MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. left for Davos, Switzerland on Sunday morning to attend the 2023 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) from Jan. 15 to 20, vowing to highlight the Philippines' economic gains and bring home more investment pledges.
In his pre-departure speech, Marcos said the theme for this year’s WEF, “Cooperation in a Fragmented World”, is appropriate because the world came to a standstill because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He vowed to highlight steps being undertaken by the Philippines to “mend the fissures of such fragmentation” within the country and in partnership with other nations.
“Related to this is the need to collectively bolster and reinforce our post-pandemic economic recovery efforts by addressing the challenges we face posed by rising food prices, the impact of conflict in other parts of the world, and the continuing existential threat posed by climate change,” he said.
Marcos said his participation in the WEF Annual Meeting would give him a chance to exchange views on such pressing issues with other government leaders, policymakers, business executives and entrepreneurs, civic society advocates and academic experts.
“The Philippines is also being given a unique opportunity to highlight the significant economic gains we have achieved in the last part of the year as attested to by upward growth projections of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank,” he said.
He said joining the WEF Country Strategy Dialogue would give him an opportunity to promote the Philippines as a “leader”, “driver of growth” and “gateway to the Asia-Pacific region–one that is open for business.”
“I will draw attention to our efforts at building resilient infrastructure that bolsters our efforts to reinforce robust and resilient supply chains, ensure food security including its critical interlinkages with health and nutrition, while furthering climate-friendly, clean and green energy to power the Philippine economy,” Marcos said.
He said he will also share the country’s experience as a model for managing the impact of Covid-19.
“I intend to share our efforts in saving both lives and livelihoods, as well as the people-centered next steps that we are taking to ensure that we are ready to meet the lingering effects of the pandemic and address the occurrence of the next one,” he said.
Marcos also said he looks forward to meeting with various government and business leaders at the WEF and strengthening partnerships.
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Carlos Sorreta earlier said Marcos will also make a "soft launch" of the Philippines' proposed sovereign wealth fund (SWF), otherwise known as the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) which is crucial in boosting the Philippine investments and economic growth.
The House of Representatives on Dec. 15 approved on the third and final reading House Bill 6608 or the MIF bill after being certified as urgent by the President.
Under the proposed measure, the MIF will be financed through pooled funds from state-owned financial institutions and state pension funds.
Marcos will be the only leader of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) who will attend the 2023 Annual Meeting of the WEF.
He will be joined by a Philippine delegation composed of government officials and business leaders on his trip to Davos.
Marcos will be attending the WEF Annual meeting upon the invitation of WEF founder and chair emeritus Klaus Schwab who he met at the sidelines of both the ASEAN and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) meetings in Phnom Penh and Bangkok, respectively in November last year.
This year’s annual meeting of the WEF is the forum’s first in-person gathering since 2020.
The WEF, established in 1971, serves as an international organization for public-private cooperation.
The annual WEF convenes leaders from government, business and civil society to address the state of the world and discuss priorities for the year ahead. (PNA)