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PM joins WEF meeting

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina joined the 47th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) kicked off Tuesday.

The four-day meeting began at Congress Centre in Davos, a mountain resort at Graubunden in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland, under the theme “Responsive and Responsible Leadership”.

President Xi Jinping of China, who was accompanied by the largest delegation of Chinese officials since the country first participated in an annual meeting in 1979, opened the proceedings of the meeting.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina joined the opening plenary and other events of the meeting along with other heads of government and state.

Executive Chairman of the WEF Prof Klaus Schwab invited her to attend the Forum who is the first elected Bangladeshi leader to attend the high profile annual global meeting that draws statesmen, top business leaders and the intelligentsia to discuss crucial global issues.

The 47th edition of the yearly talkfest of rich and powerful began with a welcome address by WEF Founder Klaus Schwab and felicitation of celebrity singer Shakira, among others, for her work towards promoting education, followed by a musical concert by violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. The formal sessions will begin on Wednesday morning and would be opened by Swiss President Doris Leuthard along with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Addressing the proceedings of the meeting, China’s President Xi Jinping said that economic globalization has powered worldwide growth and should not be blamed for the world’s problems. In an attack on the anti-globalization rhetoric that has led to the election of Donald Trump as US president and the Brexit vote in the UK, Xi told a packed audience at the World Economic Forum: “It is true that economic globalization created new problems but this is no justification to write off economic globalization altogether.

“Rather we should adapt to and guide economic globalization, cushion its negative impacts and deliver its benefits for all countries.”

Heads of state and government of 45 countries including Bangladesh, Sweden, Canada, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Peru, Jordan, Egypt and Qatar joined the WEF meeting along with heads of different international bodies like WTO, UNESCO, UNDP, UNCTAD, World Bank, IMF and ADB joined the meeting. In addition to government delegations from over 70 countries, including all G20 nations, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is also participating in the meeting.

The 47th annual meeting of the WEF would focus on five critical leadership challenges in 2017: strengthening global collaboration, restoring a sense of shared identity, revitalising economic growth, reforming capitalism and preparing for the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will join various plenary sessions of the meeting on water economy, sustainable development, regional cooperation, women leadership and their empowerment.

The foreign minister said presidents of South Africa and Mauritius and prime ministers of Norway, Sri Lanka, the Netherlands and Peru and experts will take part in plenary discussions with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Before the opening plenary of the World Economic Forum at the WEF today, Executive Chairman Klaus Schwann called on Sheikh Hasina.

On the sidelines of the forum, Sheikh Hasina had informal interaction with Chinese President Jinping and Swiss President Doris Leuthard today.

The Bangladesh prime minister will join a workshop titled “Shaping a New Water Economy” at the same venue later today.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss nonprofit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva. Recognized by the Swiss authorities as an international body, its mission is cited as “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas”.

The forum is best known for its annual meeting at the end of January in Davos. It brings together some 3,000 top business leaders, international political leaders, selected intellectuals, and journalists for up to four days to discuss the most pressing issues facing the world.

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