This year, the International Economic Forum of the Americas (IEFA) turns 25; to mark this event, we are launching the IEFA Magazine. The aim of this new venture is to provide a source of consistently reliable information that will enable readers to better grasp – and therefore better respond to – the profound changes facing all people, regardless of where they live.
Each year the IEFA organizes four international economic forums: the World Strategic Forum in Miami (this year on April 1 and 2, 2019); the Conference of Montreal (from June 10 to 13, 2019); the Toronto Global Forum (from September 4 to 6, 2019); and The Conference of Paris (on November 13 and 14, 2019). These events are attended by over 12,000 participants and delegates, who come to hear important strategic information from some 650 international speakers. Attendance by leaders from government circles, international organizations, the business and academic sectors, unions and civil society provides strategic opportunities for meetings to discuss areas of common interest.
IEFA Magazine was launched to provide a complementary perspective to these four annual forums by examining some of the world’s most pressing international questions. The goal of the publication’s quarterly issues is to help us understand the full extent of the changes we are facing in the context of an increasingly disturbing global economic reality.
Some ten years after The Great Recession, we are in a period of profound uncertainty, where volatile stock markets are setting the tone for a still growing global economy that is nevertheless showing signs of weakness. Yes, after 113 months of strong growth, the global economy is showing signs of slowing down, especially in Europe and China. This widespread uncertainty has several causes – a historic US-China trade war; stalled Brexit negotiations; populist movements that threaten democracy – and it’s all happening in a volatile geopolitical context marked by natural disasters and widespread migration.
The coming year will definitely be a turning point for this century. The digital revolution (based on advances in communications technology and smart energy) has triggered a fourth industrial revolution that is disrupting the very basis of how people live around the world. Major disruptive factors include the exponential growth of AI, robotics, 3D printing, as well as the transition to renewable energy and ubiquitous, instantaneous global communication.
There is no doubt that we are going through a period of profound change. The necessary adjustments – with all their attendant constraints and anxieties – can be difficult and challenging. However, our most important task is to see
them as exceptional opportunities: opportunities to invent and develop new ways of thinking about globalization,
productivity, innovation and inclusion. If we want to respond positively to the changes we face, our first task is to