Davos trivia: One very dapper Bhutto, 3 Asian VIPs and an immortal WEF founder

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL January 21, 2023

In light of the media’s mutterings about the shameful lack of a viable succession plan on the part of 84-year-old World Economic Forum (WEF) founder Klaus Schwab, the exchange between Mr Schwab and German chancellor Olaf Scholz is toothsome.

On January 18, Mr Scholz proclaimed to delegates that his successor would be standing on the same stage in 2045 to present Germany as one of the world’s first climate-neutral industrial nations. “Energy supplies in Germany and Europe will then be sourced almost exclusively from green electricity, heat, and hydrogen,” said the chancellor. “We will be moving emission free on our roads and railroads. Our buildings will be energy efficient. Our businesses will be producing on a climate-neutral basis.”

Upon which, Mr Schwab made the following observation: “I just wanted to say, I look forward to chairing the session with your successor.” Scholz responded: “I’m sure you will.”

Mr Schwab would be 106 at WEF 2045, as Politico has noted. Whether or not he makes it, it’s clear he doesn’t intend to be pushed around in the meantime.

An acronym that reflected a recent Davos preoccupation: VIP, which is to say the Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines markets. Funnily enough, it’s been a decade since the VIPs of southeast Asia made the news, as this Korea Times piece from July 2013 shows. Like many talkfests, Davos recycles ideas by the dozen.

Finally, keen-eyed Davos attendees spotted Al Gore partaking of a wholesome meal of steamed bread with beans and tahini paste at South Africa night, even as Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari cut a sharp figure at the same event. Some said Mr Bhutto Zardari was the best-dressed person but it’s not clear if his countrymen would be pleased by their minister’s dapper appearance.

Mr Bhutto Zardari has been criticised for travelling the world too often – more than 20 foreign trips since he took office on April 27 – without a seeming care about Pakistan’s dwindling foreign exchange reserves.