Exploring alternatives to economic growth at St. Gallen | By Daniel Dippold | Allan Gray Orbis Foundation
Exploring alternatives to economic growth at St. Gallen | By Daniel Dippold

Exploring alternatives to economic growth at St. Gallen | By Daniel Dippold

kagame st gallenThe St. Gallen Symposium is a global, Switzerland based, intergenerational dialogue platform, which, over the past 46 years, has hosted 600 leading decision makers from the fields of business, politics, academia and civil society. 200 exceptional, young leaders, convene to foster discussion with global decision makers on key issues of our time.

Daniel Dippold is a student at the University of St.Gallen’s School of Economics, Law and Social Sciences, currently visiting South Africa in his capacity as the Ambassador of the symposium’s South African relations. He shares his insights on declining global economic growth and its implications for youth entrepreneurship in South Africa.


Each year, the International Students’ Committee (ISC) at the University of St. Gallen chooses an annual topic with the aim of capturing and condensing the most relevant debates currently shaping the world. The topic for this year’s symposium, which takes place from 11 – 13 May 2016 is: “Growth – the good, the bad and the ugly”.

Economic growth is the most powerful single determinant that has ever entered political and economic language. Lack of growth hamstrings governments and the private sector alike; questioning growth challenges the fundamentals of today’s political and economic system; abolishing it in turn demands alternatives even the concept’s most ardent critics have not come up with so far. One thing is for sure: as with any other dominant idea, the concept of economic growth is out there to be appreciated, questioned and reassessed in the context of today’s global economic climate.

Declining growth goes along with declining wealth. This puts pressure on, especially young entrepreneurs, to brace themselves against those predictions. When India reported double-digit growth in 2010, the excitement was monumental. But so was the collapse a year later. In April 2015, the International Monetary Fund revised SA’s economic growth forecasts downwards for 2015 to 2% from 2.3% in October and reduced that for 2016 to 2.1% from 2.5%.

However, particularly in South Africa which is teeming in goodwill and considerable potential, some hope is restored for recovery. So it stands to reason that we encourage entrepreneurs across South Africa, on occasions such as the recent INENG public policy events, to join our unique debate on growth and therewith create impact together.

Having 80 different nations represented at the St. Gallen Symposium, we are proud to have welcomed six future leaders from South Africa in 2014 including Siya Xuza, an Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Fellow. Equally exceptional Leaders of Tomorrow include Bertrand Bardré, now Managing Director of the World Bank and Paul Achleitner, who now serves as the Chairman of the Deutsche Bank AG. Other examples include the IMANI Project, which was elected the second most influential think tank in Africa in 2014. It originated in 2000 at the St. Gallen Symposium, where three future leaders were united by the same idea: improving health conditions in Africa.

The St. Gallen Symposium is a platform where young leaders can access mentoring relationships, sponsors to help them realise their ideas, and join in the growing movement to strengthen our Leaders of Tomorrow Community, across every continent.


 Applications are open for young leaders, under 30, to submit an essay, under the topic: “What are alternatives to economic growth?” to compete for the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award which could qualify you for participation as a Leader of Tomorrow. Some of the perks include:

  • Sharing your thoughts, ideas and visions with global decision makers
  • Expenses for travel, board and lodging covered by organisers
  • CHF 20,000 prize money – shared by three top winners
  • Media coverage
  • Being member of a truly unique and strong global community

Applications close on 1 February 2016 and more info may be found here.


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