Davos

Courtesy of FastFT:

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani is giving a high-profile keynote address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday. Read more

By Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive Save the Children

The world has a habit of kicking off while Davis convenes and in past years I’ve been dismayed at the way the formal agenda carried on seemingly obliviously, for example when the so called Arab Spring began. Granted there’s been plenty of advance warning, but this year the Syria crisis is firmly on the agenda. From off the record discussions about the peace talks, to simulations of what it’s like to be a Syrian refugee, to press briefings on the need for humanitarian access. A startling combination of aid agencies and global financiers such as George Soros are collaborating to get attention to the impact on ordinary Syrian families caught up in the fighting, and call for aid to be allowed through and an end to the targeting of schools, hospitals and highly populated areas.

By Lindsay Whipp

We launch into day two of the World Economic Forum with a grim backdrop of intensifying violence in Ukraine, a state of emergency in Thailand and no progress in the Syria peace talks being held across the country in Montreaux. Read more

Gideon Rachman

(c) WEF

One of the excitements of being a Davos delegate is when you are presented with all your kit at the beginning of the forum, including the distinctive World Economic Forum black shoulder bag. How useful, how prestigious – you think.

However, in my experience, it is a potentially disastrous error actually to use this must-have fashion accessory.

The reason is that there are thousands of other identical bags in circulation. As delegates move in and out of the Congress Centre, and to and from parties – perhaps even consuming alcohol – the potential for confusion is massive.

I witnessed an alarming example of this problem at the party last night to launch the World Post, a new internet based magazine. At the coat-check queue, I encountered an eminent American academic, looking a little flustered. Somebody had made off with her Davos bag, presumably mistaking it for their own hold-all. Worse, the professor’s bag contained her passport, her hotel key and her computer. Under the circumstances, she seemed admirably cool. When I left, she was still rummaging hopelessly among the discarded coats. Read more

By John Gapper

An efficient and functioning internet can boost GDP, partly by enabling small and medium-sized companies to sell and source raw materials more widely, according to a Boston Consulting Group report unveiled at Davos. Read more

FT senior columnist Gillian Tett reports on why business and governments are at loggerheads over where growth will come from, with business saying it is not ready to invest, yet confidence in governments is low.

 Read more

Chris Giles

Chris Giles, economics editor, finds a mood of optimism among economic experts on the first day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, but concerns remain over the strength of the recovery.

 Read more

By Martin Arnold, Banking Editor, in Davos

The first of many debates about China at Davos this year made an unexpectedly hostile debut this morning as Zhang Xin, head of Beijing’s biggest property developer Soho, was put on the spot over the country’s crackdown on corruption.

“Your industry is one of the most corrupt in China,” said moderator Andrew Browne, China editor of the Wall Street Journal, as he asked Ms Zhang to share her views on the issue. Read more

Chris Giles

The West is forever petrified of Chinese and Indian growth that might destroy advanced economy standards of living. Politicians fuel that fear. In the UK, David Cameron, prime minister, talks repeatedly about a “global race” and the need for sacrifices so Britain can succeed in that race. His predecessor Gordon Brown used to repeat one of his favourite statistics that there were 4 million graduates a year coming out of China and India and only 250,000 in the UK.

In a panel on the world of work, business leaders with experience in working in both advanced and emerging markets had a very different story to tell. There was a huge shortage of skilled workers, they all agreed, and a surfeit of unskilled. Emerging economies education systems were not up to scratch and there was still a need for ex pats and a lot of investment in basic education in emerging markets. Read more

Gideon Rachman

This is not the dog in question

I am happy to be here in Davos. The only cloud on the horizon is that the room next door to me at the Hotel Cresta appears to be occupied by a dog. I could hear it barking agitatedly through the walls. The prospects for a good night’s sleep – so vital when you are planning to rub shoulders with world leaders – seem dim. Read more