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India Inc plans new campaign for Davos 2007
BS Reporters in New Delhi | November 29, 2006 12:22 IST
Last Updated: November 29, 2006 12:26 IST
The World Economic Forum is preparing for the biggest annual event in its calendar, and Corporate India Inc plans to build on its India Everywhere campaign.
The World Economic Forum promises that its annual meeting next year from January 24 to 28 at Davos, Switzerland, will be a unique one because it believes that the world is at a crossroads, facing a whole new set of global challenges.
Says Peter Torreele, Managing Director and member of the Board, WEF, "Davos 2007 is going to be one of the most important summits ever, because we have never had such an abundance, unfortunately, of instability (across the world). We have never struggled so much through the programme to put the pieces together. There are so many inter-related issues, that this summit is possibly going to be an eye-opener for a lot of people."
Reflecting this recognition and complexity will be the agenda and main theme: The Shifting Power Equation. Around this main theme, the Summit will focus on four areas: Driving Growth; Addressing Global Fault Lines; Exploring Identity and the Communication Disconnect; and Leading in a Networked World.
WEF believes that the shifting power equations across the world arise from the fact that what we are experiencing today changes not just at the geo-political level, but also at the economic and social levels. Political uncertainties are seen in Iraq, North Korea and the United States. There is also a shift from the West to East with the emergence of China and India.
Adds Torreele, "It affects everybody. The discussions today in Europe on energy security are a direct consequence of the economic growth in China and India and the lack of resources. We want to make sure that we all understand and appreciate this shift and that global growth will continue."
WEF also sees early signs that growth in the US will slow down and these could have economic consequences for the world economy as a whole. The third shift that will be on the radar is the social shift. Today, with the phenomenon of Web 2.0, there is a new horizontal community of about 30 million people connecting across borders with the same values and interests.
Based on these premises, the hot topics for discussions at Davos are likely to be nuclear proliferation, climate change, Web 2.0, energy security and the possible US political climate in 2008.
The Co-Chairs of the meeting will be John Browne of Madingley, Group Chief Executive, BP, United Kingdom; Michelle Guthrie, Chief Executive Officer, Star Group, Hong Kong SAR; Neville Isdell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Coca-Cola Company, USA; James J Schiro, Group Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Group Management Board, Zurich Financial Services, Switzerland and Eric Schmidt, Chief Executive Officer, Google, USA.
What about India, this time?
It is widely recognised that the India Everywhere campaign at Davos 2006 made a huge impact with the international community and they understood the high potential and the new face of India.
Says Torreele, "The feedback from the participants was that it was extremely well-done, because it was business driven. There is need for follow-through and this has to come from Indian CEOs taking a clear place at the plenary discussions and have to be seen to be part of the global discussions. If India wants to be seen as part of an upcoming global economic power, then it has to play its role globally."
Says Ajay Khanna, CEO, India Brand Equity Foundation, one of the architects of the India Everywhere campaign, "The India Everywhere campaign was a huge success. And we did not finish with that. We took India to South Africa, Tokyo, Egypt and China.
"The whole idea was not just to stay with Davos but to look at all the regional summits and have our presence there. However, our approach to Davos 2007 will be slightly different. We do not have a campaign planned like India Everywhere (for 2007); on the other hand, it will be more than India Everywhere. We will have more participants, many more public speakers and corporate-led initiatives.
"So, it will actually be India Everywhere Plus. That is the way we are looking at it. We also want to continue portraying India as the fastest growing free market democracy. So, we are now saying 'India Faster Forward'. That is the way we would like to present India at Davos 2007."
As the curtains come down on the India Economic Summit, Khanna argues that this year's success is a reflection of the fact that the India Everywhere campaign has worked, because it is the first time in the last 22 years, that IES has three times more overseas participation than Indian companies.
Sums up Khanna, "I think, what we have seen at IES is the effectiveness of the campaign. There is a growing interest in India and people have moved away from the curiosity level and to actually coming down here and understanding the next level of working."