Hot Topics at World Economic Forum 2024


“Rebuilding trust” in a world filled with uncertainties was the theme of the World Economic Forum (#WEF2024) in Davos from 15 to 19 January 2024. This year marks the 54th edition of the annual event which started in 1971 by Klaus Schwab.

According to the organizer’s official data, over 50 heads of state or government attended this edition. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Chinese Premier Li Qiang, French President Emmanuel Macron, Argentinian President Javier Milei, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Qatari PM Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Hossein Amir-Abdooahian were among the government leaders in attendance.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang Delivers Speech on State of Chinese Economy at WEF 2024
Chinese Premier Li Qiang Delivers Speech on State of Chinese Economy at WEF 2024

Chinese Premier Li Qiang underscored that the current strained relation between China and the USA can be attributed to ‘a lack of trust.’ He believes that the world’s two largest economies, sometimes referred to as the G2, has more to gain working together than to compete. As a matter of fact, certain global issues such as global warming requires close collaboration between China and the USA.


Oil Tanker Attacked in Red Sea
Oil Tanker Attacked in Red Sea

As could have been expected, the Red Sea Crisis was on everybody’s mind and featured prominently during the discussions at Davos. Several government and business leaders provided their perspectives on the issue.

WTO Director-General Dr Ngozi noted that the world trade has been disrupted by geopolitical issues and negative effects of climate change. First, the Houthis are disrupting commercial shipping via the vital sea lane along the Rea Sea. Secondly, the level Panama Canal has gone so low as to non-navigable for large ships due to severe drought caused by climate change.

US State Secretary Blinken noted a glimpse of hope as the Arab World appears increasingly prepared to deal with Israel. Thus, a negotiated deal towards a two-state solution is a plausible outcome. However, he underscored that the creation of Palestine would entail strong capacity building for an effective Palestinian governance.

Ukrainian President Zelensky and the Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian were also present.


With the advent of generative #AI, the general consensus is that we must strike a balance between innovation and security. AI is a double-edged sword which can be used for good or bad. Therefore, legislation must keep pace with the rapid pace of change in order to control and manage the negative applications of AI.

The founder of OpenAI which came up with the disruption technology of ChatGPT made a notable appearance at Davos. Sam Altman to sound a positive note, he highlighted that AI will allow humans to access better tools and capabilities than ever before.

On the other hand, UN Secretary-General warned about letting AI run forward ‘without guard rails.’


Many leaders believe one of the solutions to the climate crisis will have to go through the effective operationalization of a carbon credit exchange. During a panel exploring the global economic outlook, Singaporean President Tharman Shanmugaratnam stressed that carbon credit holds the key to the redistribution resources for catalyzing the energy transition.

Discussion Panel About the Global Economic Outlook at WEF 2024
Discussion Panel About the Global Economic Outlook at WEF 2024

John Kerry is stepping down as Biden’s climate envoy but nevertheless participated in a panel discussion on the hot topic. He highlighted the application of green applications to reduce emissions. For instance, one must not discount the emergence of carbon capture technologies as a way to decarbonization. As another interesting move, Volkswagen committed to start using green steel to build vehicles.

The World Economic Forum and the US are spearheading the First Movers Coalition to lead the way for a green future. By 2030, several global companies, which span various sectors and are members of the Coalition, have voluntarily committed to adjust the purchasing policies to favor products with lower environmental impact.