In August 1945, Mao Tse Tung (Mao Zedong) and Zhou Enlai flew from Yan’an to China’s wartime capital, Chongqing, to discuss the relationship between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the KMT Party (Kuomintang) after the Sino-Japan War finished. Accompanied by the US ambassador, Patrick J. Hurley, Mao joined Chiang Kai Shek for dinner on August 27 (10 days after the proclamation of Independence of Indonesia), which was the first meeting between the two Chinese political leaders.
After seven weeks of negotiations, the two sides succeeded in agreeing on a common goal of establishing political democracy in China and placing all of China’s armed forces under Chiang Kai Shek’s command. However, throughout the negotiations, armed contact between the two sides did not stop, in fact it escalated as the CCP troops continued to be attacked on both sides, north and south of the Yangtze river.
Mao finally returned to Yan’an on October 11, 1945, followed by a joint statement issued by the CCP and KMT after that, which is now known as the “Double Tenth Agreement.” In the agreement, the CCP and KMT recognized each other. The two sides planned to form a coalition government. Although the purpose of the collective agreement is actually only to avoid the continuation of the civil war. Unfortunately, the nationalist government under Chiang Kai Shek refused to recognize areas that had been controlled by the CCP.
Over time, Chiang began to be unsure of the merits of the joint statement. According to him, a military solution is the best option. Vice versa. Mao described the joint statement as “a mere scrap of paper.” Mao later told Stalin that civil war was “nearly inevitable.” And by the end of October 1945, it was becoming increasingly clear that the treaty would be short-lived, and that a full-scale civil war would soon resume in 1946.
The failure of the agreement between the CCP and the KMT in late October and early November 1945 made US aware that the communist empire represented by the Stalin regime was no longer an ally like when it defeated Hitler in Europe. Stalin began to spread influence to new countries that US also wanted to control. Throughout the negotiations, it was clear that Stalin was behind Mao, and vice versa, US was behind Chiang, so the deadlock in negotiations would lead to civil war.
US’s belief that the communists would act in the same way in other new countries that in fact wanted to be free from the colonial powers shrunk Uncle Sam’s enthusiasm in supporting the full independence process in new countries, including Indonesia. By November 1945, when it became clear that the communists were on the opposite side of the interests of the allies, US reduced its pressure on the Dutch in Indonesia. US was even very impressed to support the Dutch plan to carry out military aggression to reclaim Indonesia, after Japan declared unconditional surrender and after Soekarno-Hatta proclaimed Indonesia’s independence. US did not budge when Britain carried out a brutal attack in Surabaya on November 10, 1945
US has indeed been ambiguous since Roosevelt came to power in 1933. Roosevelt’s antipathy towards British imperial power combined with the anti-war policies inherited by the Widroow Wilson’s administration prompted him to protractedly plunge himself into the war against Hitler in Europe, despite repeated requests from Churchil. Until finally the Pearl Harbor incident gave a clear sign that US had to step down directly to help Britain and France, plus expel Japan from China. Then after Truman replaced Roosevelt, the spirit of kinetic war was replaced with the spirit of cold war. The anti-communist spirit was increasingly evident (the Truman doctrine) on the part of the allies which weakened US’s enthusiasm to liberate the British and Dutch colonies in Asia.
The US ambiguity made the position of British troops (accompanied by troops from India) more flexible to carry out a brutal attack on the military and people of Surabaya on November 10, 1945, shortly after Mao and Chiang’s negotiations failed in Chongking, when the British wanted to disarm the Japanese and free the troops allies in Surabaya. This brutal and unfair attack, which was greeted with courageous struggle by the Indonesian people in Surabaya, is now commemorated as National Hero’s Day by Indonesia. US showed the same position when the Dutch decided to launch the First and Second Dutch Military Aggressions two years later.
But four years after that, due to the increasingly volatile Indonesian people’s nationalism (anticolonialism), international pressure, and Indonesia’s decision to quell the communist rebellion in Madiun, combined with the increasing threat of Stalin in Europe and Mao’s victory over Chiang Kai Shek in China (Chiang retreat to Taiwan), forcing US to pressure the Netherlands to immediately recognize Indonesia’s independence. On the one hand, US assured Amsterdam that Indonesia would not fall into communist hands. On the other hand, US and its allies did need additional troops to compensate for the additional Soviet troops in East Germany.
Then two months after Mao declared the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Netherlands and Indonesia also reached an agreement at the Round Table Conference on several terms and conditions. The Netherlands recognizes Indonesia’s independence. Meanwhile, the affairs of West Papua will be discussed later. The struggle for independence, the surge of nationalism, and the long geopolitical dialectic did not automatically turn independence into a paradise for the motherland and the people of Indonesia. The dialectic of economics, politics and democracy after the proclamation gave birth to democratic instability and political vulnerability that almost affected all fields. Until finally at the end of the 1950s Soekarno had to declare a presidential decree to end the era of competitive democracy and start the era of guided democracy. This decision finally brought Indonesia into a new chapter a few years later, namely the New Order, after the dark events of 1965 preceded it.
Over the next 32 years, Indonesia moved from guided democracy to the New Order version of democracy, which tended to be very dictatorial. The diffusion parties became two and one Working Group (Golkar). The Berkeley mafia entered the economic arena, controlling Bappenas (National Planning Agency), the Ministry of Finance, and several other ministries. The economy was finally booming because of the support of a fairly measurable economic planning and because it benefited from the Oil Booming era in the 1970s. Suharto “half-heartedly” tried to follow the “Developmental State” style (to borrow Prof. Chalmers Johnson’s term) applied in Japan.
As a result, the development that was rife with corruption, collusion, and nepotism where the oligarchs (Jeffrey Winter called them sultanic oligarchs) was successfully tamed under the command of the five-star general, Suharto. But compared to Mao (1949-1976), Suharto was considered successful in transforming Indonesia’s economy significantly. When Suharto succeeded in taking power from Sukarno, China was facing a famine due to Mao Tse Tung’s Great Leap Forward policy. It did not stop there, the suffering was getting worse when Mao launched the Cultural Revolution. China only began to turn things around after Mao died and Deng Xiaoping, who succeeded him, launched an open-door policy after 1978.
China had a dark history in 1989, eleven years since Deng came to power, as the transition to economic liberalism stalled politically after Hu Yaobang’s death that coincided with high inflation, peaking at 28 percent. We know it as the Tianamen incident or the “Tianamen Square Massacre,” where the riots ended with the bloodshed of students and demonstrators. Deng unhesitatingly ordered the then mayor of Shanghai, Jiang Zemin, to end the demonstration with tanks belonging to the People’s Liberation Army, April 15, 1989.
This incident became a wake-up call for China to tighten its political belt, prepare a strong political infrastructure before carrying out economic liberalization, so that the Party does not collapse. And two years later, China realized it was right. Because on the other hand, the Soviet Communist Party collapsed in 1991 while trying to push for economic and political liberalization at the same time. China is increasingly convinced that there will be political repercussions if the economy opens immediately. Therefore, China took a middle path, gradual economic liberalization, which was restarted after Deng Xiaoping’s tour of southern China (known as Deng’s southern tour) which finalized the status of Special Economic Zones in Shenzhen, Jhuhai, Goungzhou, and others.
But long before China experienced a political shock over its economic liberalization, Indonesia was first visited by a political shock over its investment liberalization policy, namely the events on January 15, 1974 (Malari), which resulted in riots. Just like the Chinese Communist Party, the New Order tightened political belts, thrashing demonstrators to death. The Chinese Communist Party survived, the New Order did too. Suharto could not be shaken at that time. What happened even seven months later, on August 9, 1974, was the American president who resigned from his post, Richard Nixon, because he was stung by the Watergate case.
However, in 1997-1998, the hegemony of the New Order and “Pak Harto” was no longer able to withstand the turmoil of rejection. The New Order ended and was replaced by an era of reform that continues to this day. From Habibie to Gus Dur. After Gus Dur was subdued, Megawati ascended the throne. Then, the era of competitive electoral democracy began after the election of SBY (Susilo Bambang Yudoyono) as the first president via direct election. But, the replacement of the New Order with the Reformation Order did not necessarily change the character of Indonesia’s political economy. The oligarchs who switched from Suharto’s monolithic power to the era of political free markets have slowly changed the face of the reformed political economy to become very “oligarchic,” as Indonesians feel today.
Indonesia Economic growth that is fairly good is not too evenly distributed. According to Thomas Pikety’s formulation, Indonesia’s “return on investment” is much higher than economic growth (r > g). The annual increase in the JCI (IHSG) is far above the economic growth rate so that the wealth of the owners of capital doubles. As a result, less attention is paid to equality and welfare. Meanwhile, China, which had not yet opened its financial market at that time, was barely affected by the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Since 1992 (Deng’s southern tour), China has accelerated with impressive economic growth figures. Indonesia has been shifting from a “Pancasila economy” to a “Pancasila oligarchy” which is not only in the economic sector, but has also penetrated into important seats in Jokowi’s cabinet. While China can still enjoy the delicious Red Capitalism-style economic cake, even though it has been begining to be overshadowed by stagnation
But, China deserves to be proud of being able to lift hundreds of millions of its people above the poverty line. China began to focus on economic liberalization with high growth ambitions several years behind Indonesia. China also moved its capital city. Once in Chongqing, Najing, then to Beiping (Beijing). But that’s not what made China successful as we see it today. None of the studies on China’s economic transformation have cited the relocation of the capital as the trigger. I have never come across such a study. Therefore, to catch up with China, I believe moving the Indonesia capital is not one of the strategies.
China and the Indo Pacific Economic Framework
The Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) signed by a total of 13 countries, on May 23, 2022, in Tokyo is being dubbed by many as a means of checking China’s economic clout in Asia and sending out a message that the US is keen to bolster economic ties with its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific.
Many Chinese analysts themselves have referred to the IPEF as ‘Economic NATO’. China has also been uncomfortable with the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) which consists of US, Australia, Japan and India , and has referred to Quad as an ‘Asian NATO’ – though members of the grouping have categorically denied that Quad is an ‘Asian NATO’.
Countries which joined the US led IPEF are Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. These countries together account for 40% of the global GDP. The four key pillars of the IPEF framework are; supply-chain resilience; clean energy, decarbonisation and infrastructure; taxation and anti-corruption; and fair and resilient trade.
While launching the plan, US President, Joe Biden said:
‘We’re here today for one simple purpose: the future of the 21st Century economy is going to be largely written in the Indo-Pacific. Our region,’
US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo while commenting on the IPEF said that it was important because it provided Asian countries an alternative to China’s economic model.
A few points need to be borne in mind. First, many of the countries — Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam – which have signed the IPEF are also part of the 15 nation Region Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement of which China is a key driver (Indonesia, Phillipines and Myanmar have not ratified RCEP). RCEP accounts for 30% of the world’s GDP. Trade between China and other member countries has witnessed a significant rise, year on year in Q1 of 2022.
Second, many of the countries, which are part of the IPEF, have repeatedly said that they would not like to choose between China and US. The Singapore PM, Lee Hsien Loong who was amongst the first to hail the IPEF, has emphatically stated this point on a number of occasions. In an interview to Nikkei Asian Review on May 20, 2022, Lee Hsien Loong reiterated this point. In fact, Lee Hsien Loong even pitched for making China a part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Partnership for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) (TPP the precursor to the CPTPP was a brain child of the US). Said the Singapore PM:
‘We welcome China to join the CPTPP,’.
Here it would be pertinent to point out, that China had submitted an application for joining the CPTPPIN September 2021. In the interview, Lee Hsieng Loong did state that countries in Asia needed to have good relations with US, Japan and Europe.
Indonesia’s Trade Minister Muhammad Lutfi who attended the signing of the IPEF on behalf of the President Joko Widodo stated that he did not want to see IPEF as a tool to contain other countries.
One of the reasons why many countries are skeptical about the IPEF is the fact that it does not have any trade component. A number of ASEAN member states have pointed to the IPEF making no mention of tariffs and market access as one of its major draw backs. At the US-ASEAN Summit, held earlier this month Malaysian Foreign Minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob had referred to this point. Like many other countries, Malaysia has welcomed the IPEF, but in the immediate future sees RCEP as a far greater opportunity.
US President Joe Biden has not deviated significantly from the policies of his predecessor, Donald Trump, with regard to trade and the US is unlikely to return to the CPTPP at least in the immediate future. Biden and Senior officials in his administration have spoken about the need to check China’s growing economic influence, specifically in Asia, and to provide an alternative model. While the US along with some of its Indo Pacific partners has taken some steps in this direction (only recently, leaders of Quad countries during their meeting at Tokyo announced that they would spend USD 50 billion, in infrastructural aid and investment, in the Indo Pacific.
Given his low approval ratings, and diminishing political capital it is unlikely that he is likely to change his approach towards trade significantly. US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the TPP was ‘fragile’, and that there was no domestic support for the same.
In conclusion, while the IPEF does have symbolic importance it is important to bear in mind that many signatories themselves have close economic relations with China and would not like to get trapped in competition between US and China. Unless the US re-examines its approach towards trade, which is highly unlikely, and unless countries which are part of the Indo-Pacific vision are able to strengthen economic cooperation, China is likely to dominate Asia’s economic landscape – even though there is growing skepticism with regard to the same.
World Leaders Pledge to Fight for Freedom and Values with History at a Turning Point
World leaders came together at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022 against a backdrop of deepening global frictions and fractures and a once-in-a-century pandemic.
On Monday, President Zelenskyy addressed participants live from Kyiv. He said that the words “turning point” have “become more than just a rhetorical figure of speech” and emphasized that “values must matter”.
The war in Ukraine has created immense human suffering. And the wider impacts of the conflict are being felt around the world.
The World Economic Forum called for a “Marshall Plan” for the reconstruction of Ukraine. “In Davos, our solidarity is foremost with the people suffering from the atrocities of this war,” said Klaus Schwab, the Forum’s Founder and Executive Chairman.
The Special Dialogue on Ukraine session brought together 70 global CEOs alongside the Prime Minister of Ukraine (who joined virtually), with the President of the European Commission, the Foreign Minister of Ukraine and the First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine at Davos in person, alongside other dignitaries. CEOs offered concrete ways of how their companies can support the Ukraine government and its private sector in the reconstruction of Ukraine now, rather than waiting for the war to end.
The World Economic Forum offered its support in this endeavour, advancing discussions on new partnerships and market-driven solutions to enable a scaled up response to the humanitarian situation in Ukraine and other global crises.
Meeting in person after a two-year hiatus, there were over 450 sessions at the meeting, which brought together 2,500 leaders and experts from around the world, including 300 government leaders and 50 heads of state. It was a critical opportunity to foster stronger global and regional cooperation to restore stability and create real impact.
Nature and climate
The energy crisis, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, must not deepen the world’s dependence on climate-warming fossil fuels. During the week, there was a focus on accelerating clean energy and climate solutions:
More than 50 companies have now joined the First Movers Coalition, which was launched by US President Biden and the World Economic Forum at COP26 to decarbonize the heavy industry and long-distance transport sectors – the sectors responsible for 30% of global emissions.
This week at Davos, John Kerry, the United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, joined these companies in sending a powerful market signal to commercialize zero-carbon technology. Their market cap represents about $8.5 trillion across five continents and they are making unprecedented advance purchase commitments by 2030.
Eight new countries have joined the First Movers Coalition as government partners – Denmark, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, Singapore, Sweden and the UK. All are committed to create early markets for clean technologies. Alongside the United States, there are nine committed government partners.
Some 70+ CEOs of the CEO Climate Leaders Alliance – the largest CEO-led climate action group globally – agreed on taking bold action to translate pledges into tangible emission reductions in line with 1.5C. Covering 26 countries and 12 industries and representing 120 companies in total, the alliance has a combined annual emission footprint greater than India or the EU.
CEOs agreed to push for progress on critical 2030 and 2050 global climate targets, mobilizing dialogue between governments and the private sector to deliver a successful outcome at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh.
China’s Special Envoy for Climate Change Xie Zhenhua announced his country’s contribution to plant and conserve 70 billion trees by 2030. The World Economic Forum and China Green Foundation will undertake concrete measures together through 1t.org China Action to support the fulfilment of China’s contribution.
A new $15 million investment over five years was announced to support entrepreneurs who can drive innovation in freshwater resource management – the initiative will be hosted by our UpLink platform.
CEOs also held dialogues with regional climate envoys, COP26, COP27 and COP28 leadership to make progress on global climate policies, including the importance of setting a global price on carbon and other key policy measures to fast-track the transition.
Youth activist Elizabeth Watuthi spoke on Safeguarding our People and Planet, sharing the local perspective and direct impacts of climate change in vulnerable communities, and youth climate activist Vanessa Nakate, speaking at the Staying on Course for Climate Action session, said: “When we talk about climate change we’re also talking about food security. It’s really important to understand the intersections of this crisis.”
The Forum’s Global New Mobility Coalition is launching the Urban Mobility Scorecards initiative. Over 30 companies, such as Visa, Hyundai, Uber, Volta Trucks and TIER, will work with policy-makers from cities and regions to better understand challenges and solutions to create a shared, connected and decarbonized mobility ecosystem.
A new Global Commission on the Economics of Water was launched to redefine the way we value and incorporate water into economic decision-making. It is led by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization; Mariana Mazzucato, Founding Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose; Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister of the Government of Singapore; and Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
The Forum’s Chief Economists Outlook report warned of “dire human consequences” from the fragmentation of the global economy. It said that developing economies face trade-offs between the risks of debt crisis and securing food and fuel. The rising cost of living hits the world’s poorest communities hardest. The Ukraine conflict has exacerbated already fragile energy and food systems. Co-investment by the public and private sector is critical to restarting a new era of growth, one that integrates inclusion and sustainability at its core rather than an afterthought, and is the best way forward for shared prosperity.
A leading group of CEOs, ministers and academic experts agreed on the roadmap for the Market Creators Alliance to develop fairer principles for governments, businesses and public-private partnerships on innovation and industrial development. This will be launched later this year.
Four Futures for Economic Globalization: Scenarios and Their Implications outlines how the nature of globalization may shift as economic powers choose between fragmentation or integration in both the physical and virtual dimensions of the world economy.
The Government of Rwanda and the United Arab Emirates announced that they are joining the Food Action Alliance for driving food systems transformation. They are part of a growing group of first-mover countries. The new partnership will harness innovation to accelerate country goals on food security and nutrition, inclusive growth, sustainability and climate resilience, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Work, wages and job creation
The Jobs Consortium, a group of public and private sector leaders focused on investment in the jobs of tomorrow, held their inaugural meeting in Davos to drive a global recovery and investment agenda for the next two years. They aim to create growth in the jobs of tomorrow, new standards in the workplace and better wages for all, focusing on social, green and tech jobs as the high-growth, job-creating sector of the future.
Over 6 million refugees have left Ukraine to other countries since February, adding to the estimated 31 million people worldwide forcibly displaced across borders. The Refugee Employment and Employability Initiative was launched, a coalition of chief human resources officers from over 140 organizations who support the integration of Ukrainian refugees in Europe. This will pilot its work supporting learning and job opportunities for Ukrainian refugees in Europe in its first phase – aiming to expand to other regions of the world in the future.
Education and skills
The Reskilling Revolution initiative, launched at the Annual Meeting in 2020, has now mobilized a community of over 50 CEOs, 350 organizations and 15 countries all working towards a vision of giving 1 billion people better education, reskilling and upskilling. A network of country accelerators in Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Georgia, Greece, India, Oman, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, with support from Denmark, Finland, Singapore and Switzerland, and a consortium of the largest online learning platforms are working together.
The initiative will now expand beyond adult learning to add a focus on education for children and youth. These efforts will be taken forward by a new Education 4.0 Alliance, bringing together 20 leading education organizations, and Bangladesh has become the first country to adopt the education accelerator model in Davos.
A new report, Catalysing Education 4.0 Investing in the Future of Learning for a Human-Centric Recovery, focuses on preparing today’s generation of school-age children with better collaborative problem-solving that could add $2.54 trillion – over $3,000 per school-age child – from this one skill alone.
Diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice
The Gender Parity Accelerators are a global network of national public-private collaboration platforms working to close existing gender gaps and reshape gender parity for the future. This year two G20 countries, Mexico and Japan, will initiate Gender Parity Accelerators in the coming months.
The Valuable 500 initiative announced a unique mentorship programme – Generation Valuable – for people with disabilities to build the future executive leadership, driving disability inclusion by revolutionizing the boardrooms of tomorrow.
The Edison Alliance launched a new programme to speed up digital inclusion in the life-critical sectors of health, education and finance. It launched a new network of “lighthouse countries”, including Bahrain, Bangladesh and Rwanda, working with the UN Development Programme to further the alliance’s 1 billion lives vision of providing people with affordable, digital solutions by 2025.
Trade and supply chains
Business and government leaders highlighted the potential of trade facilitation, finance and trade technology to tackle supply chain barriers. Trade ministers gathered in Davos to hear from business and civil society and prepare for next month’s World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference. Leaders called for diversifying trade and investment relationships to bolster development and support common values. Indigenous and labour leaders called for inclusive outcomes from trade. Food security was high on the agenda.
The World Investment for Development Alliance was launched together with OECD Secretary-General Matthias Cormann, the World Bank, UNCTAD and other partners, to increase collaboration in addressing investment policy and practice.
The Forum’s Platform for Trade and Investment, together with the Digital Cooperation Organization, launched a Digital FDI initiative to support investment in the digital economy in developing economies.
The World Economic Forum convened Friends of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, a group of heads of state and business leaders, which advanced a framework on how public-private partnerships can support the implementation of the AfCFTA.
Global supply chain disruptions make it harder to reach children with life-saving supplies. This week UNICEF co-signed an extended charter with the World Economic Forum and 16 logistics leaders to prioritize support for humanitarian supply transports.
COVAX the multilateral initiative aimed at ensuring equitable access to life-saving COVID-19 vaccines was conceived in Davos two years ago. In the past seven days it has shipped its 1.5 billionth dose.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused enormous disruptions to healthcare – reversals in testing and treatment of life-threatening diseases. Crucial steps have been taken to help counteract these setbacks. These include:
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria announced its first pledge from the private sector in Davos. It has raised a third of the $18 billion needed to reverse setbacks caused by the pandemic.
Building on recommendations developed in partnership with the European Union COVID-19 lung cancer taskforce, the Forum, together with the Lung Ambition Alliance, launched the Global Lung Cancer Collaboration to bring together organizations in healthcare delivery, research, diagnostics, biopharma, patient advocacy and non-governmental organizations to facilitate greater collaboration and solutions to eliminate lung cancer as a leading cause of death.
An Accord for a Healthier World was launched at Davos by Pfizer this week, providing all its current and future patent-protected medicines and vaccines available in the US or EU on a not-for-profit basis to 45 lower-income countries. Pfizer called on global health leaders and organizations to join the accord, bringing their expertise and resources to close the health equity gap and help create a healthier world for 1.2 billion people. Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda are the first five countries to commit to join the accord. Health officials in these countries will help identify and resolve hurdles beyond supply to inform the roll-out in all 45 lower-income countries.
The World Economic Forum’s Platform for Health and Healthcare signed an MoU with Saudi Arabia in support of the Global Coalition for Value in Healthcare. This partnership will increase collaborative efforts to build a global healthcare movement on value-based health systems and people-centred care, alongside global government policy-makers, industry and academia through accelerating public-private partnerships.
The World Economic Forum unveiled the concept of a Global Collaboration Village, a major initiative to harness the potential of the metaverse to create a place where international cooperation can be strengthened.
The Defining and Building the Metaverse initiative was launched bringing together key stakeholders to define and build the parameters of an economically viable, interoperable, safe and inclusive metaverse.
The Global Coalition for Digital Safety has committed to developing emergency protocols for protecting digital safety during wars, particularly to tackle online exploitation and abuse, violent extremist and terrorist content, and mis- and disinformation. This will complement the broader work of the coalition to make the internet safer by tackling harmful content and conduct online.
The Annual Meeting hosted its first public panel on Unlocking Quantum, with leaders committing to focus on how technologies and deeper analytics could transform decarbonization and accelerate the fight against climate change. They will work with Qlimate, Volkswagen and the Netherlands government on identifying and scaling solutions.
Malaysia’s Finance Minister announced his country will be the first location for a Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) in the ASEAN region. And, the Dubai Future Foundation, with support from the Government of UAE, has signed a collaboration agreement to continue the operations of C4IR UAE. The centre will focus on blockchain, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies.
Samantha Cristoforetti became the first astronaut to join the Annual Meeting live from space aboard the International Space Station, orbiting the planet at 17,500 miles an hour. The Live from Space session looked at how government and business can collaborate to ensure that space exploration benefits people and the planet.
In a closing address, Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of Germany, called for “a sustainable, resilient globalization which uses natural resources sparingly and, above all, takes the needs of future generations into account”, adding that a new approach to globalization would be “based on solidarity which benefits all citizens – in all parts of the world.”
Reskilling Revolution: Leaders Preparing 1 Billion People for Tomorrow’s Economy
Investing broadly in the skills of the future for both today’s and tomorrow’s next-generation workforce could add an additional $8.3 trillion in increased productivity to the global economy by 2030.
The Reskilling Revolution initiative, a coalition of 50 CEOs, 25 ministers and 350 organizations committed to realizing these gains for their economies, societies and organizations, marked two years of progress at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022 in Davos today. Their work will benefit over 100 million workers on their journey towards reaching 1 billion people by 2030 with better education, skills and economic opportunity.
Accelerating the Reskilling Revolution
Global inequities in lifelong learning and childhood education, a pandemic that closed schools and workplaces and rapid technological change are highlighting the need to double down on reskilling, upskilling and the future of learning. The Reskilling Revolution initiative, launched at the World Economic Forum’s 50th Annual Meeting in January 2020, is working to provide 1 billion people with better education, skills and economic opportunity by 2030.
At its heart is a commitment from over 50 CEOs to inspire global business leadership on the upskilling, reskilling and human capital investment agenda. By working together with a growing network of national-level country accelerators launched to date in 12 countries – Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Georgia, Greece, India, Oman, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, with knowledge support from Denmark, Finland, Singapore and Switzerland – the Reskilling Revolution has mobilized a multistakeholder community of over 350 organizations across 12 countries and is on track to benefit 100 million people on its journey towards 1 billion.
“In an era of multiple disruptions to the labour market – the pandemic, supply chain changes, the green transition, technological transformation – the one ‘no regret’ investment all governments and business can make is in education, reskilling and upskilling. It is the best pathway to expanding opportunity, enhancing social mobility and accelerating future growth,” said Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director, World Economic Forum.
Enabling Education 4.0
Two years into its work the initiative will expand beyond adult reskilling and upskilling and integrate a focus on education for children and youth. These efforts will be taken forward by a new Education 4.0 Alliance, bringing together 20 leading education organizations at the Forum’s Annual Meeting 2022.
A new report from the project, Catalysing Education 4.0 Investing in the Future of Learning for a Human-Centric Recovery, focuses on preparing today’s generation of school-age children with better collaborative problem-solving that could add $2.54 trillion – over $3,000 per school-age child – from this one skill alone.
The report, developed with support from the LEGO Foundation and in consultation with leading education experts from the public, private and educational sectors, finds that investment in the skills of the future for primary and secondary school learners would create an additional $489 billion in Europe, $458 billion in South Asia, $333 billion in East Asia, $332 billion in Latin America, $266 billion in the Middle East, $235 billion in North America, $179 billion in sub-Saharan Africa, and $163 billion in Central Asia.
Meanwhile, China ($356 billion), the United States ($218 billion), Brazil ($143 billion), Mexico ($80 billion) and Italy ($72 billion) are the five countries standing to gain the most, while the benefits relative to the size of their economies today would be greatest in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.
To unlock this education transformation, the Education 4.0 initiative will focus on three key investment areas: new assessment mechanisms; adoption of new learning technologies; and empowerment of the teaching workforce.
Expanding the Accelerator network
Complementing the Skills Accelerators, the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting also featured the official launch of the first school-age focused Education 4.0 Accelerator, a national-level public-private collaboration platform for action. The Education Accelerators – complementing a network of successful Closing the Skills Gap Accelerators – aim to mainstream technology-enhanced learning experiences, implement new measurement mechanisms, empower educators and mobilize investment in the sector.
Bangladesh will be the first country to pioneer this new model in Asia. Dipu Moni, Minister of Education, Bangladesh, said: “Bangladesh is committed to ensuring high-quality education for all children and youth. We are delighted to partner with the World Economic Forum to launch the first Education Accelerator in South Asia and to be part of this global network to advance the Education 4.0 agenda.”
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