Davos turns its attention to those left behind by globalization: Interview with Mirek Dusek, WEF director

Mirek Dusek, senior WEF director, spoke to Arab News on the eve of the summit to reveal what will be on the agenda at the conference. (Supplied/WEF)
Updated 22 January 2019
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Davos turns its attention to those left behind by globalization: Interview with Mirek Dusek, WEF director

DAVOS: Mirek Dusek, senior WEF director, spoke to Arab News on the eve of the summit to reveal what will be on the agenda.

Q: What are the big themes of Davos 2019?
A: The theme of this year’s event is divided into two parts. One is globalization 4.0 and the other is about creating a new architecture for international cooperation. We believe that the world is entering quickly a new wave of “globalization.”
We have had different waves of globalization in our history and as a result, we have become integrated in terms of economies. We have lifted many people from around the world from poverty, which has led to immense economic growth driven increasingly by trade. But we have missed something, which is really that the rewards of this have not been shared equitably within nations in particular. So many people point to real incomes in the US, for example.
The rewards for the average American from globalization stopped back in the 1980s and 1990s. So while we realize that globalization is the reality around us, we believe we are entering a new wave that is driven by technological advancement.
We see the fourth industrial revolution all around us, so we believe we are gathered at a really important time to think through how we fix some of the shortcomings we have had in the past. The other part is how we can make sure that we equip the institutional framework to deal with this reality. What do we need to tweak around trade? What is needed in terms of consultation around climate change?
How do we make sure we have a functioning system of helping refugees around the world? These are the things high on the agenda that are quite hard to answer, but that does not mean we should ignore them.

Q: Not many Davos attendees are on zero-hour contracts. Given all the inequality we see in developed and emerging economies, is there more cynicism about the practical usefulness of events like these?
A: Back in the 1990s, Professor Schwab had a lot of foresight in publishing a piece exactly about this.
How do you make sure despite all the excitement about that wave of globalization that you do not leave people behind.
We all see that within nations, and they can be very diverse, from developed to emerging markets, there is a sense that some people have been left behind and that is a clear challenge for decision makers to face.
This meeting and the organization overall is really around providing a platform to accelerate positive change. If you take health for example, we’ve been working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
We see our role as a platform for action by not only political leaders where they provide a policy framework, but also by a lot of the development institutions and business to come together and address some of the deficiencies in the system — like when we identified the deficiency around vaccination.

Q: To what extent is the rise in populism we have witnessed worldwide related to the fourth industrial revolution?
A: There have been other industrial revolutions, eras in which we saw rapid technological change — changing the way people organized themselves or how economies were structured — and so there has always been a level of uncertainty over what this change might bring. We have established a network of centers for technology governance. The sole purpose of that is to be on the front foot and enable governments to catch up with the tremendous development of these technologies. We are also looking at the trends in automation and what it may mean for the jobs of the future. We have a whole piece of work looking at the future of jobs. Nobody knows exactly what it will look like but if we look at past industrial revolutions, the adaptation has been quite remarkable.
Humanity has always found ways to cope with the change and you could argue the upside prevailed. But it is important we don’t underestimate this challenge, particularly in policymaking because if governments don’t have the capacity to react or think through these implications, we could be arriving at a reality that is given to us by random developments.

Q: Davos has always been good at presenting the big questions facing humanity, but what about providing measurable answers?
A: The fourth industrial revolution is an area in which we look for outcomes. I don’t want to pre-empt the announcements, but we are launching partnerships with governments to help them with specific issues. We have already worked in Rwanda with a team that does drone regulation — given how important drones are in that country for the delivery of blood, for example. Of course, we have collaboration with governments and businesses on cyber.
The final thing is around our work with peace and reconciliation. We have a track record for providing a platform here for actors who at least want to explore ideas of how to overcome certain fault lines from conflicts around the world.
This year, we are holding a record number of these meetings that we call Davos diplomacy dialogues. For the conflict in Syria, we are having the UN special envoy for Syria come here and hold a meeting. We are also doing dialogues on Venezuela, the Western Balkans and between Russia and Europe.


Saudization to continue brisk pace, pay hikes of professionals in Kingdom highest in region

Updated 5 min 49 sec ago
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Saudization to continue brisk pace, pay hikes of professionals in Kingdom highest in region

  • ‘Saudi national hiring has doubled in 2018 and we expect this trend will continue into 2019’
  • Jobs in Saudi Arabia were up 111 percent year-on-year, the report’s job index noted
DUBAI: The Kingdom’s Saudization scheme will continue its brisk pace with professionals set to receive the highest pay hikes in the Middle East this year, a survey report from recruitment specialist Robert Walters said on Tuesday.
“Saudi national hiring has doubled in 2018 and we expect this trend will continue into 2019,” the survey added, with firms – encouraged by Saudi Arabia’s increase in total spend for the year – looking to hire locals who already have international experience.
The increased career mobility of job candidates, especially in Saudi Arabia, should also bode well for professionals in the Kingdom, according to Robert Walters, with an expected 2 percent increase in their salaries this year.
Middle East salaries meanwhile will rise by 1 per cent on average, the recruitment specialist’s Middle East Salary Survey 2019 said.
Jobs in Saudi Arabia were up 111 percent year-on-year, the report’s job index noted, while jobs in the UAE rose 38 percent over the previous year.
“Saudi Arabia went through a period of huge change, due to the implementation of the Saudi government’s 2030 visionary plan.
“Two years into this plan and we have already seen huge momentum in the recruitment market, with particular focus on the public health sector. As part of this plan, a large part of the population was mobilised for work and for the first time in some regions and sectors, we saw women in the workplace,” Robert Walters said in the report.
Jason Grundy, Robert Walters country head for the Middle East, meanwhile, commented that “The growing demand for nationals will continue to dominate the market as many companies aim to comply with nationalisation legislation. As a result, local market knowledge will be a key differentiator for all professionals across the region,”
“The job market in Saudi Arabia will continue to be busy for government roles; we expect the private sector to follow suit and recover in 2019. Sectors such as IT, manufacturing, logistics, finance, banking and education will be key benefactors.”
Grundy however cautioned job candidates to be wary of quick career moves “to avoid permanent damage to their career prospects.