Every year the elites head to Davos in Switzerland for the World Economic Forum to discuss the world’s most pressing issues. For the past five years the focus has been on crisis management as economies tanked and unemployment sky-rocketed, but in 2014 there was more to smile about. Here are my top 5:
A third of the continent is seeing economic growth of more than six percent. Of the top ten fastest growing economies in the world, six are in Africa, and 60 percent of the world’s uncultivated arable land is there. Countries with more established democratic governments are making the biggest gains. People are earning more money and becoming more connected to the rest of the world thanks to mobile technology. Businesses need to be thinking more strategically about what they have to offer Africa. As a start, I’d suggest you just go there.
We’ve been haemorrhaging jobs for a while. The future of our youth is in question and we need to come up with fresh ideas. Governments are starting to invest more and in my books that’s an opportunity to invest in new technologies. R&D has huge benefits for nations. So it’s time to nurture what we’re each good at and back our own people to deliver.
A healthy society is made up of healthy people. One way attendees at Davos were asked to think of this was by being tracked through a digital medical advice feeding data to their smartphones. It told them if they were getting enough exercise and sleep to be at their mental peak. The point being, we need to place a greater emphasis on wellbeing to spare the immense resources soaked up through the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff approach.
Equality of Opportunity
Those who have succeeded in life have a moral obligation to give back to the community, be it with their time, skills or finance. It’s not possible to argue that every job is equal or that economies are equal. What we need to ensure in our societies is equality of opportunity. What we need to focus on is how economic growth can benefit everyone. And that means ensuring our children are confident and skilled to take the opportunities in front of them.
Japan set a goal of 30 percent of women in top jobs at Davos, a big step for a very traditional and male-dominated business environment. Research shows only 10 percent of venture-backed start-ups are owned by women, and they receive about an eight of the funding men do. We need more women making investment decisions and acting as angel investors. Spotting the best and brightest and getting them going.