Representatives from the South African government, business, labour and civil society will join their counterparts from around the world at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, this week to exchange views on the effect a changing world order will have on society, politics and how business is conducted.

The global financial and economic crises of 2008 have led to a shift in the global economy, with developing countries now driving economic growth.

President Jacob Zuma will not be attending the meeting due to “work pressure at home” related to election preparations. However, he said the South African delegation should market South Africa as an investment destination to the world and sell the National Development Plan, South Africa’s 30-year growth and development strategy. The delegation will be led by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

The theme for this year is “The reshaping of the world: consequences for society, politics and business”. The WEF annual meetings are a platform for engagement on global issues, rather than a forum that adopts resolutions.

Investment Solutions chief strategist Chris Hart said that while this might be the case, it was still important for global leaders to engage. “The world’s problems are many and sometimes it is valuable to thrash things out and discuss and engage. The world is increasingly dependent on policy makers to improve economies,” Mr Hart said.

Organisers are expecting more than 2500 participants from almost 100 countries representing business, government, academia and civil society to attend. More than 40 heads of state or government are expected, and more than 1500 business leaders. The meeting starts on Wednesday in Davos, Switzerland, and ends at the weekend.

Frontier Advisory CEO Martyn Davies, who has attended the WEF annual meeting for a few years, said these provided “networking opportunities” and suggestions on how to grow and develop countries.

Australian Prime Minister and Group of 20 chairman Tony Abbott, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and UK Prime Minister David Cameron are among those expected to address the meeting. The official programme will also focus on inclusive growth and new expectations from society following the reshaping of the global economy.