Crown Prince Haakon, Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Foreign Minister Børge Brende and former Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg were among the many Norwegians heading for Davos, Switzerland this week to attend the annual World Economic Forum. It gathers politicians, business leaders, activists, researchers, investors and other celebrities for three days of seminars, speeches and mingling.
Norway’s former Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide is now director of the World Economic Forum, taking over for Brende who had been working for the Forum but assumed Eide’s job with his Conservative Party won last fall’s elections.
Brende will reunite with his old colleagues and what’s often considered the biggest gathering in the world of important decision makers. Børge denied the forum was just a rich man’s club: “I’ve never seen it that way. It’s rather a place to create important partnerships between business, civilian society and the authorities.” One of the major topics this year will be the widening gap between rich and poor in the world.
Solberg will be rubbing elbows with, among others, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Shinzo Abe of Japan, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund.
Among Norwegian business leaders attending are Stein Erik Hagen of Orkla, investor Johan Andresen, Rune Bjerke of Norway’s largest bank DNB and Jon Fredrik Baksaas, chief executive of Telenor.