What an eventful few days! We can say without a doubt that Greta and Donald kept the media on their toes this week.
Friday, ECB President Christine Lagarde commented on Brexit, the inflation rate and the ECB’s monetary policy. Greta Thunberg ensured that the issue “How to Save the Planet” did not vanish from the agenda, calling for a climate strike in the streets of Davos.
Please find attached our Davos Monitor 2020 with these and more insights on the last day of the event.
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Media outlets and audiences alike agreed that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s address to the Davos audience was the polar opposite of US President Donald Trump’s speech on Tuesday. Keeping close to the “how to save the world” script, Chancellor Merkel urged the global community to act together to counter climate change. US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin had clearly been skimming through the pages of “acting like your boss” when he publicly dismissed Greta Thunberg over her climate activism. Ms Thunberg responded in a similar fashion to when she had been trolled by Mr Trump in the past: by hitting back smartly on Twitter. An advocate of climate protection since before Greta was born, Al Gore jumped in to support the young Swede and did not shy away from using big metaphorical cannons. Thursday evenings are traditionally earmarked for dinner parties at Davos. One of the most famous parties is the one hosted by billionaire and philanthropist George Soros. During Mr Soros’ annual speech, he stated that he will commit $1 billion to start a global university to fight authoritarian governments and climate change, claiming that these are the challenges that threaten the survival of our civilization.
If we had to pick one overarching issue to describe yesterday at Davos, we’d sum it up under the term “uncertainty”. The day centered on issues like the climate crisis, the gloomy outlook of the global economy, the Wuhan coronavirus and world leaders pitching how to tackle global issues (or what exactly the most pressing issue is). The coronavirus went from being barely mentioned at the start of the forum to extensively discussed on the second to last day in Davos. Executives are reportedly worried how its spread will affect business. Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, came to Davos this week in defiance of a travel ban to plead for help and urge the world to help overturn the “dictatorship” in Venezuela. According to Guaidó, with 5.5 million refugees, Venezuela faces a refugee crisis on par with Syria. Returning to this year’s (literally) green agenda: A French think tank, Atelier Luma, is proposing algae as an alternative to plastic and showed off its technology in Davos.
What to look out for
Very soon the final curtain will be drawn, giving Davos’ locals their quiet town back. Before that happens, some prominent speakers will be given their time in the spotlight. In her position as the IMF’s Managing Director, Christine Lagarde regularly featured early in the schedule of the WEF. However, as the ECB President and with monetary policy discussions happening in the same week, her main responsibilities had to be dealt with first. With those discussions concluded, Madame Lagarde has now landed safe and sound in Switzerland and will speak today regarding the global economic outlook. She will be joined by some key players, including her successor at the IMF Kristalina Georgieva and her deputy Zhu Min, as well as US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. Elsewhere, the big question of “how to save the world” remains in focus for one final day in Davos: Greta Thunberg and various other climate activists are set to draw-attention to the issue during a school strike in the Swiss Alps.
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