©James Ferguson

In this report

The World Economic Forum is convening at the start of a year which is likely to see anxious attention focused not only on the Middle East, but also on Russia and the Ukraine, China and its neighbours, and the eurozone. Against a backdrop of rising political radicalism, chronic global economic ills also need close attention

Little room for optimism as global anxiety grows

World leaders face problems that stretch from Europe right across the globe

Iraqi security forces take part in training, as they prepare to fight against militants of the Islamic State, at a training camp on the outskirts of Mosul January 10, 2015
©Reuters/Azad Lashkari

Sunni-Shia conflict threatens to engulf Middle East

An end to the carnage may depend on an international deal with Iran

In depth

A worker uses an electric mitre saw to cut lengths of wood as he works inside the Kongress Zentrum, also known as Congress Center, in preparation for the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015. This week World leaders, influential executives, bankers and policy makers will attend the 45th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos that runs from Jan. 21-24. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg ©Bloomberg
The 45th annual meeting is taking place between 21-24 January

Chronic economic and political ills defy easy cure

Secular stagnation and weak financial systems persist

European politics emerges as one of the top global risk factors

The European Commission has scaled down forecasts for growth against a background of deflation fears

People look at a near-empty chicken counter in Auchan Store on January 4, 2015 in central Moscow, Russia
©Getty/Sasha Mordovets

Falling rouble piles the pressure on Putin

Economic crisis raises urgency for Moscow to reach a political solution on Ukraine and secure easing of EU sanctions

China's President Xi Jinping reviews the guard of honour upon his arrival at Planalto Palace on July 17, 2014 in Brasilia
©AFP/Nelson Almeida

Beijing boosts its foreign policy and the war on graft

Two years after taking the reins, Xi Jinping is beginning to show his true mettle

British Prime Minister David Cameron delivers his long-awaited speech on the UK's relationship with the EU on January 23, 2013 in London, England
©Oli Scarff/Getty Images

UK polls set to provide national identity test

Vote in May seems likely to reflect uncertainty over position in Europe and the world

Obama eyes his legacy and goes on the offensive

Republicans are on the back foot as the president, buoyed by the economy, pushes through popular initiatives

Struggling Rousseff needs convincing vision of future

Economists speak of an urgent need to restore confidence in government policies

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi has no room for complacency

Competition, mechanisation and a demographic timebomb could all hinder prospects

Africa’s falling commodity prices curb the bullishness of recent years

Ebola, extremism and elections compound growth problems faced by many in the sub-Saharan region

Football’s global dominance set to continue

Rugby 7s, Cricket’s T20 and women’s world cup may herald change

FT launches Blippar service for Davos coverage

Free augmented reality app will provide fast track to Davos coverage