Amidst the geopolitical tensions that divided the world in the 1970s, a German economics professor, Klaus Schwab, proposed a radical idea. Deemed as revolutionary then, his visionary theory on ethically responsible “stakeholder capitalism” has since evolved into a fundamental crux, serving as the administrative doctrine for the World Economic Forum. Stakeholder capitalism advocates for businesses to prioritise the interests of all stakeholders, including employees, suppliers, and the community, rather than focusing exclusively on shareholders. It is a form of capitalism that propagates that companies should not only optimise short-term profits for shareholders but also seek long-term value creation.   

Stakeholder capitalism sits at the core of the World Economic Forum, which was established by Klaus Schwab in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation under the supreme guidance of the Swiss Federal Government. Over the years, WEF has evolved into an international organisation for public-private cooperation. Schwab designated Davos, Switzerland, as the WEF Annual Meeting hosting location. The Foundation Member community is made up of 1000 foremost global corporations. The gathering in Davos includes meticulously selected 2000 envoys from politics, global business, civil society, and various cultural domains, including leaders from diverse avenues, encouraging fruitful discourse about the state of the world and collaboratively devising solutions for pressing global concerns. 

The Triumphant Annual Meetings of World Economic Forum since Institution: An Overview 

Over the past five decades since its establishment, the Forum's annual meetings have been critical in addressing problems that have reshaped world history. As the world awaits the 54th edition of the WEF Annual Summit in January 2024, let's reflect on some prominent highlights from the past.  

From shaping the end of the Cold War in 1987 to facilitating peace between the Arab World and the West by resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1976, and from the establishment of the G20 in response to the financial market slowdown in 1998 to spearheading efforts for the onset of the "fourth industrial revolution" in 2016, the WEF has traversed a long path. The journey continued with the launch of the Climate Initiative in 2019, addressing the immediate need for global action amid soaring environmental degradation. Last year's annual meeting focused on a potential “polycrisis” given the rising inflation rates, geopolitical tensions, the increasing cost of living, global decline in human development after ages of progress, and extreme climate change, among other factors. Marking another chapter in the WEF's continued adherence to navigating and addressing global challenges is the upcoming WEF Annual Meet under the theme 'Rebuilding Trust' from January 15-19, 2024.  

A Glimpse into the 54th WEF Annual Meet 

The 54th edition of the WEF Annual Meet brings together representatives from over 100 governments, foremost international organisations, 1000 partner corporations, and luminaries from diverse avenues, encompassing media and more. The meeting is an opportunity for the representatives to convene, synergise efforts and cohesively address pressing issues, demonstrating their eminence. Note that low cooperation, geopolitical tension, and widespread social unrest; the ongoing low-growth decade; the impact of AI in reshaping industries (including quantum computing, 5/6G technology, biotechnology and more) while laying a strong and sustainable foundation to combat climate change and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050; are some strong focal points for the WEF Annual Meet 2024.

India Under the World Economic Forum Spotlight in 2024 

Despite substantial setbacks, including the pandemic, India's bullish economic growth trajectory positions it as a global economic superpower. As Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated at the 2nd edition of Infinity Forum, the country achieved a phenomenal 7.7% GDP in the first half of the current fiscal year, surpassing the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) expectations. This, coupled with anticipations of India becoming a $35-45 Trillion economy by 2047, puts the country under the spotlight at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2024, marking 37 years of the Forum’s collaboration with India.  

India’s stellar presence will be felt across the upcoming summit with three Centres:

  • India Engagement Centre
    This Centre sheds light on the country’s remarkable accomplishments, focusing on the digital public infrastructure landscape, the thriving startup ecosystem, and the expanding energy sector.
  • Experience India Centre
    Highlighting the New India opportunity at the WEF, the Centre delves into the country’s rich culture, emerging technologies reshaping the digital landscape and unrivalled efforts to foster inclusive and sustainable innovation.
  • India Investment Centre
    The primary hub for G2B and B2B networking and interactions, this Centre will host roundtables, sessions, and panels addressing topics of immediate significance.

India’s steadfast commitment to rapid growth positions the country as a global economic superpower and an impressive investment-ready destination, fostering a favourable environment for businesses and investors. While India can leverage international cooperation for accelerated development, the 54th edition of the World Economic Forum is a supreme opportunity for the country to showcase its dominion in resolving challenges at the global forefront. 

Learn more about the WEF Annual Meet and explore the India opportunity: 


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