Analysis: Limited Egyptian official representation in Davos

The Davos sun trickles through the glass, giving the feeling of warmth while in reality it is very cold.

Temperatures are below zero at all times at this time of the year.

This is how the picture appears sometimes in some discussions of the World Economic Conference.

Positive signs about the future of the world show on the horizon, while on the hand the world’s conditions at present send Shockwaves through the fragments of positivity.

This case is a general case and suitable for talking about all things to show the contradiction between what is announced and then there is reality.

I came out of a morning session in which a senior official spoke about investing in his country in front of a group of attendees.

Big profile Businessmen and officials of large financial funds spoke at the event.

I won’t mention the country because it does not matter here.

In a language very suggestive of sincerity and desire to persuade the speaker used the following expressions :

“We succeed when you succeed”.

“Our job is to serve you as you expect”. Our job is to create tge appropriate society for your business “.

” We always review laws abd regulations to suit the facilitation of the life of the investor and we are your partners and our relationship with does not end with you once you enter the marketplace “.

This is the atmosphere of the conversation, and also this is the reality, as I heard from some of the participants after the end of the session.

An Inappropriate Egyptian Presence

This may also be an occasion to talk again about the absence of Egyptians present at Davos.

Two active ministers only participate in the event, namely Hala al-Saeed, Minister of Planning, and Rania al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation.

Despite this participation, it remains a weak Egyptian precence in light of the almost complete absence of Egyptian businessmen or representation of large Egyptian businesses.

This absence occurs at a time when we are going through a crisis in which we need to carry out the largest communication campaign with the world and also to change the bright statements about encouraging investment into a real change amidst the very cold and disturbing reality of investment on the ground.

I remembered what I previously talked about intimidating investors and expected exits for some, and I did not find it interesting. 

One of the permanent participants in Davos told me that the shape of the Arab presence is different now than in the past.

Previously the Egyptian presence was clear, and the Palestinian-Israeli issue was one of the topics of permanent discussion.

Now attendance is tied to the economic impact and financial capabilities.

Therefore, the Gulf presence is the most obvious.

Big Contrasts!

The contradictions of talk and reality persist with the different visions offered here at a time when some financial officials at the forum believe that reopening China after the removal of anti-pandemic restrictions would boost global growth beyond expectations and help avoid a broader recession.

This is occurring even as the world’s largest economies struggle to overcome an economic slowdown.

Some believe that China’s return to the global economy has sent positive signals about the future of the global economy during the next two years.

Other parties have differing opinions.

Perhaps the most pessimistic of them is seeing the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, speaking at night at a limited dinner, which I attended, and he seemed pessimistic about the future of the world, and did not see an end to the Russian-Ukrainian war anytime soon.

He spoke of wishes about changing the world order represented by the UN and the Security Council, but they are more dreams than reality.

In his speech the next morning, yesterday, he continued with his bleak vision of the future, seeing the world in a “woeful state” due to a myriad of “intertwined” challenges including climate change and the Russian war in Ukraine”.

Guterres said that the greater levels of geopolitical division and mistrust in generations are undermining efforts to address global problems, which also include widening inequality.

The cost of living crisis caused by high inflation, the energy crisis, and the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as supply chain disruptions, and more.

He warned against the division of the world into two opposing parts, led by China and the US, as each of them possesses an economic, technological and ideological system, even in the Internet and AI. He warned that this separatist dualism will only lead to a definitive clash.

He referred to climate change as an “existential challenge” and said that the global commitment to limit global warming to 1.5°C is “almost barely done”.

He also pointed out that there is a state of frustration and anger in the south towards the countries of the north due to the lack of justice in dealing with coronavirus and distributing the vaccine, which leads to unbalanced and unfair economic recovery.

Guterres ended his speech by saying that there was no perfect solution in light of the storm, but we can try to mitigate the damage, adding: “We are in the worst situation I have experienced in my life.”

Elon Musk is also present

Elon Musk, the famous billionaire, and the new owner of Twitter as well, was the focus of conversation in the halls of the forum. Even though he did not attend, Elon Musk called on the World Economic Forum to respond to his skepticism, after claiming that he refused an invitation to attend this year’s conference.

However, a spokesperson for the forum stated that the billionaire wasn’t even on the guest list.

In a series of tweets this week, Musk challenged the conference, asking why it continued, criticizing the call of Klaus Schwab, president and founder of the World Economic Forum, to master the future.

Musk tweeted, in response to writer Michael Shellenberger, who spoke about the World Economic Forum’s attempts to fight conspiracy theorists: “There should be a game show: “4Chan or Davos, who said it?””.

The Tesla CEO also responded on the official Twitter account of the World Economic Forum, challenging its claim that “overpopulation remains a global challenge.”

Musk insisted that the declining birth rates around the world highlight the exact opposite: that population collapse is an existential problem for humanity, not overpopulation.

In one of the important sessions, which was attended by the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, he said that the most prominent crisis is certainly the refugee crisis from the Ukrainian war.

He said that his country had received more than 150,000 Ukrainian refugees, and would play its role to ensure energy security in Europe and food security in developing countries, calling on leaders to redouble their support for democracy, build interconnected and sustainable production chains, and rebuild politically and socially fragmented societies, with an emphasis on the well-being of citizens.

He finished off by saying that the Spanish government will stand on the front lines with those countries committed to fighting for a world led by social cooperation and environmental responsibility, and not just  fragmentation and with short-term vision. 

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