In recent times, India has occupied centre stage on the action agenda of every major multinational company in the world. Much of this credit can be attributed to the three decade long partnership between the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The picturesque Swiss town of Davos, cradled by the snow-capped Alps, would come alive with activity once again as the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting celebrates its 48th year in 2018. Keeping in mind the ever-changing global context and the subsequent wide ranging political, economic and social consequences, the agenda for this year’s meeting is aptly titled “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”.

This is indeed a special occasion for India, with the Hon. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi expected to attend the meeting for the very first time. During his visit, the Prime Minister will deliver the keynote speech at the plenary session of the WEF on 23 January, 2018.

One of the highlights in the meeting would be the Indian presence, which is set to be the largest-ever with top government officials and 100 CEOs among the participants. The Indian presence at Davos has been marked by WEF’s strong and long-standing partnership with CII, its Indian collaborator. CII has been coordinating WEF activities since 1985. This year, the WEF-CII association completes 33 years. CII hosts a number of knowledge and networking events at Davos each year, which serve to accentuate the Indian economic growth story and highlight emerging opportunities.

Traditionally, the Davos meetings include India Breakfast Sessions with key corporates, which are excellent opportunities for connectivity between Indian industry and global business interested in India. The sessions also provide a platform for discussions and idea generation. This time around, CII would be holding three such breakfasts, each with the participation of top Indian Government and state government leaders.

The first of these Breakfast Sessions would be held on 23 January, in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers. The theme for the session is “Industrial Corridors in India – Demand-led Planning and Financing”. To provide a stimulus to industrial development, the Government identified five industrial corridor projects across India, with manufacturing as a key growth driver in each of these projects. Under the Make in India Programme, the Government intends to increase the share of manufacturing to 25% of GDP and these projects are seen as critical for reaching this goal. With the perspective planning of the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) completed and the Government announcement for establishing the corridor between Delhi and Mumbai covering an overall length of 1483 km, it is bound to occupy a central place in the discussions.

The second Breakfast Session, to be held in collaboration with Deloitte, is scheduled on 24 January and the theme is “Demographic advantage and skills opportunity in India”. With India expected to have the world’s largest young workforce by 2027, with more than 65% of the population belonging to the working age group, the time is ripe for the country to take advantage of its rich demographic dividend and enhance its growth and supply of skilled manpower, both locally as well as globally.

The third Breakfast Session would be held on 25 January, in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group. Greater integration of world markets along with recovery of global markets have led to higher global growth and higher growth projections for many economies, including India. The World Bank expects Indian growth rate at 7.3% during 2018-19 and has cited India as a country with ‘enormous growth potential’, compared to other emerging economies. In this context, the theme for the third breakfast session is on “Economics and Growth in the New Globalized World”.

Apart from these interactive knowledge sessions, CII also hosts many other exciting activities, which attract many people including the top delegates and officials. Among these, the Bajaj Group Nightcap would be held on 23 January and the vibrant CII-India Reception would be held on 25 January. The Reception provides an informal setting for those interested in India to meet the top policy makers and movers and shakers of the Indian economy.

The CII activities conclude with the Bollywood Music Nite, a trendy and regular feature of the Davos event, to be held on 25 January which promises to be a fun and entertaining night. Besides these, the India Lounge at Davos, in partnership with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, would be held from 22 to 26 January, a unique platform where Indian and world leaders gather and discuss world perspectives and significant issues on Indian economic development.

The longstanding partnership between the two organizations has brought to the forefront a dynamic new India. Like the many successful WEF-CII meetings held earlier, this year’s Davos meet also promises to be an exciting one and will add to the further strengthening of the partnership between the two organizations.


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