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World Economic Forum 2019 kicks off

By AFP

Added 22nd January 2019 02:45 PM

Skirting the first political scandal of his new presidency, far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro will tout a "new Brazil" when he addresses the world's business elite in Davos on Tuesday.

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Swiss President Ueli Maurer delivers a speech during the World Economic Forum 2019

Skirting the first political scandal of his new presidency, far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro will tout a "new Brazil" when he addresses the world's business elite in Davos on Tuesday.

WORLD ECONOMIC SUMMIT 2019

SWITZERLAND - Security is tight in Davos, where Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro is giving the keynote speech 


Skirting the first political scandal of his new presidency, far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro will tout a "new Brazil" when he addresses the world's business elite in Davos on Tuesday.

The president of Latin America's biggest economy is giving the keynote address at this year's World Economic Forum, where warnings are mounting of the dangers of a growth slowdown, yawning inequality and disastrous climate change. 

US President Donald Trump along with the leaders of France, Britain and Zimbabwe have had to stay away from the Swiss ski resort as they fight political fires back home.

A trip to Davos by US officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also cancelled by Trump. But organisers said Pompeo would now address the conference by video-link from Washington on Tuesday, after Bolsonaro's speech.

Like Trump, the "Mr Clean" Bolsonaro surfed a populist wave to ride to power, vowing an end to rampant corruption and a restoration of law and order in Brazil. 

But staging his first foreign trip as president, Bolsonaro has left behind a scandal about suspicious payments involving his politician son Flavio Bolsonaro, who denies any wrongdoing. 

Focussing on his message at the WEF, Bolsonaro told reporters in Davos that he would "give the broadest message possible of the new Brazil that is presenting itself with our arrival in power".

He said "Brazil is taking measures so that the world re-establishes confidence in us, that our business returns to flourishing between Brazil and the world, without being guided by ideology". 

"We will show that we are a country that is safe for investments, especially in the area of agribusiness which is very important for us."

But while Bolsonaro's promises on investment and deregulation have wowed the Brazilian stock market, he has also taken a page from the Trump playbook in bashing China.

If such trade tensions worry many of the well-heeled Davos crowd, so does the threat of planetary economic dislocation caused by climate change, according to a WEF survey last week. 

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