Hard on the heels of our previous post about political globe-trotting, let the record show Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to visit the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, at the end of the month.
She’s a tyro in global economics, sure, but the conference should be worthwhile for her, particularly given its focus this year on aspects of globalisation and their consequences. Moreover, she will move among the major global economic and foreign policy players, including (probably) President Donald Trump.
Her attendance would also reinforce her policy platform against some of the less global trade-minded and economically illiterate members of the Coalition government.
Having gained international headlines as NZ’s leader in her first year in office, an appearance by Ardern at Davos would guarantee plenty of media attention.
Should she meet some of Beijing’s top leaders this might resolve the difficult situation left when China postponed her visit scheduled for this year. In terms of political optics, it could be difficult for her to accept a visit only when it suited Beijing.
She may extend her visit in Europe around the time of the Davos visit. A call to Brussels might be timely to help nudge the FTA. Her diary is already filling up and she is due to meet Aussie PM Scott Morrison next month at the regularly scheduled meetings of the two PMs.
The World Economic Forum, due to be held from Jan 22 to 25, has a theme that is of particular significance for the NZ coalition government which is seeking to modernise the economy, and faces major challenges in several sectors.
Globalisation has created global growth and development but also has given rise to excessive inequality.· For the next wave of globalisation – “Globalisation 4.0” – leaders need to learn from past mistakes and build more inclusive societies and better protect vulnerable communities
- The idea at the World Economic Forum is to shape a new global architecture in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Globalisation is being redefined simultaneously by four major transformations:
- Global economic leadership is no longer dominated by multilateralism but characterised by “plurilateralism”. As the World Economic Forum·planners see it, the balance of global power has shifted from unipolar to multipolar: ecological challenges, including but not limited to, climate change, are threatening socio-economic development. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is introducing technologies at a speed and scale unparalleled in history.
Whether Globalisation 4.0 improves the state of the world for all will depend on governance at the corporate, government and international levels that adapts sufficiently to this new economic, political, environmental and social context.
Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab says:
“We are just at the beginning of Globalisation 4.0, and are significantly underprepared for the magnitude of change we are facing. We are still approaching issues of globalization with an outdated mindset. Tinkering with our existing processes and institutions will not be enough. We need to redesign them so that we can capitalize on the abundance of new opportunities that await us, while also avoiding the kinds of disruptions that we are witnessing today.”
Under the rubric of Globalization 4.0, there will be a series of “Global Dialogues” in Davos to develop recommendations by the internationally relevant and knowledgeable individuals and institutions that are shaping the future.