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Davos ’19: ‘Gloomy’ Outlook, China, Merkel, Japan, Health, Davos 2020

As Davos ’19 continues, here are the top global business ideas being discussed:

‘Gloomy’ Outlook

PBS NewsHour: “The European Union’s longest-serving leader told some 3,000 participants of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday that the overall global picture was ‘rather gloomy.’”

“Germany’s outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel said she has ‘grave concerns’ about the world’s state of affairs.”

“There are a number of disturbances, a certain amount of disquiet in the international system as a whole,” Merkel said.

Said Maurice Lévy, the chairman of Publicis Groupe: “This is the year of confusion. No one is exactly sure what is the direction. They have no idea what will be the outcome of 2019,”

China to Davos: More Growth Coming

South China Morning Post writes:

  • “China on track for more growth, Vice-President Wang Qishan tells worried world elite in Davos as he rebukes US ‘bullying’”
  • “Globe’s second-biggest economy certain to deliver modest prosperity for its people by 2020, ‘optimistic’”
  • “Wang told world leaders that they should not ‘interfere’ in other countries’ affairs, and that nationalism, protectionism and populism are to be avoided”

Merkel Defends Institutions

Deutsche Welle: “German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the importance of multilateral institutions while calling for their reform in a speech made Wednesday at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.”

“‘We need a clear commitment to multilateralism. Anything else will only end in misery,’ Merkel said, highlighting what she called ‘the fragmentation of the multilateral world.'”

“She described a ‘multitude of disturbances and insecurities in the multilateral system’ as contributing to the reduced economic growth projections around the world.”

“Merkel said that the West must counter growing fragmentation by being ready to make compromises. These days some think it’s best ‘if everyone thinks only about himself,’ she said. ‘I have doubts about that.’ She highlighted the free trade deal between the EU and Japan that will go into effect on February 1 as an example of global cooperation.”

Japan: Abe Recommits to Free Trade

WEFIn his Special Address, Prime Minister Abe spoke about four things:

  • His government’s success in injecting hope into Japan’s economy, partly by encouraging women into Japan’s declining workforce
  • The upcoming G20 meeting in Osaka. Prime Minister Abe will launch a new track for looking at data governance under the auspices of of the WTO.
  • A Japan-led initiative to accelerate and scale climate and environment-related innovation.
  • Restating Japan’s commitment to the global rules-based system, emphasized by its commitment to new free-trade agreements including the recently enacted TPP11 and the EU-Japan EPA.

Health & Medicine: Investment Needed in Global Health

Stat News: Davos “draws in health, medicine, and biopharma leaders from across the globe. Novartis CEO Vasant Narasimhan, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, Johnson & Johnson chief scientific officer Paul Stoffels,and AC Immune CEO Andrea Pfeifer will be in attendance. They’ll be joined by other top names in the field, including global health philanthropist Bill Gates, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and former CDC director Julie Gerberding.”

“This year’s meeting features panels on progress in vaccine development, financial investment in global health, and the need for breakthroughs to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Global health experts will lead a panel on what needs to happen to confront new biological threats that haven’t yet been identified, dubbed Disease X. Several groups will also unveil new initiatives to address growing mental health challenges.”

Davos 2020: First Look Ahead

CNBC offers a first preview of key issues for next year’s gathering:

Next generation life sciences; “Gene editing and genetic engineering are revolutionizing human therapeutics, agricultural biology, and basic scientific research. Modification of the human genome through CRISPR and other gene editing techniques will have broad consequences. We could eventually correct genetic differences, eliminate microbes that cause disease, more productively cultivate healthier foods, resurrect extinct species, and eradicate dangerous pests that cause and spread disease.”

Smart cities and energy infrastructure: “By 2025, 85 percent of the U.S. population will live in cities and urbanization will continue to accelerate worldwide. Rapid urbanization brings excessive consumption of finite resources, congestion, and operational inefficiencies that can be better managed with smart waste management, route optimization software, intelligent public transport systems, wireless networks, and connected energy-efficient lights.”

Mobility: “The average American driver spends about one hour a day driving, yet cars are only in use 5 percent of the time. Autonomous driving can alleviate this inefficiency and reduce transportation costs. Electric vehicles comprise just 1.3 percent of global auto sales and hybrid electric vehicles. This could grow to more than 30 percent by 2030, reducing pollution and global warming.”

5G and advanced networks: “‘Fifth Generation Wireless,’ or 5G, is a new standard for wireless technology that will dramatically improve network speeds while allowing more devices to connect at once. Technologies such as autonomous vehicles, the Internet of Things, augmented reality, and remote surgery will benefit from 5G’s decreased latency and higher bandwidth.”