“It’s not a decision making place but it is a place for exchanging ideas and that’s what’s important about it,” Trevor Manuel, a minister in the South African presidency, told CNBC Africa in an interview regarding the importance of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.
One of the themes highlighted at the WEF, Manuel stated, was that of inclusiveness, meaning that the economy is growing once again however too many people are being left behind therefore making this kind of growth unsustainable.
“If I look at the themes this year, they clearly relate to a stock take of what is wrong in the world. If one looks at the theme of inclusiveness, then it recognises that whilst the economy is growing again, too many people are being left behind and there’s no basis to sustain that kind of growth path,” he explained.
This, he added, relates to the fundamental challenge of inequality, another theme discussed at the WEF. Manuel said that while some people become exceedingly wealthy, others are left too poor to afford a basic state of living, making them heavily reliant on state support.
“If one looks at the theme of inequality, it’s a fundamental challenge because some people are getting exceedingly wealthy and too many people are left behind. if one looks at large parts of the world where working poor need state support because they can’t earn enough to do the basics, then there’s something wrong in the world,” he said.
Another issue of importance at WEF, Manuel added, was that of climate change. He explained that South Africa, specifically, are emitting too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and no solution has been found as yet on how to resolve this challenge.
Therefore, lessons and ideas discussed at the WEF meeting are vital so that South Africa can understand what other countries are doing regarding these challenges and then apply it to domestic policy.
“These are very important themes and learning from these discussions equips us to go back to South Africa to talk into the body politic,” he added.
“I think we must take into account what we’ve seen here, what we’ve learnt here and apply it.”