Trump visit set to eclipse Davos meet

GENEVA: US President Donald Trump’s planned visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos next week will likely eclipse the long list of other movers and shakers set to attend.

The WEF on Tuesday unveiled its lineup for the annual meeting at the luxury Swiss ski resort town, where this year’s focus is on how to create “a shared future in a fractured world.”

“The sheer scale of the challenges our world faces makes concerted, collaborative and integrated action more essential than ever,” WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab said in a statement.

He added that the 48th edition of the Davos meeting would aim “to overcome these fault lines by reasserting shared interests among nations and securing multi stakeholder commitment to renewing social contracts through inclusive growth.”

But ironically this year’s main attraction will be Trump, who is widely blamed for deepening a range of diplomatic rifts and creating new ones with polarising policy and rhetoric.

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Since taking office a year ago, he has doubled down on his “America First” agenda, which stands in stark contrast to the globalisation and regulatory integration popular among the Davos crowd.

The five-day event kicks off Monday and is expected to draw some 3,000 political and business elites, including 70 heads of state and government.

But attention is expected to be focused squarely on Trump, who will be the first sitting US president to attend the meeting since Bill Clinton in 2000.

The White House has said he will be accompanied by a large delegation, including his son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

As something of a counterweight, former US vice president Al Gore and the country’s former top diplomat John Kerry will also be present.

Trump is slated to deliver a keynote address before the end of the meeting on Friday, WEF said.

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This year’s line-up will also be headlined by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will give the opening address on Tuesday, and French President Emmanuel Macron, who is scheduled to address the forum on January 24.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau will attend, as will Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu.

The presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Zimbabwe, Switzerland and the European Commission will be there, along with the kings of Jordan and Spain.

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres will attend, flanked by the heads of the UN agencies for trade, health, labour and human rights, as well as the heads of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The business world will also be well represented, with the leaders of some 1,900 companies expected to be on hand.

The list of Hollywood stars due at Davos this years includes actress Cate Blanchett, among others.

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