Leaders prepare for Davos summit

World Economic Forum says rich-poor wealth gap poses biggest threat to global community

Swiss soldiers outside the Kongress Zentrum, the venue for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week. photograph: gianluca colla/bloomberg

Swiss soldiers outside the Kongress Zentrum, the venue for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week. photograph: gianluca colla/bloomberg

Mon, Jan 20, 2014, 01:03

The corridors of Kongress Zentrum, the venue for the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, will be packed with potential new business partners and a few old foes.

Among them will be Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, whose nations have been sworn opponents for decades.

And it would seem the two leaders don’t think much of each other either, considering Netanyahu recently called Rouhani a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and urged the world to be wary of his “charm offensive”.

This year’s four-day event starts on Wednesday under the theme, “The reshaping of the world: consequences for society, politics and business”. More than 40 heads of state or government, including Taoiseach Enda Kenny, British prime minister David Cameron, Rwandan president Paul Kagame, Italian prime minister Enrico Letta and Park Geun-hye, president of South Korea will be in attendance.

Reset button
The Davos forum’s founder, Klaus Schwab, last week told reporters that the event aims to push the reset button on the world’s crisis mode.

“We need to push the reset button. The world is still much too much caught in a crisis-management mode. We should look at our future in a much more constructive and strategic way.”

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, European Commission president José Manuel Barroso, U2 singer Bono, Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke, actor Matt Damon, International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde, ECB president Mario Draghi, and Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post will be among the speakers.