Xi, Modi expected for ‘virtual’ Davos in era of pandemic

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GENEVA (AP) — Organizers of the World Economic Forum are expecting leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa for a virtual gathering next week — after COVID-19 canceled the annual in-person event of Davos, Switzerland.

Forum founder Klaus Schwab said the aim of the virtual Davos Agenda week meeting starting Jan. 25 is to restore trust and engage all stakeholders in business, government, civil society and beyond to help build a “more peaceful and prosperous post-corona era.”

The event runs throughout the week with daily themes on subjects like economic systems, responsible growth, cooperation and the harnessing of technologies in the 4th Industrial Revolution – a common theme at Davos events.

Borge Brende, the forum president, said Xi and Modi will be joined also by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and South Korean President Moon Jae-in for the event, and such leaders will consider “the role that Asia will play in the recovery.”

Others expected include Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, French President Emmanuel Macron and President Ivan Duque of Colombia.

Exceptionally this year, forum organizers are planning to hold the annual event that draws thousands of elites in-person this spring in Singapore.

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