EDITORIAL: Bracing for futile Davos hubris
It’s Davos time again. The platitudes will flow thick and fast with the same discernable impact they have every year: not much
Brace yourselves: it’s Davos time again. The platitudes will flow thick and fast with the same discernable impact they have every year: not much. Of course, that’s yet to deter Team SA’s scarf-wearing contingent from its enthusiastic annual descent on the alpine village for the World Economic Forum. (SA’s rapidly dwindling economic prospects, you’ll note, haven’t shown a similar decline in Davos attendance.)
So, prepare for rand-sensitive yet self-congratulatory tweets about the cost of a sandwich, and stealth selfies with Greta Thunberg and Priyanka Chopra.
Davos 2020 — whose theme is the gloriously bland and generic "Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World" — will see finance minister Tito Mboweni, minister of international relations & co-operation Naledi Pandor and minister of trade & industry Ebrahim Patel pitch the SA stall, along with whichever local CEO still has the stomach to talk pretty abroad as matters at home implode.
While the cost of a Davos jolly is dear, talk is cheap, and so much easier than the painful and unglamorous measures — like, say, keeping a set of accounts at the local municipality — SA actually needs right now.
This junket, no doubt paid for by someone else, is wilful hubris in action.