WEF meet ends; leaders exude cautious optimism over global economy

With a sense of cautious optimism over the world economy, the five-day World Economic Forum annual meet of influential leaders that saw extensive deliberations over responsible capitalism, gender inequality and Middle East turmoil, came to an end today.

With a strong presence of close to 130 participants, Indian leaders exuded confidence in India's growth story and pitched for sustained structural reforms even as investors were curious about general elections and advent of a new political force in the form of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Capping the WEF Annual Meeting 2014, its seven Co-Chairs, including India's Kris Gopalakrishnan (Infosys Vice Chairman and CII President) and Yahoo chief Marissa Mayer, debated the emerging issues of 2014 and their implications for the global economy and their industries at the final session.

Earlier, talking about the risks and challenges before the global economy, IMF Chief Christine Lagarde said countries, including emerging markets, should carry out structural reforms to unleash their growth potential.

India's Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said the country is pursuing broader economic reforms agenda, which is unlikely to see a change irrespective of the election outcome.

Gopalakrishnan is optimistic about 2014 and beyond.

According to him, the WEF debated on various issues such as climate change, technology, unemployment, sustainability and innovative disruptions. It is a connected world and we need to adapt to the changes and prepare for the transition, he said, while giving example of how recent currency market fluctuations have had impact in different parts of the world.

Christophe de Margerie, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Total, France, also a WEF Co-Chair, said 2014 would be an important year for energy sector, as regulations would need to be put in place before the climate summit in 2015.

Another co-chair, Novartis chief Joseph Jimenez said 2014 was going to be a year of technology for various sectors, including healthcare.

Among 2,500 WEF participants, a third were first timers. Over 30 heads of states attended Davos 2014.

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