Leadership and building agendas for transformation form part of this analysis of the current global state of affairs and the challenges the world is facing.

In the Annual Report 2015–2016, a group of experts from the World Economic Forum (WEF) identify two of today’s major challenges: “on the one hand, global leadership energies are being absorbed by crisis management. There is no focused effort to sustainably shape global, regional, and industry futures in a systemic manner. Global efforts are fragmented and siloed, despite the interconnected nature of our world. Numerous initiatives are undertaken in a compartmentalized way.” The report also recognizes that increased cooperation between multiple stakeholders is giving rise to a complex situation which will require organization and unity to connect efforts and provide leaders with a space where they can focus on the future and develop a “forward-looking strategic view in a world… that is absorbed by the challenges of the past.” The WEF is thus positioning itself as an “operating system” that will function as a platform from which these decisions can and must be made.

What areas do we need to improve to change direction?

The WEF has focused its activities on nine System Initiatives for fostering change, which include the digital economy and society; economic growth and social inclusion; education, gender, and work; environment and natural resource security; financial and monetary systems; food security and agriculture; health and healthcare; international trade and investment; and long-term investing, infrastructure, and development.

The shaping of regional agendas plays a fundamental role in this process. To this end, the authors review the state of affairs in the different continents. We focus here on their key points regarding the construction of the future Regional Agenda for Latin America.

The report recognizes that the region’s performance in the last decade has been promising, with years of continued, inclusive growth. However, the authors claim that Latin America has reached an inflection point. On the one hand, growth rates are slowing, and on the other, “the region is entering a new phase of international trade and witnessing historic political milestones that could have a significant impact.”

The report believes that “region’s continued progress will depend on whether it can adapt its monetary and fiscal strategies to the realities of a postcommodity environment. This, along with measures to diversify its economies, update the skills of its labor forces, advance its regional integration and capitalize on the promises of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, can assist Latin America in increasing its productivity and ensuring its long-term growth.”

It also mentions the shaping of a Global Industry Agenda on the basis of the fourth industrial revolution and other factors that have converged, creating changes that are hard to predict. This includes the application of factors such as technology, big data, 3D printing, and the Internet of Things to commercial and social ecosystems.

World Economic Forum (WEF). 2016. Annual Report 2015–2016. Geneva: WEF.