THE BLOG

Davos - An Important Meeting of Minds

22/01/2014 10:47 GMT | Updated 23/03/2014 09:59 GMT

Today, I write to you from Davos, Switzerland, home of the World Economic Forum Annual meeting. Here, global business leaders, heads of state and other leading religious and academic figures converge in their thousands on this remote and very picturesque mountain top to discuss the macro socio-economic issues of the day.

This unique meeting of minds has been going on for well over forty years, and while it has, in the past, been dubbed "the best dinner party in the world", it also tackles very important issues.

I myself have been covering the event as a Bloomberg Television anchor for over eight years and I'm a big fan of Davos, so I disagree with the cynics.

For me, it is all about the exchange of ideas whether that takes place on a panel in the conference hall, on the dance floor or in the hotel bar - it really doesn't matter.

Much like political party conferences in the UK, socialising with a glass of bubbly goes hand in hand with the major speaking events and announcements that take place over the course of the four days.

In fact, most of the time, it provides a welcome distraction from the serious nature of the conversations being discussed. Delegates tend not to party too hard though, given the schedule kicks off at 8am each day and the daily programme is jam-packed with side events and other forums for debate.

This year's meeting is particularly significant as it is the first Davos in five years where we aren't tackling a crisis - the broader financial outlook is a little more positive for economies around the globe compared with 2012 or 2011. This helps to create a slightly less pressurised environment both for delegates and the journalists chasing down the stories.

Nevertheless, with chatter moving away from talk about whether certain companies will survive the global downturn toward more forward-focused discussion about the products they are producing and other innovations, there's still a lot for us to cover.

Female participation has been a hot topic of conversation in the lead up to this year's event with figures of less than 15 per cent of attendees being quoted in the media. While female participation at Davos is lower this year than last, it is worth noting that the number of high profile females is higher than ever - the number of women in power has increased considerably in recent years. For example, if you look at the big names on the Davos delegate list this year, they include Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund, Yahoo!'s CEO Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's COO. These high profile women are real newsmakers, not just participants.

I'm actually really looking forward to interviewing Christine on Thursday, during which I'm hoping to discuss globalisation, the possible economic pitfalls that we should be aware of and how the international economy will move forward in 2014. She is a very practical person who I believe will be able to speak about her own success in becoming a female world leader.

When she was French Minister, she was well-known for bringing a list of top businesswomen to industry meetings, in case any company would say "I would love to hire a woman on my board but there are none." She would often produce the list and give the business the name of a top businesswoman to hire. So while there is a significant gap in gender representation at Davos this year, I trust she will do her upmost to highlight the need for greater female participation in the boardroom.

Over the past decade, Davos has changed from being dominated by the big global banks to now being dominated by technology companies and emerging countries who are eager to put themselves on the map. The focus is now much more on disruptive technologies which have the potential to change how we live today.

Francine will be reporting live from Davos on Bloomberg Television. Watch coverage from Wednesday 22 January via:

• Bloomberg Television in the UK: Sky 502; Virgin Media 609; Freesat 208

• www.bloomberg.com/davos

• Bloomberg TV+ app for Apple iPad

• Apple TV

Embeddable video will be available here