Singapore to host World Economic Forum in 2021
According to World Economic Forum (WEF) news releases dated 7th December 2020, The World Economic Forum will convene the Special Annual Meeting 2021 in Singapore instead of its traditional home of Switzerland, from 25-28 May. This is only the second time the WEF meeting will be held outside of Switzerland, and this will be the first time the annual conference will be held in Asia.
The World Economic Forum (WEF)
World Economic Forum (WEF), based in Cologny, Geneva Canton, Switzerland, is an international NGO, founded on 24 January 1971. The WEF’s mission is stated as “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas”.
The WEF hosts an invitation-only annual meeting at the end of January in Davos, Switzerland. The meeting brings together some 3,000 business leaders, international political leaders, economists, celebrities and journalists for up to five days to discuss global issues, across 500 sessions.
Annual meeting 2021
This year, faced with the need for new thinking on economic recovery as well as missing data from international organizations amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the WEF has instead turned its focus to the qualities that will empower a country for future economic transformation. It has identified 11 priority areas for governments across four key areas: the enabling environment, human capital, markets, and the innovation ecosystem.
The change in location reflects the Forum’s priority of safeguarding the health and safety of participants and the host community. Switzerland is fighting a surge in infections and had about 54,000 new cases in the last two weeks, almost as many as Singapore has reported since the outbreak began.
Singapore COVID-19 Pandemic Response as a Successful Model Framework
Singapore was chosen because it has a relatively low rate of Covid-19 cases, and has recently started experimenting with modified versions of large-scale conference like the Singapore International Energy Week. These large-scale conferences has successfully rolled out new protocols included on-arrival tests, pre-event and periodic antigen testing, as well as contact tracing.
Singapore brought the virus under control with strict measures, such as implementing a partial lockdown for two months, requiring mask wearing and limiting social gatherings. That’s allowed the economy to gradually re-open since mid-June, with daily cases in the community dwindling to low single digits or even zero, while most new cases are imported.
Singapore as a “role model”
The WEF’s decision to hold its special annual meeting in Singapore in 2021, affirmed Singapore’s ability to provide a safe, neutral and appropriate environment for global leaders to meet, which will also boost Singapore’s major MICE industry and have a positive impact on related industries such as hotel industry.
In 2006 International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank annual meeting, 20,000 delegates converged here for the meetings, which were estimated to have generated S$50 million in tourism receipts with another S$120 million from other events and business opportunities arising out of the main gathering itself.
The greater value is in global leaders seeing Singapore as a safe destination to have a high-level meeting and the reinforcement of Singapore’s global status as a country that can execute such a big event in a very delicate environment.