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27 Jan, 2010 19:19

Top business leaders meet in Davos to tackle pressing issues

Global business and political leaders are meeting in Davos on Wednesday to discuss the most urgent issues facing the world. Financial reform, global poverty and Haiti reconstruction are on the agenda.

This year will be the 40th anniversary of the meeting, organized by the World Economic Forum and held in the renowned resort in the Swiss Alps.

Despite the gloom of recent years, interest in coming to Davos has not waned. More than 2,500 opinion formers from business, government, academia and culture are descending on the resort town.

In a world still reeling from the financial meltdown, reform seems to dominate the talks and “Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild” is the event’s slogan.

When we look at the crisis, we realize that this really asks for not just ‘get out of it and start over again’. It is clear now that if we would do that, we’ll have our next crisis in four or five years down the road, and it is probably going to be bigger than the one we had,” says Andre Schneider, WEF CEO.

There remains plenty to reform – from the banking sector and the financial markets to managing global poverty and climate change. Hundreds of working sessions will cover a great number of topics ranging from financing low-carbon growth to space research. The organizers admit that Davos is not designed to produce solutions, but to bring business leaders and politicians together to generate ideas.

The main purpose is to learn from each other, to show that Russia is doing well and that foreign investors can come in and feel comfortable in Russia” says Kirill Dmitriev, President of Icon Private Equity.

Other delegates have come to learn, and to make a difference.

My objective is to find out from people who are much brighter than me what their opinion is of the world economy and what they think the solutions are,” says Vice President of Forbes Magazine, Robert L. Forbes.

Plans for the reconstruction of Haiti, pulverized by the recent earthquake, are also expected to dominate the talks.

I just got a special agenda that [is being released] right now, related to [Haiti],” Andy Freire, CEO and Chairman of Axialent said.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy is opening the meeting. Most top companies have sent their heads to the event, some of which will include Google chief executive Eric Schmidt and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.