Pretoria – The 46th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting kicks off in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, today, under the theme: “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
The theme refers to the ongoing transformation of society and economy, driven by advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, nanotechnology, and other areas of science.
The innovation at the intersections of these disciplines promises to change life in new and unforeseen ways and will affect every industry and society.
“The purpose of our meeting this year is to build a shared understanding of this change, which is essential if we are to shape our collective future in a way that reflects ultimately that the human being should be at the centre,” WEF founder and executive chairman, Klaus Schwab, said on Wednesday.
According to the WEF, learning how humankind can benefit from this so-called revolution, while addressing its challenges, is the central aim of this year’s meeting.
The three-day meeting has attracted more than 2500 participants from more than 100 countries and regions who will discuss ways of attaining inclusive, sustainable growth in an environment marked by continued low inflation, subdued oil and commodity prices, and widespread currency weakness.
In addition, the annual meeting will examine how the unfolding refugee crisis and recent terrorist acts are reminders of how geo-strategic competition, renewed regionalism, and new antagonists are eroding global solidarity.
Over 40 Heads of State and Government and senior officials will be present at the meeting to shed more light on the 2016 global economic prospect.
President Jacob Zuma is leading the South African delegation which includes cabinet ministers and private sector heavyweights.
Team South Africa has indicated that it will use the meeting to attract foreign investment and reiterate that South Africa is a resilient country despite the current difficulties.
They will cite its advanced infrastructure and sound fiscal policies as proof of SA’s resilience.
They will also be raising issues about its challenges and what measures will be taken to address those challenges.