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Income gap, unemployment to dominate int'l agenda in 2014: WEF

By Super

New Delhi/Geneva: Structural unemployment, widening income gaps and falling confidence in economic policies are among the top 10 trends for world leaders in 2014, says a World Economic Forum (WEF). According to the WEF Outlook on the global agenda 2014, tension in the Middle East and North Africa and inaction on climate change also rated as top concerns.

The survey which is based on a survey of more than 1,500 global experts, represents an attempt to map the world's challenges in 2014 said that concerns are also rife about the inaction on climate change and a lack of values in leadership.


The other major trends that make up the top 10 agenda for global leaders include -- intensifying cyber threats; Asia's expanding middle class; growing importance of megacities and rapid spread of misinformation online.

"The complexity of the trends that will shape the global agenda in 2014 and the nature of their interaction clearly demonstrate the need for cooperation on a global level," WEF Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab said.

Schwab further added "such cooperation must be pursued as a matter of urgency if we are to mitigate the harshest effects of these trends and channel their positive momentum." In addition to ranking the top trends for leaders in 2014, the outlook also highlighted emerging trends in the coming 12 months.

The emerging trends include implications of shale gas extraction; failure or inadequacy of democratic institutions; the rise of emerging market multinational companies and the role of space in improving our world.

With regards to widening income disparities, the report said, the effects of growing income inequality are also being seen within major nations on the global stage, from large emerging markets like China and India to developed nations.

According to S D Shibulal, CEO of Infosys and Member of the Global Agenda Council on Emerging Multinationals, in India millions of jobs have been created and the middle class has grown from 30 million people to 300 million in my lifetime.

"The IT sector, employs 2.2 million directly and 8 million indirectly. That's a good start, but in a country of 1.2 billion people with about 11 million unemployed, it?s a drop in the ocean," Shibulal said in the report.


The report further noted that India's unique challenge relates to the fact that given the size of the population, any solution needs to be implemented on an enormous scale. India produces three million graduates a year, including one million engineers, but only 25 percent are directly employable.

"The others need more training to make them industry -ready. Meanwhile, some 16 million Indian children are not in schools at all," the report noted.


Story first published: Saturday, November 16, 2013, 14:37 [IST]
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