World Economic Forum executive chairman and founder Klaus
Schwab pauses during a news conference yesterday. Photo by
Finance Minister Bill English will next week be mingling
with some of the world's most rich and powerful people when he
attends the annual Davos gathering.
The gathering, which draws thousands of the world's most
powerful people, would this year welcome more than 40 heads
of state and government to focus on questions about the
world's future, organisers said yesterday.
The theme of the World Economic Forum this year is ''The
Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society''.
It is the first time Mr English has attended the forum annual
''The forum will provide me with an opportunity to understand
the global risks to New Zealand's positive economic outlook.
It will also provide me with a clearing understanding of how
the people and markets we trade with are thinking about our
common challenges,'' Mr English said.
He was particularly interested in discussions about returning
to what many called ''natural growth'' as economies moved
away from large monetary and fiscal stimulus programmes.
The unwinding of the stimulus programmes by large economies
would have an impact on small open economies like New
Zealand's, Mr English said.
Among the participants at this year's event, which runs from
January 22 to 25,
are British Prime Minister David Cameron, Japanese Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe and presidents including South Korea's
Park Geun-hye, Ukraine's Viktor Yanukovich, Mexico's Enrique
Pena Nieto and Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan, Reuters reported.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu will both be speaking and an encounter
between the two leaders whose countries are traditional foes
would be logistically possible.
Central bankers Mark Carney, Mario Draghi and Haruhiko Kuroda
and US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew are also taking part, as
well as IMF chief Christine Lagarde and World Bank head Jim
The 2500 participants include the heads of all major
international organisations and more than half the chief
executives of the 1000 largest companies, including Goldman
Sachs chairman and chief executive Lloyd Blankfein and
Coca-Cola chairman and chief executive Muhtar Kent.
More high-level guests are expected to be announced in the
next few days. Others who could visit include US Secretary of
State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov,
who will be attending the opening of Syrian peace talks in
Montreux, at the other end of Switzerland.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will be the only head of
state from the BRIC nations to attend. India is sending a
delegation including Finance Minister Palaniappan
Chidambaram, while Russia will be represented by its finance
minister and two deputy prime ministers.
China is sending Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice-chairman of its
National Development and Reform Commission.
Klaus Schwab, who heads the World Economic Forum that runs
the event, said there would be a ''senior leader'' from China
who was not yet on the published guest list.
Mr Schwab likes to include ''disruptors'' in the guest list -
including Internet entrepreneurs and activists - and will
give the participants a chance to experience the rougher side
of life in a mock-up refugee camp in the Alpine resort, as
well as a special simulation of life as a Syrian refugee in
But Davos will not have any representatives of some of the
past year's biggest disrupters, such as Edward Snowden,
Julian Assange or Pussy Riot, nor has Russia's newly freed
ex-tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky been invited.
''As far as Mr Khodorkovsky's concerned we certainly could
consider an invitation next year, but we first have to be
clear what his future is, and that's not yet very obvious,''
Mr Schwab said.