Christian Kolbe, Lea Hartmann, Fabienne Kinzelmann and Nicola Imfeld
The sun is shining on the first day of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum 2022 edition – and again on the last one. In between there are a few wet and cold days that go well with the current world situation. “The mood in Davos is optimistic with many worry lines,” says economist Erik Brynjolfsson (60), summing up the mood of many participants. “That sounds only superficially like a contradiction. Because many are very confident in the long term, but there are still many problems to be solved beforehand.”
Only this year on a smaller scale, as Christoph Mäder (62), President of Economiesuisse, noted: “There were significantly fewer people at the WEF than usual.” Nevertheless, there is still great interest in meeting in Davos GR.
Corona almost forgot
“Every meeting was overshadowed by the war,” says Central National Councilor Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter (58), addressing the dominant topic. Linked to this is the still boundless solidarity with Ukraine. “The almost unanimous opinion in this forum is that the West has a duty to support Ukraine in any way it can, because they are also fighting this fight for us,” says Egils Levits (66), the President of Latvia.
Interesting: Corona has almost disappeared from the worry barometer of the WEF elite. “However, the mood was depressed, no wonder with all these bad issues such as war, inflation, climate change or food shortages,” said Stéphane Bancel (49), CEO of Moderna, summing up the annual meeting. He does not mention the pandemic, although his vaccine should be in high demand again by autumn at the latest.
All participants have more or less deep worry lines on their foreheads. “It’s good that we can see each other again. Disturbing, all the dangers facing the world. The second half of the year will be difficult,” fears Alain Dehaze (59), CEO of Adecco. The US political scientist Ian Bremmer (52) addresses the feeling of powerlessness of many: “The meeting has never been so shaped by geopolitical issues. And in contrast to the meeting of 2009, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, there are no instruments to combat all the trouble spots.”
Vanessa Nakate (25), climate activist from Uganda, suggests a change of perspective: “The talks were all about how to increase profits and not how to protect the environment. Nobody talked about the interests of the Global South. It’s always about securing the prosperity of the rich north.”
World Economic Forum 2022 in Davos