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Davos Diary Day 1: Sub-zero, Cyril takes lead and the Concordia

As Biznews founder Alec Hogg descends on the sub-zero temperatures of Davos for the 14th time, there’s a sense of optimism in the air. Following last year’s shenanigans, President Jacob Zuma has handed the baton over to his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa. Ramaphosa and the more than 3,000 other delegates will seek some answers to the globe’s challenges over the week – the theme ‘Responsive and Responsible leadership’ – which is sure to be the spark for some debates likely to warm things up a bit. In his Davos Diary day one, Alec chats to the Concordia hotel owner Ute Koller, his place of stay for the 12th year in a row. – Stuart Lowman

Well, I’m back in Davos for the World Economic Forum at the Hotel Concordia with Ute Koller for the 12th year in a row.

Yes.

Twelve years in a row.

Yes.

And I can tell you it is the best hotel in Davos. I love it. We love staying here – Jeanette and I – it’s the best hospitality we get anywhere in the world. Of course, Ute has been to South Africa.

Yes, I know it.

And you know all about us in South Africa and all the trouble we make here in Davos.

I do, yes.

Have you had snow this year?

Yes. Unfortunately, it came quite late for Christmas. It started on the 2nd of January – 17cm, 1m, and today, we have 1m and 15cm.

And the cold here? We’re inside but you can see I’m still wearing a jacket.

Yes. We had -22 and today we only had -12.

Enroute to Davos, 2017.

So, you see what we go through: -22. Is it going to be -22 this week?

Well, it’s going to stay at around -12/-15 (so a little bit warmer).

You know, people in South Africa don’t understand minuses. It doesn’t happen. However, we have lots happening this week. We’ll be indoors for much of the time as well. Jacob Zuma is not coming this year. He decided over the weekend that he would rather send the Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, which is quite a good thing in many ways, because it gives Ramaphosa an opportunity to shine on the world stage. We’ll be (hopefully) talking to him. We’ve put in a request for an interview, maybe with Davos Diary tomorrow night. We can tell you all about that. Then we’ll also be talking to Winnie Byanyima. She is the Executive Director of Oxfam and they’ve hit the headlines today with news of their latest report, saying that eight people in the world own as much as the bottom half of the world put together. It just sounds extraordinary. Three-and-a-half billion people earn exactly the same amount as eight do. Well, we’ll have all of those stories for you in the week but don’t miss our Davos Diary. Thanks Ute, for making your debut on Biznews TV.

Thank you for being with us again, Alec and Jeanette, in Davos and the Hotel Concordia.

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