Global economic recovery needs closer cooperation

Participants at the 54th annual World Economic Forum expressed optimism in cooperation built on mutual trust and respect for fostering global economic growth, underscoring China's role in driving global economic progress amid challenging times.

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A logo of the World Economic Forum (WEF) is seen in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 19, 2024. The WEF concluded its 2024 annual meeting here on Friday, calling to rebuild trust in the face of global uncertainty. (Xinhua/Lian Yi)

Policymakers and business leaders attending the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) here pin high hope on cooperation based on mutual trust and respect to drive global economic growth.

At the grand party of the world economy, themed “Rebuilding Trust,” participants held their faith that China, as the world’s second-largest economy, plays a pivotal role in global economic growth and will continue to make its important contribution in a turbulent time.

CHALLENGES AHEAD

The outlook for the global economy in 2024 remains foggy. According to the latest Chief Economists Outlook released by the WEF, more than half of chief economists expect the global economy to weaken in the coming year.

The world economy is impeded by factors such as debt crises, high inflation and interest rates, and sluggish trade performance. Instabilities, uncertainties, and unpredictable factors further exacerbate the challenges.

Noting that the forum took place against one of the most complex geopolitical and economic backdrops, WEF President Borge Brende said: “We are seeing a very complicated security landscape and quite a fragile economic outlook.”

“Without growth, you don’t have jobs, you don’t have prosperity, and very often without growth you don’t have peace,” said Ajay Banga, president of the World Bank Group. He warned that the global economy is on track for the worst half-decade of growth in three decades while stressing the critical role of economic growth in shaping the global landscape.

According to the World Economic Outlook released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last October, global growth is expected to average 3.1 percent over the five years between 2024 and 2028, which marks the slowest rate in decades, compared with a historical GDP growth rate of 3.8 percent achieved between 2000 and 2019.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva anticipates a further decline in interest rates throughout 2024 and cautioned that there is no room for policy error.

Policymakers and business leaders are concerned about the aggravation of geopolitical tensions. Persistent conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, coupled with the escalating Red Sea crisis, have provoked worries about rising input costs and potential inflation.

World Trade Organization Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said that “the forecast we had of 3.3 percent is a little too optimistic for this year,” due to the tensions in the Red Sea and the downgrade of global growth.

COOPERATION NEEDED

Attendees at the annual meeting conveyed a shared sentiment that the world today is filled with a strong sense of distrust while cooperation among countries on urgent global issues is increasingly insufficient.

Noting that security, economy, climate change, and cyber are the most urgent issues that countries and companies face, Brende said they are not confined by borders. “They do travel without passports.”

In his concluding remarks on Friday, Brende called for global cooperation to fight the challenges. “In an uncertain and challenging time, one thing is clear: we can shape a more resilient, sustainable and equitable future, but the only way to do so is together.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen shared a similar view and said: “The world is not at a single inflection point; it is at multi-inflection points,” urging countries to “deepen global collaboration more than ever before.”

Georgieva said that collaboration and cooperation are central, and stressed the need to move financial resources from “where they hurt” to “where they help.”

In this landscape of complexity and interconnected challenges, collaboration emerges as the linchpin for success. No organization stands alone in this transformative journey.

Addressing global challenges requires the inclusion of a diverse range of voices. Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen Hassen said “Africa has to play a pivotal role across the globe for multilateralism and in the international arena on trade, on investment, on other economic activities.”

China has always been a staunch supporter of multilateralism. At the forum, the Chinese delegation called for all parties to build a solid foundation of trust and achieve more fruitful cooperation through mutual sincerity and concerted efforts so as to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

CHINA CONTRIBUTION

China has consistently been an active participant in the WEF as the forum has also witnessed the integrated development and mutual achievements of China and the world.

Participants of the forum remain optimistic and confident about the prospects of China’s economy, agreeing that China will continue to be a vital engine for global economic growth. Leaders of multiple international organizations told Xinhua that China’s development is crucial to the world.

“The Chinese economy met the national target, which was set at around 5 percent, and actually exceeded it. That is good news for China and also good news for Asia and the world because China delivers one-third of global growth,” said Georgieva.

China has emerged as a world champion in green energy, achieving a remarkable surge in renewable capacity and playing a pivotal role in global energy cooperation, said Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency. “China collaborates with numerous countries, both developed and developing.”

Noting that being the second-largest economy in the world, China plays a very important role in the world, Okonjo-Iweala said that China is a strong supporter of the multilateral trading system and multilateralism.

China remains firmly committed to opening up. By opening up wider, China moves to share its opportunities and develop together with all in the world. That is why many large multinationals have been actively grasping opportunities generated by China’s huge consumer market.

Jesper Brodin, CEO of Ingka Group, which owns most IKEA stores worldwide, said IKEA plans to expand its presence in China. ABB Chairman Peter Voser also confirmed that the ABB won’t change its strategy in China.

Xinhua News Agency

Founded in 1931, Xinhua News Agency is one of the largest news organizations in the world, with over 10,000 employees across the globe. As the main source of news and information for China, Xinhua plays a key role in shaping the country's media landscape and communicating its perspectives to the world. The agency produces a wide range of content, including text news articles, photos, videos, and social media posts, in both Chinese and English, and its reports are widely used by media organizations around the world. Xinhua also operates several international bureaus, including in key capitals like Washington, D.C., Moscow, and London, to provide in-depth coverage of global events.

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