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World Government Summit 2017: Governments must work together to meet global challenges

12 February 2017


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Governments need to navigate the backlash against globalisation and resist the building of walls, the 2017 World Government Summit

In his opening of Day One, Klaus Schwab, founder and chief executive of the World Economic Forum said governments faced a backlash of millions of people, particularly in the West, who feel globalisation is not working. At the same time, Schwab said there was a second ‘road map’ of governments building walls. “[This] leads to a world which is probably more anchored in yesterday and characterised by hostility,” he said. “I would suggest that we do not choose either of those ways, but we construct a new way which is in line with the world which is unfolding.”

The balance of power in the world had shifted, Schwab said, with a movement away from Western concepts to diverse ideas of how global affairs should be managed, adding that the benefits of globalisation – lifting one billion people out of poverty, should not be underestimated.

The Brexit votes and the election of President Donald Trump in the USA demonstrated the anger of people, said Schwab. “It shows the anger of people against globalisation, and the elites who they feel have profited from globalisation.” 

At the same time, artificial intelligence has become a reality, but governments would need to find ways to put mankind at the centre of their policies in order to solve global problems. 

“There is a new class of people known as precariat. They do not know if they will have enough when they get older to pay their medical bills. How can we address those issues?” he said. 

He concluded: “All of these changes are the reasons why we convened this summit, in order to find solutions to the challenges that are well defined or not defined. In the coming days we will try to find solutions to some of these challenges.”