At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017, ministers of G20 countries called on members to continue on the path of inclusive growth, warning against protectionism. “If you want to get more inclusive growth, you need more free trade,” said Wolfgang Schäuble, Federal Minister of Finance of Germany, which holds the G20 presidency. Schäuble added that the G20 should be redoubling efforts to promote inclusive growth as part of free trade.
After years of relentless focus on costs, settlements and regulations, the future of banking is looking brighter, agreed panellists in a session at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. On the regulatory front, the majority predicted a significant paring-back of regulatory regimes such as Dodd-Frank, the Volcker rule and Basel IV.
“In the last few years, progress has slowed down,” said Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Washington DC, adding that gender inequality is not conducive to good inclusive economic growth. According to the Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2016, the slowdown is partly due to chronic imbalances in salaries and labour force participation.
Business leaders at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting agreed that there is an urgent need to restore the compact between business and society, ensuring that companies are responsive and responsible to all their stakeholders. There is a crisis of confidence in leadership, said Jim Hagemann Snabe, Member of the Board of Trustees, World Economic Forum. “We have an opportunity to reinvent how we do business, to refocus our efforts towards ensuring long-term sustainability,” he added.
With its vast workforce, strong growth and expanding purchasing power, South Asia will be the key to reviving global demand, Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry of India, said at a session on Harnessing Regional Cooperation in South Asia at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. “The world cannot afford to ignore the region that will be key to reviving demand,” the minister said.