CAPITAL PRAXIS: The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum opened in Davos yesterday amid growing concern over the global economy, developments in Iraq and continuing transatlantic tension.
Over five days 2,250 delegates -- including 20 heads of states -- from 96 countries will participate in workshops and seminars, some of them aired on international TV channels. Topics set to be debated include the growing role of China in the global economy, the changing face of the European Union and the impact of America's new leadership. Participants will also discuss political and economic developments in the Middle East.
French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and South African President Thabo Mbeki will all attend. Egypt has sent two delegations to the event. The government delegation is led by Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, who will deliver a speech on behalf of President Hosni Mubarak. The second delegation, representing the ruling National Democratic Party, is headed by Gamal Mubarak.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres are both planning to be in Davos, though Arab states will have a lower than average profile. Arab League Secretary- General Amr Moussa and Bahraini Crown Prince Salman Ben Hamad will be among the highest ranking Arab officials attending. Kuwait's first ever delegation to Davos will be headed by its minister of energy while Saudi Arabian participation, comprising mostly business leaders, also includes the kingdom's first ever female member of an official delegation.