SINGAPORE - Singapore will host the World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual meeting next May, which will see top political, business and academic leaders gather to discuss pressing global issues.
Announcing its decision to shift the annual forum from Switzerland in view of the Covid-19 situation in Europe, the WEF said last night that the meeting in Singapore "will be the first global leadership event to address worldwide recovery from the pandemic".
The WEF said it decided Singapore was best placed to host the meeting in the light of the current Covid-19 situation worldwide.
Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said on Monday (Dec 7) that the WEF's decision reflects its confidence in the country's management of the Covid-19 pandemic and will also boost the Republic's meetings and conferences sector.
Singapore had two community cases in the past week.
Said WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab: "A global leadership summit is of crucial importance to address how we can recover together.
"The Special Annual Meeting 2021 will be a place for leaders from business, government and civil society to meet in person for the first time since the start of the global pandemic. Public-private cooperation is needed more than ever to rebuild trust and address the fault lines that emerged in 2020."
Hosting the WEF will give a boost to Singapore's meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (Mice) sector and other sectors like hospitality, said MTI.
The annual forum saw about 3,000 participants gather in Davos in January.
It will be held from May 13 to 16 next year, before returning to Davos, Switzerland, in 2022.
The annual forum will - in a first - include a virtual component to allow greater participation amid the Covid-19 pandemic, said MTI.
This is only the second time the WEF meeting will be held outside of Switzerland since it began in 1971, and the first time it will be held in Asia. The 2002 edition was held in New York, to show solidarity with the United States and the people of the city after the Sept 11 terror attacks the year before.
During the usual "Davos week" next year, the forum will hold a virtual event from Jan 25 to 29. It will also host a global technology governance summit in Tokyo in April, said the WEF.
The MTI stressed that the health and safety of the local community and event attendees will be its "foremost priority".
Singapore has successfully rolled out new protocols at large-scale meetings and conferences like the Singapore International Energy Week, it noted. These protocols include on-arrival tests, pre-event and periodic antigen testing, as well as contact tracing.
"All international conferences held in Singapore will similarly adhere to strict public health and safety measures," MTI said.
In a Facebook post last night, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said the WEF's decision "speaks volumes of the international community's trust and confidence in Singapore's handling of the pandemic thus far".
Singapore looks forward to supporting the WEF in its efforts to effect positive change globally via dialogue and engagement, he added.
"May we be a positive example of how to resume economic activities safely and sustainably," Mr Chan said. "Successful execution of such high-level meetings will help re-establish ourselves as a premier global business hub."