• Saturday, April 20, 2024
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World leaders descend on Davos as WEF forum begins


World leaders are converging on Switzerland to join bankers, politicians and other grandees for their annual pilgrimage to the Alps.

The elite group, worth about $500 billion, includes regulars like Bridgewater Associates LP founder Ray Dalio, Blackstone Group Inc. Chairman Steve Schwarzman, JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon and Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote of the Dangote Group.

Billionaires slated to attend hail from at least 36 countries.

They appear on a guest list of more than 2,000 names, representing roughly 100 countries, for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos.

The event retains its enduring status as the premier networking hub for the world’s wealthiest — with its attendant flock of private jets.

“I’ve been going since 1979,” said India’s Rahul Bajaj, who will be making his 40th appearance at the event. “It’s grown a great deal since then but I continue to get a lot out of the meetings, the sessions, the surroundings.”

This year’s theme is “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World,” and panels include “Balancing Domestic and Global Inequality” and “Breaking Legal Barriers to Equality.”

“The World Economic Forum in Davos is the only place of its kind where you can simultaneously meet heads of state, captains of global business and public opinion leaders,” Russian mining magnate Alisher Usmanov, an occasional attendee, said. “It is noteworthy that the forum has remained like this for half a century. This is a unique melting pot of ideas and opportunities.”