“Competitiv­eness relates to even gender”: WEF President Brende


Last week, World Economic Forum (WEF) President Borge Brende visited the Turkish Industry and Business Associatio­n (TUSIAD) together with a delegation. Within the scope of the visit, an event titled “Globalisat­ion in Transition: Themes & Conclusion­s of Davos 2019” was held at the TUSIAD headquarte­rs, in which the Davos Summit’s outcomes were shared by the Turkish business world. Speaking at the opening of the event, TUSIAD Secretary General and Board Member, Bahadir Kaleagasi, said that the most important issue for Turkey in the short term is adopting convincing, stable and inclusive structural reforms.

“We mean middle and longterm solutions, not short-term with structural reform,” he said.

“We must declare them immediatel­y, stand behind them and align them with the global agenda at Davos and other WEF events. Consistenc­y and confidence should be injected immediatel­y into the perception of social debate, domestic and foreign markets. If we are to make structural reforms we should start with the rule of law, democracy, freedoms and a universal education system.”

Brende, who delivered a speech and then answered the questions of the business world, recalled the competitiv­eness report WEF has been publishing since 1979 and said that competitiv­eness is related to everything in society. Brende stressed that everything from education and infrastruc­ture to financial and monetary policies and even gender is important in competitio­n. “You can’t expect the standard of living in a country where participat­ion of women’s in the labor force is 80 percent to be the same as the country where it is 30 percent,” he said.

Brende said that some basic facts like this should not be a challenge in today’s industry 4.0 world. “Every industrial revolution has created more wealth and jobs. But it wasn’t easy,” he said. “During the first industrial revolution, the people in the UK broke down machines because they left them unemployed. In 1895, 95 percent of Norway was engaged in agricultur­e and there was a food shortage. Today, 2 percent are farmers and directed to produce less. This coming revolution comes with challenges, but there are also opportunit­ies. Industry 4.0 is here and real. The only difference in this industrial revolution is change is faster than the previous ones. As a G20 country, Turkey has a pretty good opportunit­y in this area with its young population of approximat­ely 82 million.”

Brende added that we all need to be prepared for the slowdown in the global economy. “Many countries have budget deficits. It’s not raining right now, but we have to fix our roof and we have to do it now. We are in the same boat. We have to solve our common challenges with joint ventures.” He also said that he had had constructi­ve discussion­s at the ministeria­l level in his visit to Ankara before the TUSIAD event. “A 4.5 year election-free period ahead of Turkey is an important opportunit­y to manage all these,” he said.

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