DUBAI: The World Economic Forum (WEF) is to hold a special annual meeting in Singapore next spring, the organization has announced.
The WEF already switched its flagship meeting from its traditional home of Davos in Switzerland this January and had hoped to stage the event in another Swiss town in May.
But the high rates of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection in Europe have forced another change of venue.
“The change in location reflects the forum’s priority of safeguarding the health and safety of participants and the host community. After careful consideration, and in light of the current situation with regard to COVID-19 cases, it was decided that Singapore was best-placed to hold the meeting,” a WEF statement said.
The 2021 event will be the first time it has been held in Asia, and only the second outside Switzerland in the WEF’s 50-year history, after it took place in New York in 2002 as a gesture of support after the terrorist attacks on the US the previous September.
Klaus Schwab, the WEF founder and executive chairman, said: “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.”
Virtually all of the big events on the global forum’s circuit have been cancelled or postponed since the outbreak of the pandemic and the introduction of strict travel rules, with most of them moving to virtual arenas.
Singapore, which has largely kept its borders sealed since the outbreak, has among the lowest rates of infection in the world, and has won praise for its rigorous implementation of health guidelines.