The 2016 Annual World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, will take place this year from January 20 to 23, under the theme “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
To the surprise of some, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is among the political leaders who has been invited to attend this year’s World Economic Forum. Tsipras, who will apparently be accompanied by only one of his Ministers, Nikos Pappas, will have the opportunity not only to interact with some of the world’s leading corporate figures and economic gurus, but also to engage in a debate with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on the Eurozone’s future.
Very little, if anything, is ever accomplished at the World Economic Forum in Davos, so there should not be any high expectations insofar as the attainment of any concrete results are concerned that may have a direct bearing on the current economic situation in Greece. Much of the Greek press back home treats Tsipras’ visit to Davos as an opportunity to attract foreign investments in the country, but this is frivolous talk. Serious investors do their homework in advance and do not rely on the circus-like elements of the World Economic Forum to make decisions about where they will invest their funds.
In addition, the Greek PM’s prior attempt to lure investors, when he spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative on September 28, 2015, ended up as a fiasco not only for Tsipras’ image, as he was totally unprepared to address key questions about the Greek economy posed by the former U.S. President himself and his command of the English language, as he made the cardinal sin in the world of diplomacy of opting to speak without the use of an interpreter, was made fun of by most of the Greek and foreign media alike.
Having said that, the Greek economic environment has a long way to go before it becomes a magnet for foreign investments. The Greek public sector is fraught with bureaucratic red tape and inefficiency, and corruption still reigns supreme.
Lest we forget, what Greece also needs is not merely foreign investments, but the kind of investments that will boost growth in the real economy and generate jobs. Investments in the financial sector and real estate provide opportunities for the accumulation of wealth at the top and have very little impact on job creation.
If anything, Tsipras should keep these things in mind when he meets face to face with some of the financial vultures attending this year’s World Economic Forum.
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