More than half of chief economists said in their outlook for this year, released during the 54th Annual WEF meeting, that they expect the global economy to weaken in 2024. Meanwhile, seven in 10 said the pace of geoeconomic fragmentation will accelerate.
"Uncertainty is the key word for most economies around the world, including China. The positive is that China is one of the very few large economies in the world that is not struggling with inflation, that is not struggling with very high interest rates at present," said Saadia Zahidi, managing director of the WEF.
In the face of escalating global division and uncertainty, the 54th WEF Annual Meeting has assembled leaders from around the world for a week of dialogue aimed at enhancing cooperation and cultivating partnerships.
Under the theme "Rebuilding Trust," the meeting will focus on four priorities: achieving security and cooperation in a fractured world; creating growth and jobs for a new era; harnessing artificial intelligence as a driving force for the economy and society, and formulating a long-term strategy for climate, nature, and energy.
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF, underlined the urgency of rebuilding trust in a fragmented world with growing social divides. He emphasized the need to move beyond crisis management and address root causes.
The forum will showcase the latest proposals on global security, trade, economic growth, jobs, climate and nature action, energy transition, technological disruption, and health and well-being.
WEF President Borge Brende highlighted the necessity of innovative public-private collaboration, saying that "the Forum provides the structure for developing research, alliances, and frameworks that promote ... cooperation throughout the year." The annual meeting will serve to deepen connections between leaders, he added.