Davos day 3: Geopolitical and recession worries dominate WEF – live updates

US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting today.
US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting today. Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Pfizer’s pledge will cover 23 medicines and vaccines that treat infectious diseases, certain cancers, and rare and inflammatory diseases.

It explains:

Making these medicines and vaccines more readily available has the potential to treat non-communicable and infectious diseases that claim the lives of nearly one million people each year in these countries and chronic diseases that significantly impact quality of life for at least half a million more

Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, has welcomed Pfizer’s move:

“Rapid and affordable access to the most advanced medicines and vaccines is the cornerstone of global health equity.

Pfizer’s commitment under the Accord program sets a new standard in this regard. Combined with additional investments in strengthening Africa’s public health systems and pharmaceutical regulators, the Accord is an important step toward sustainable health security for countries at every income level.

Pfizer to sell all its patented drugs at nonprofit price in low-income countries

Pfizer has announced it will provide its patent-protected medicines and vaccines on a not-for-profit basis to 45 of the world’s poorest countries, in a drive to reduce health inequities around the world.

The pledge, called ‘An Accord for a Healthier World’, has just been launched here in Davos.

It means Pfizer will offer all the medicines and vaccines which are available in the U.S. or the European Union on a not-for-profit basis to 1.2bn in 45 lower-income countries.

Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda are joining the Accord, and will work with other low-income countries to “help identify and resolve hurdles” beyond the supply of medicines.

Announcement from Davos: @Pfizer to give ALL its patented medicines on a non-profit basis to lower income countries. Fab development in health equity around the world 👏

— Ella Pickover (@ellapickover) May 25, 2022

Advanced economies will basically get back to where they would have been in the absence of the pandemic in 2024, says Gita Gopinath, the first deputy managing director of IMF.

— CGTN Global Business (@CGTNGlobalBiz) May 25, 2022

However, emerging and developing economies will be around 5% below the level before the pandemic. It is this gap, along with food and a cost-of-living crises, that the risk of financial turbulence is at a much greater scale, says @GitaGopinath .

— CGTN Global Business (@CGTNGlobalBiz) May 25, 2022

Economics professor Mariana Mazzucato hammers the point home too, telling delegates:

The labour share of global income is low. The profit share is high.

There’s nothing natural about that, Mazzucato adds, it’s a consequence of choices that have been made.

IMF’s Gopinath: Wages can rise without creating spiral

IMF deputy MD Gita Gopinath also swept aside claims that wage rises should be suppressed to avoid a wage-price spiral.

Gopinath says we should be clear that inflation is prices going up, not wages.

You could absolutely have a situation in which wages rise, and prices don’t, she says, with company profits reducing instead.

Introduction: Fears over global growth after Soros’s WW3 warning

Good morning from Davos, where worries over a possible global recession and escalating military conflict are weighing on global leaders and business chiefs.

With a global food crisis escalating, Ukraine war continuing, global economic uncertainty is on the rise — creating a notably gloomy feel at the World Economic Forum.

Gita Gopinath, first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, is telling delegates this morning that the war in Ukraine has been “a major setback” to the global economy.

And the world continues to face headwinds, she says.

High inflation is leading central banks to raise interest rates, and China’s economy is slowing due to its Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions.

Gopinath says:

We have a confluence of shocks hitting the world, and we are still not out of the woods.

Gopinath also points out that there are very divergent recoveries due to the pandemic, with emerging and developing economies lagging.

There is a food crisis, and a cost of living crisis, she warns.

Last night, veteran philanthropist George Soros gave a chilling warning that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens to be the “beginning of the third world war” that could spell the end of civilisation.

In a ferocious attack on Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Soros warned that autocratic regimes were in the ascendant and the global economy was heading for a depression.

With the mood in Davos already downbeat due to the war in Ukraine, Soros ramped up the gloomy rhetoric to new heights.

“The invasion may have been the beginning of the third world war and our civilisation may not survive it.

“The invasion of Ukraine didn’t come out of the blue. The world has been increasingly engaged in a struggle between two systems of governance that are diametrically opposed to each other: open society and closed society.”

Here’s the full story:

Today we’ll also hear from European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, Bill Gates, US commerce secretary Gina Raimondo, Greece’s PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Israel’s president Isaac Herzog, and Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba.

The agenda

  • 8.45am Davos (7.45am BST): Panel on global growth outlook, with Siemens chair Jim Hagemann Snabe, UCL professor Mariana Mazzucato, IMF deputy MD Gita Gopinath
  • 9am Davos (8am BST): Press conference: Pfizer and Partners Announce Accord for a Healthier World
  • 10am Davos (9am BST): European Unity in a Disordered World? Slokavia’s president Eduard Heger, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Netherlands PM Mark Rutte, European Parliament president Roberta Metsola, Micheál Martin, Taoiseach of Ireland.
  • 10.15am Davos (9.15am BST): A Conversation with Gina Raimondo, United States Secretary of Commerce
  • 11am Davos (10am BST): Press conference: expanding First Movers Coalition to decarbonize the global economy, with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Mikael Damberg, Minister for Finance of Sweden, Bill Gates, Ruth Porat, CFO of Google, Microsoft president Brad Smith
  • 11.30am Davos (10.30am BST): A Conversation with Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Greece
  • 2.30pm Davos (1.30pm BST): A panel on the return of war in Europe, including Sir Lawrence Freedman, Emeritus Professor of War Studies, King’s College London
  • 3pm Davos (2pm BST): Special Address by Isaac Herzog, President of the State of Israel
  • 3pm Davos (2pm BST): A Conversation with Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
  • 5.30pm Davos (4.30pm BST): Press Conference: The New Economics of Water – Launch of Global Commission
  • 6.40pm Davos (5,40pm BST): Press Conference: Trade and Food Policy Outlook, with WTO director general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Svein Tore Holsether, CEO Yara
  • 7.20pm Davos (6.20pm BST): Press conference with Ukraine’s foreign affair minister Dmytro Kuleba


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