because normal competition still persists. In addition to a pure theory and negotiations, there is still hope that it will be possible to  at least negotiate protocols of intentions for major projects. We hope that the Russian delegation will be able to discuss the possible participation of Russia and its cooperation with other countries in this direction," Yury Yudenkov concluded.