The World Economic Forum (WEF) announced it has cancelled its meeting in Singapore this year.
“Regretfully, the tragic circumstances unfolding across geographies, an uncertain travel outlook, differing speeds of vaccination rollout and the uncertainty around new variants combine to make it impossible to realise a global meeting with business, government and civil society leaders from all over the world at the scale which was planned. This is despite the excellent support provided by the Government of Singapore,” the organization said in a statement.
The event is known for bringing together politicians and business leaders from around the world. Organizers moved the event to Singapore from its usual location of Davos, Switzerland. The WEF scheduled the event for the middle of August this year.
The next Annual Meeting will instead take place in the first half of 2022. The WEF will determine the final location and date based on an assessment of the situation later this summer.
“It was a difficult decision, particularly in view of the great interest of our partners to come together not just virtually but in person, and to contribute to a more resilient, more inclusive and more sustainable world,” said Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the WEF. “But ultimately the health and safety of everyone concerned is our highest priority.”
We will continue to engage our increasing number of partners into our numerous workstreams addressing the key issues on the global agenda through public-private cooperation.
Singapore responds to WEF statement
Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) issued a press statement in response to the cancellation by the WEF. MTI announced that it understood the WEF’s decision.
“The Singapore Government fully appreciates the challenges caused by the ongoing global pandemic, particularly for a large meeting with a broad span of international participants. We will continue to work actively with the World Economic Forum (WEF) and other key international organisations to promote collaborations between stakeholders on issues of global concern,” the statement said.
Netizens were quick to criticize the Singapore governments actions. Some expressed their unhappiness at Singapore’s loss. Other’s expressed relief and chided the Singapore government for prioritizing the WEF event instead of the citizen’s safety. Unfortunately, xenophobia and racism reared their ugly head in some comments. Some netizens blamed South Asian visitors. Above all, this is not the first time that racism and xenophobia appear online in Singapore.