World Economic Forum Opens Annual Davos Meeting

Wednesday, 24 Jan, 2018

The 48th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting began in Davos, Switzerland today bringing together a record number of heads of state, government and global organizations alongside leaders from business, civil society, academia, the arts and media.

The World Economic Forum committed to improving the state of the world.

Members of Switzerland's Social Democratic Party and Green Party had requested permission to stage a protest on Thursday.

Chief executives are more optimistic about the economic outlook than they have been for many years although anxieties are rising about geopolitics, cyber threats and terrorism, a survey showed on the eve of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

"What we know is that what we lack is cooperation", the forum's president, Borge Brende, told reporters, adding that the gathering of 70 heads of state and government as well as key figures from the world of business may make a vital contribution toward overcoming current obstacles in global trade and elsewhere. The Swiss air force is providing 2,580 troops, while 1,600 are infantry and 187 are from the military police.

Last year, the sole envoy from the Trump camp in the week leading up to his inauguration was Anthony Scaramucci, the NY financier who was sacked after just 10 days as White House communications director.

This follows the embarrassing ruckus caused by Mr Trump just a couple of weeks ago when he denounced the US Embassy move to south London, labelling Nine Elms as an "off location".

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders had said Monday that if the government reopened, Trump would keep his promise to attend.

Trump's own trip to Davos was confirmed only on Monday due to the federal government shutdown.

"We'll be talking about investing in the United States again", Trump said Tuesday, as he signed new tariffs that could draw criticism from the Davos crowd. "I wouldn't imagine it is".

Trump, the first sitting US president to attend the forum since Bill Clinton in 2000, is a source of much of this anxiety after a volatile first year in office in which he has turned American foreign policy on its head.

Klaus Schwab said: "It's good to have the president here, if the snow conditions and the situation in Washington allow us".

The protest was the latest and potentially most combative among a few anti-Trump protests since the White House announced his plan to join the conference.