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Wealth gap, gov't debt top WEF's risk list


11:15, January 09, 2013

The World Economic Forum says fragile economies and extreme weather top the list of biggest risks in the past year. The WEF also warns, these threats will continue to exist in the new year, along with widening wealth gaps and unsustainable government debt levels.

Moreover, economists and business leaders are pessimistic about solving the fundamental problems faced by the the global economy.

In its Global Risks 2013 report released on Tuesday, the World Economic Forum says that although Europe avoided a euro break-up, and the United States stepped back from its fiscal cliff, concerns about the failure in addressing fundamental problems still remain.

The report is based on a survey of more than 1,000 experts and industry leaders, who are showing even more pessimism about the outlook for the decade ahead compared to a year ago.

The WEF managing director responsible for the report said the result reflected a loss of confidence in the leadership of governments. Severe wealth gaps and unsustainable government finances were seen as the two biggest economic threats facing the world. Concerns about rising greenhouse gas emissions have also grown notably over the past 12 months.

The issue ranks as the third biggest worry overall. The 80-page analysis of 50 risks for the next 10 years comes ahead of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, which takes place from January 23 to 27.

The theme of this year’s Davos meeting is "resilient dynamism", reflecting the need for governments and businesses to develop strategies to improve their economic and financial situation and to face the existing threats.

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