(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) As world leaders head to Davos for the World Economic Forum's annual meeting starting tomorrow, there's growing fear of a major geopolitical disruption over the next 12 months among international experts.
This fear, according to the WEF's third Global Confidence Index, has risen sharply to 54 per cent just as confidence in the state of global cooperation has dropped.
The bleak outlook at the start of this year is shared by a majority of 345 respondents from business, government, international organisations and academia.
"A major geopolitical disruption early in the new year would certainly tip the global economy in the wrong direction given current confidence levels," said Lee Howell, the managing director at the WEF responsible for the Forum's Global Risks Report 2012.
"The possibility of a geoeconomic disruption, such as sovereign default, is to some degree reflected in the market, but a major geopolitical disruption clearly is not," added Howell.
"Low confidence in governance and high concern about disruption are the making of a slow-burning fuse," said Michael Useem, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and Member of the Global Agenda Council on Catastrophic Risks.
"The latest survey suggests that company leaders and public officials will urgently want to focus in Davos and beyond on job generation and spurring growth."
As tensions rise between Iran and Western governments, the news from Greece getting grimmer, America barely managing to recover and the Euro crisis deepening, "respondents remain pessimistic about the global economic outlook, as the crisis of confidence reflected in the previous two quarters continues unabated. A consistent 60 per cent of respondents said they lacked confidence in the state of global governance, signalling little trust in political leadership to deal with global risks," says the report.
Concern also persisted that a severe economic, environmental, societal and technological disruption could occur over the next 12 months.
According to the report, respondents from the private sector are marginally more confident about the prospects for 2012 than those from the public, civil society and academic sectors, although they are slightly more worried about the possibility of a social, geopolitical, environmental or technological disruption than their peers.