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From Davos, all roads lead to the Middle East

At the World Economic Forum, Al-Monitor interviewed regional decision-makers on economics, energy, environment, governance and conflict across the region.
(L-R) Bloomberg Television's journalist Francine Lacqua, Singapore's President Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan, President of the European Central Bank (ECB) Christine Lagarde, Co-chairman of the private equity firm of The Carlyle Group David Rubenstein, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner and World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala attend a session on the closing day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, on January 19,

DAVOS, Switzerland — The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting’s theme this year was "rebuilding trust," but it could have been about how the Middle East matters more than ever. 

The region was on full display along the promenade, with the Saudi Pavilion one of the very few claiming space inside the secure zone, right outside the Congress Center, where all the plenary speeches take place. The "activations” along the promenade included displays from DP World, Al Ula, Neom, and many more companies and countries either from the region or heavily invested in it.

The region’s reputation as a global hub and incubator for innovation and technology was on full display, as the region’s government and business leaders were featured in the WEF’s discussions of innovation, AI and the global economy. But there was still no escaping the region’s conflicts. The Israel-Hamas war in Gaza includes fronts in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and the Red Sea. There was talk of a possible deal, an endgame for the war, including a path to Palestinian statehood, but also a kind of dread that the year ahead, which includes much promise, will also be clouded by continued violence and despair.

Al-Monitor had it all covered in its first year as a WEF media partner, including exclusive sit-downs with some of the region’s top decision makers. Excerpts below, with links to full interviews:

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