World Economy

Record Number of Participants at WEF

Record Number of Participants at WEFRecord Number of Participants at WEF

The World Economic Forum (WEF) said Tuesday that its annual gathering at Davos this month will draw a record number of participants and over 300 heads of state and senior government officials.

The January 21-24 meeting of the rich and powerful at the posh Swiss ski resort comes amid a spate of global crises, including the worst post-Cold War stand-off between Russia and the West and renewed fears of financial turmoil, AFP reported.

More than 2,500 people are expected to attend the event, WEF said in a statement.

“In addition to the 1,500 top business leaders from over 140 countries, more than 300 heads of state, heads of government and government members are also expected to participate,” it said. “In particular, most European countries will be represented by the prime minister, president or chancellor and will be accompanied by strong government delegations.”

WEF refused to provide a list of participants, saying its main announcement would be made on January 14. “Today’s leaders are facing challenges that are unprecedented in their complexity, velocity and interconnectedness,” said WEF founder and chairman Klaus Schwab. “Finding a way to navigate these successfully in 2015 is, therefore, a critical priority for every leader, not just to ensure sustainable growth but to rebuild trust.”

  Turkey to Attend

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has decided to attend the WEF summit, six years after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was prime minister at the time, stormed out of a panel on the Gaza war. Davutoglu, who assumed office in August, will reportedly join the conference on January 23 and 24, sources from the Prime Ministry told state-run Anadolu news agency.

Meanwhile, Davutoglu is planning an official visit to Germany on Jan. 11-12 and to Britain from Jan. 19 to Jan. 21, sources said, adding that the schedule of these visits had yet to be finalized.

Erdogan had stormed out of a WEF panel on Gaza in January 2009 in protest at the moderator of the debate, repeatedly shouting “one minute” and accusing fellow debater Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Since the incident, a landmark point in Turkish-Israeli relations, Turkey has not been represented at the presidential level at the meeting. Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan attended the summit in the name of Turkey between 2009 and 2014.

The annual winter meeting organized by the Swiss nonprofit organization WEF gathers prominent political, academic and business leaders together with top global issues in a wide range of topics dominating the agenda.