Michael Bloomberg’s New Economy Forum Opening Remarks

  • Good morning, everyone – and welcome to the New Economy Forum.
  • We have an extraordinary group of 400 business and government leaders here, from more than 60 countries around the world. I know many of you have traveled far to be with us, and I want to thank you for your time and commitment.
  • We also owe thanks to all of the corporate partners who helped to make this event possible. They are listed on the screens around the room.
  • I want to give a special thanks to two friends who have done a lot of work to bring us all together: Hank Paulson and Henry Kissinger.
  • Both of them have helped to shape our world for the better – and we’re lucky to have them with us here.
  • I would also like to thank Prime Minister Lee and his team in Singapore for their generous hospitality, and for all the work they’ve done with our team to make this forum possible.
  • Now, I’d like to say that I’m fluent in all four of Singapore’s official languages – but that would be stretching the truth just a little.
  • But I did learn one word in Malay: Sentosa. It’s the name of the island where we’re meeting. And it means “peace and tranquility”.
  • I think it’s fair to say that not a lot of people would use those words to describe the world today. But I really believe we can build a more peaceful and prosperous future, if we do it together. That’s what this forum is all about.
  • It was designed to harness the power of the private sector to help address the big challenges we face. And that includes spurring new partnerships that bring government and business together.
  • Singapore is a perfect place to do that.
  • It is a financial capital of Asia, a region whose economies are stronger, more influential, and more connected than ever before.
  • Economic growth here in Asia – as well as in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America – has improved billions of lives and created enormous new opportunities for businesses – including Bloomberg.
  • Still, economic growth in emerging economies also creates new challenges in how we address issues around trade…. technology… intellectual property… capital markets…and common societal challenges, such as public health and climate change.
  • The group we have brought together understands these challenges – and together, we are in a good position to help tackle them.
  • Singapore is also one of the world’s most innovative cities, at a time when the role and power of cities is growing in unprecedented ways.
  • Cities are home to most of the world’s people for the first time. By the middle of the century, three in four people will live in cities.
  • So the future will look more and more urban. And that’s good news: because cities have always been economic engines that foster technological advancement, scientific breakthroughs, and cultural tolerance and diversity.
  • The shift toward cities has brought many benefits to the world. Over the last quarter century more people have been lifted out of poverty than any other period in human history – the majority of them here in Asia.
  • But of course, we still have a long way to go.
  • We have to do more to ensure that the benefits of a growing economy are spread far and wide.
  • We have to do more to equip people with the skills they need to succeed in a changing economy.
  • We have to do more to ensure equal opportunities for women and other groups that have traditionally been left out or marginalized.
  • And, we have to do more to reduce carbon emissions, so that we can avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
  • The private sector has a critical role to play in meeting all of these challenges – and many others.
  • The more that business leaders talk with one another – and take the lead in building new partnerships – the faster we can make progress.
  • That kind of dialogue doesn’t happen enough. And this forum is a chance to help fix that.
  • Bloomberg is always looking for ways to spur collaboration.
  • Lots of forums bring people together to talk. And talk is good. As Henry Kissinger might say: If you’re talking, you’re not fighting.
  • But talk followed by action is better. And so we designed our agenda with action in mind.
  • Everyone here received a substantial package of research and analysis produced by Bloomberg to help you prepare for this forum.
  • Over the course of today and tomorrow, we’ll meet to talk about specific issues that the private sector can help us address – and that we will continue working on together after the forum has concluded.
  • We will have 20 separate, in-depth solutions workshops and roundtable discussions, hosted by prominent leaders from business and government.
  • Just to give you a couple of examples:
  • We’ll discuss how to grow the economy … while reducing the carbon footprint of the global supply chain.
  • We’ll talk about how to help cities create more economic opportunities – and how government and business can work together to give people new skills.
  • We’re aiming to come up with solutions that are practical, realistic, and easy to copy in cities and countries around the world.
  • In the weeks and months to come, we’ll follow up with all of you – and track our progress to ensure that we’re all being held accountable for results.
  • So this Forum is really just the beginning. We hope it will become an annual gathering – and as the founding group of attendees, we hope you’ll help to build a community of people working on the issues we cover here.
  • We couldn’t have asked for a better group to be leading this work – and I want to thank you all again for being a part of it.
  • Now I want to introduce our next keynote speaker, whom we are honored to have with us here today.
  • I first met him almost fifteen years ago, when he was Mayor of Beijing and I was the mayor of New York City.
  • Today he is one of the most influential political figures in China and on the world stage.
  • He has played a key role in Chinese finance and politics for more than thirty years, helping to lead the country through a period of extraordinary growth and to navigate challenges along the way, including the financial crisis of 2008.
  • Please welcome Vice President of China, Wang Qishan.

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