In a discussion around globalization today it is near impossible to not take notice of the major gap between the "autistic" view of globalization, as reflected by the corporate jargon that has become the hallmark of Davos, and the realities of the simmering disturbances that were protested in Paris on 11 January 2015.
The march in the French capital was an unprecedented mobilization of people standing up to terrorist barbarism, and a strong defense of democratic values against hatred and violent extremism. Regrettably, another world event, the massive slaughters of Baga, in the northeastern Nigeria, did not receive any noticeable media coverage. There was No "I am Baga" or "official statement" to condemn the atrocities which resulted in more than 2000 deaths, a tragic sign that African lives somehow have less value than the lives lost in Europe.
We have now witnessed people marching in the streets, all over the world, claiming to be part of an inclusive society. They have been gathering in dignity, calling upon the elite of the globe for answers, questioning the impotence of that same elite and calling it out on its innate contradictions. They have been using their freedom of speech to make a very a clear, loud and forcible voice heard. They are waiting for true political answers and above all for realistic and efficient actions that will adequately address the challenges of the day.
In studying the agenda of the World Economic Forum in 2015 in Davos, it is evident that, once again, the range of topics and issues are described in the exceedingly technocratic language of business and intellectual elites that is neutral and non-committal. An informed and global citizen cannot help but feel a deep sense of unease that the views expressed there, which have barely evolved over the past decades, are simply perpetuating unrealistic vision of globalization, and one which is divorced from the reality of not only the "Global South" but also the suburbs of Paris. There is little real evidence of mobilization and decisive action to address systemic threats. What is required now is a revised, shared and common vision and roadmap for the future, a powerful new drive to leverage the positive energies of our fragmented globe.
I personally remember a more prospective and visionary ambition for Davos...Davos is, and always has been about being global, it is about being open; Davos is stateless and at the same time it is about all states, convening, as it does leaders from 400 who are invited. The question is how to harness the potential of this assembled cast.
This potential will not emerge if the deliberations are against the backdrop of such incomplete statements like " a new global context." At this moment when we are at the beginning of a deep and highly complex process of global transformation, we are going through a very difficult and painful birth process. We do however, have reasons to hope. Leaders from the South, and the eastern regions of Europe as well, have been changing mindset faster than most of the Northern ones. Youth in the South and in emerging regions are also more dynamic today than their more complacent counterparts in much of the North.
This energy has to be harnessed through education, training, employment and inclusion. Youth has to be put at the core of the future "new global context." Today in fact, new identities and cultures are emerging, shaped by fast mobility, globalization and the progressive merging of the physical and the digital life. Presence and distance, space and time do not have the same meaning and consistency as yesterday. Pedagogy and employment are disrupted. It is still doubtful whether the new growth levers will "deliver" the expected economic growth and financial profits. The collapse of oil prices is a major disruptor. To be honest, the only thing which is certain for the time being is uncertainty and systemic threat: food insecurity, epidemics, wars for the control of energy resources, increasing natural catastrophes, the extension of criminal networks, the exploding tensions between communities.
What we expect and what we need from Davos and from a gathering of such pre-eminent leaders is visible proof of their collective intelligence, of their capacity to innovative and proactive cooperation. We expect leaders to bridge the gaps between North and South, "old" and emerging, elite and peoples. We expect them to drive change.
We would expect and suggest a more "Open" forum about "the new shared society and economy," including participative workshops on the "mutualized management" of the world natural resources and its associated risks. We would want to see an open exchange about bridging ageing societies and young regions and addressing our future through our young populations.
Governments are debt ridden. Many corporations are profitable. Both are impacted by the hopeless of jobless youth. As one example, why couldn't corporations dedicate a percentage of their profits to support and finance vocational training programs like "Train My Generation" presented at the New York Forum AFRICA in Libreville, Gabon? Governments could even taxes incentives like they do in the US for philanthropies.
Indeed, what we are waiting for is a courageous Davos, not one expressed in simply sanitized and cryptic terms, theoretical analysis and empty and non-committal statements about the global economy. It is my hope that this time the World Economic Forum will give birth to a shared vision and a strong will leading to concrete collective actions, that will solve the major issues and threats of the real world. With so many leaders from government and private sector, I can think of no better place than for an innovation, particularly around youth unemployment.