Hosting the 54th World Economic Forum in Davos 2024, a Test of Influence for Switzerland. (1/2)

Over 2,500 delegates, including world leaders and prominent figures from the corporate and academic spheres are gathering in Davos, Switzerland, this week for the 54th World Economic Forum. Tackling key global issues, it underscores Swiss neutrality and strategic influence in fostering crucial international dialogue.

Posted mercredi, janvier 17 2024
Hosting the 54th World Economic Forum in Davos 2024, a Test of Influence for Switzerland. (1/2)

The Global Meeting of Influence and Power

The 2024 World Economic Forum (WEF), which runs this week (from January 16th-19th) is once again center stage, highlighting the annual event's importance as a hub of global geopolitics and trade. The WEF isn’t just an overt display of global diplomacy but also a critical platform for informal exchanges among world leaders. Featuring a host of paying participants, including top executives and political leaders, the forum serves as an exclusive setting for fruitful discussions, often away from official protocols. These interactions among a privileged network of key decision-makers can lead to initiatives and agreements that influence global politics.

 

A Forum Defined by Key Issues

The 2024 WEF stands out for its diverse participants and themes. The presence of figures like Sam Altman, Emmanuel Macron, Bill Gates, Li Qiang, Antony Blinken and Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as numerous Middle Eastern figures, underscores the event’s global reach. Discussions cover vital topics such as the situation in Ukraine and Gaza, demonstrating the WEF’s commitment to addressing the most pressing contemporary issues.

 

Convergence of Elites and Swiss Influence

The WEF offers Switzerland a unique platform to position itself as a key player in managing global issues. The presence of global elites in a secure, secluded setting reflects Switzerland’s influence and strategic position on the international stage.

Through the WEF, the country showcases its ability to impact global affairs while maintaining its tradition of neutrality. The Chinese prime minister’s visit to Bern before participating in the forum highlights Switzerland's diplomatic importance as a mediator and facilitator of international dialogue.

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, through his efforts to integrate Russia into future discussions and his involvement in the Ukrainian dossier, exemplifies the Swiss approach of discreet but active diplomacy.

The theme of this year’s WEF, "Rebuilding Trust", puts the focus on transparency, consistency and accountability, reflecting Swiss values and demonstrating Switzerland’s commitment to improving cooperation on immense challenges like disinformation, extreme weather events and political polarization. As host country, Switzerland plays a crucial role in facilitating these high-level dialogues.

Recently, countries like Qatar, Turkey, and South Africa have risen to prominence as mediators. In this fragmented environment, Bern is forced to position itself more clearly and actively. This key event in the global political and economic calendar gives Switzerland a renewed opportunity to play a strategic role as a neutral mediator in an increasingly fragmented world.

 

 

Aude Ghespière.