Return to Transcripts main page

CONNECT THE WORLD

Merkel Makes the Case for Multilateralism; China's Economy Grows at Slowest Pace since 1990; Interview with Michelle Bachelet, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights; Interview with Nicholas Kristof, Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist, New York Times Columnist; Interview with Mariam Al Mehairi, UAE Minister of State for Food Security; Interview with Alyson Lombardi, Editor-In-Chief, Business Insider U.S. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired January 23, 2019 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[10:00:00] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me Becky Anderson live from Davos this hour with a

packed show for you. So let's get started. It's day two of Davos and the warnings from world leaders on rising populism, shifting world orders, and

a global slowdown just keep on coming.

In the last few hours, Angela Merkel addressed the forewarning that multilateralism must not be downgraded but she also conceded that the

public had lost trust in financial institutions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): If you ask the people in our countries, that believe in a stable international financial

system, has indeed been damaged, quite significantly. And we have to do everything in order to avoid additional problems. If we look at the big

companies, if we look at the balance sheets of big corporations, banks, we know there is still an impact out there. And that we also have less of a

freedom of maneuver to tackle upcoming crises.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, the German Chancellor, not the main attraction today, the Chinese Vice President also took to the stage, amid concerns about

Beijing's economic outlook and the state of trade talks with the United States. We've got all angles covered here today. First, we have anchor,

Julia Chatterley, joining me and our emerging markets editor, John Defterios is outside the Congress Hall. John, we just heard from the

Chinese. What did the Vice President say?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNNMONEY EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, let's first look at the optics, Becky. He was given full World Economic Forum honors, as

you suggested here, outside the Congress Hall almost like a President. And Wang Qishan did not waste the opportunity here. Like Xi Jinping two years

ago, the President of the China, who took to the stage, he was very poetic at times. Quite the opposite from Donald Trump one year ago, who was

banging the podium and suggesting that the U.S. would bully China into an agreement. Wang used the analogy of a pie and said, we have to make the

pie larger and think about the global economy. Don't think about a smaller pie where it is today and cutting up the slices. Then the message to the

United States, don't transfer your domestic problems, competition challenges, to the external partners that you have, notably China.

I also thought it was interesting, he was suggesting even though they produce the slowest growth in 28 years, at 6.6 percent, he said that is

good growth. The idea is to have sustainable growth, reduce poverty going forward. But if you think about it, Becky, over a dozen years, times six,

6.5 percent, you double the size of your GDP. So this is rising China.

He was also very confident about kind of the three priorities for President Xi Jinping who could be president for life. Number one, innovating China

going forward. We know the controversy with Huawei, he didn't sound like he would give any hint to China backing off.

Number two, pushing ahead with the Belton Road Initiative. There is some trepidation about that big project because many think that China is gaining

too much control from Far East Asia, coming through the Middle East, Central Asia and down to Africa. Perhaps laden different countries with

too much debt going forward. And finally here, the move by the President Xi Jinping to root out corruption. This has been a power play by President

Xi, and the Vice President suggested today, we're not over yet, and we plan to make it more user friendly by rooting out corruption in the future --

Becky.

ANDERSON: Julia, anything that the Vice President of China said today that will put to rest concerns around the world about this trade rift between

Beijing and Washington?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR, FIRST MOVE: Absolutely not, I think. I mean, this is a case of fighting fire with fire. I think we can

have a debate over whether we should be growing the pie rather than try to so different pieces of it. But the United States will come back and say,

hang on a second, that pie has already grown over the last few years and there are huge asymmetries in the relationship. And China's got it really

good and has it really good for a long time and those asymmetries need to be addressed. I don't think this gets us any further. I think we've got

key questions about whether China is ultimately willing to put through the kind of reforms that the Americans are asking for and I don't think they

cleared that up today.

ANDERSON: This trade rift, amongst other things, one of the reasons that the IMF is pretty concerned about what's going on at the moment. There is

an undercurrent, a pessimism it seems here. Stand by.

We are looking at some of the challenges, viewers, that the world faces, but some warn the pessimism itself is a risk that could trigger a downturn.

So who's right? This is your chance to get involved. It's your show.

[10:05:00] CNN.com/join. J-O-I-N. As in join the conversation. And cast your vote. Are CEOs and world leaders too pessimistic, about right or too

optimistic? You will see the results in realtime at the bottom of the screen. That is CNN.com/join.

Julia, thoughts.

CHATTERLEY: I think from what I'm hearing, a lot of people here are saying look, we got to strip back some of the rhetoric, there are big concerns out

there, whether it is Brexit, whether it's trade. But the underlying fundamentals here are pretty strong and we have to give it back that good

things are happening in the economy. But that's not to say that trade isn't a huge risk. I mean, I was talking to an Italian bank CEO, and he

was saying Italy is weakening because Germany is weakening and that's weakening because of global trade. So it is having a global impact. And a

deal does need to be done here.

ANDERSON: As we speak, too optimistic, 58 percent. About right, 25 percent. Too pessimistic, 17 percent.

CHATTERLEY: See, people are concerned.

ANDERSON: John is still outside the Congress Hall. We've listened to Angela Merkel today, you've been talking about what the Vice President of

China has said. We also heard from the leader of Japan. Ultimately, John, and as our viewers give us their sense at CNN.com/join, of whether these

world leaders are too optimistic, too pessimistic or just about right. What are you hearing from those that you're talking to around this Congress

Hall and around this meeting as it is?

DEFTERIOS: Let's cover the response I've gotten so far, Becky. First and foremost, people were suggesting that 3.5 percent is not bad. The

Secretary General of OPEC who was on a panel I chaired a little bit earlier. Saying we can live with that, a demand for oil for example would

be strong. I spoke to a number of different industrialists when they came and heard the speech of the Vice President and they said it is the right

tone. Keep the pressure on Donald Trump. But we don't want to break all of the dishes in global trade.

Angela Merkel talked about continuing to support globalization. Shinzo Abe was a little bit disappointing that he didn't move into the fray with China

and the U.S. and say we need to have the solved because it will undermine growth.

Now to the point of the optimism or not, I think we should roll back the clock during the global financial crisis at the World Economic Forum then.

Some were concerned, Becky, that it clearly did not see the hurricane that was about to hit. And I kind of agree with our viewers right now, who well

over 50 percent are saying we are being a little too optimism. We could be blindsided in the second half of 2019, particularly if we don't have a

trade agreement. I think though, that the U.S. and China will realize in March nobody is benefitting from the tough rhetoric, the tough stand, and

not finding an agreement.

ANDERSON: John Defterios, outside the Congress Hall for you. It is seven minutes past 4:00 here in Davos, and this hour, demonstrations taking place

in Venezuela, against the President Nicolas Maduro. Opposition leaders calling for marches across the country with hundreds of thousands of

protesters expected to participate.

Human rights groups have blamed the Maduro government for creating the worst humanitarian crisis the country has ever seen and that is saying

something, folks. Venezuelans facing severe shortages of food and medical supplies. Now the capital Caracas has been named the most violent city in

the world.

My next guest has urged President Maduro to allow an international investigation of the humanitarian situation in the country. Part of that

brief, is the U.N.'s new human rights chief. Michelle Bachelet appoints to the job in September and coming into the role at a time when quite frankly

human rights are under serious attack and in Yemen. The grueling civil war has shattered access for people's basic needs including food and water.

In Myanmar, thousands of Rohingya Muslims accused the military of ethnic cleansing. And while China is accused of imprisoning more than a million

Uighur Muslims in political reeducation camps. The U.S. calling out for separating migrant kids from their parents.

Well Michelle is the U.N. human rights commissioner and the first woman President of Chile, of course. Serving two terms of up to March of last

year. Welcome to this show. And as we talk here, about whether world leaders, and business leaders gathered here, in Davos, are too optimistic,

too pessimistic or just about right. We're going to ask our viewers to vote on that while you and I talk.

What's your perspective? You are looking at a much, much broader dimension here and human rights around the world. What's state of play?

MICHELLE BACHELET, U.N.'S TOP HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICIAL: Well I do believe, Becky, that we are really going into a pushback on matters and a pushback

on human rights everywhere. Every region of the world, in many countries. And we can see that, and we can see what countries are withdrawing from

important agreements.

[10:10:00] Like, you know, the Paris Agreement and others, and sort of trying to weaken multilateral decisions. That I have to say. But even if

that is so, last year we saw two very important successes. First was the Global Compact on Migration, and second, the Global Compact on Refugees.

And third, COP24, vision on climate change.

So I would say, I'm concerned about what is going on today. But I think that the majority of the countries around the world still understand that

we have so many challenges that the only way we can act and have some positively outcomes is to do it together. So multilateralism is I believe

in the hearts of the people a reality.

ANDERSON: Certainly not in the heart of U.S. President Donald Trump. His critics will say he runs a transactional value-based ideology policy,

rather than a values-based policy. Michelle, he hasn't helped, has he? Let's be quite frank. He hasn't helped the world of human rights, the sort

of work that you do. What's your priority this year?

BACHELET: Well, first of all I would say, I mean, when any big leader starts saying some things that can promote, you know, sort of

misinformation, on hate speech, and so on, I think it is negative. Because you have other leaders that will feel that they have a license to speak

whatever they want, and to make policies that are not in the right direction.

But my priorities, is first of all, I want to work a lot more on prevention. Why? Because we know many of the conflicts, you know, the

underlying is the inequalities, you know, the lack of opportunity for people. Of course, inequalities also on a social, economic, really just

gender and so forth. And many times, you know, terrible things could have prevented. For example, Myanmar, far different -- especially saboteurs --

this wouldn't have happened many years ago. So it's about early warning signs. And we do work on that a lot. But also about early reaction.

Because if the international community doesn't react -- but we also want to protection human right defender. Protect civic space that have been

shrinking. And also journalists because they're under attack. And so we - - and also engage the government to do the right thing.

ANDERSON: So you make a lot of sense. Let me put this to you. Back to America, seeing the rise of the right and the return of the strong man

president. Notably Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, but also in Argentina, in Columbia and in your very own country Chile. You are part of a tide of

leftist leaders that swept into power. How do you explain this turn of events?

BACHELET: Well, I think there are many reasons. Sometimes, you know, in democracy, people want to alternate, and try new leaderships, to see if

they can respond better. I think there is a problem that in Latin America -- that is mainly universal, and we have seen it in Europe and in the U.S.

-- that people are not I would say satisfied how politics work, and they feel that political parties don't respond to their needs as they should.

ANDERSON: I think that is right in a lot of cases.

BACHELET: In a lot of cases, yes. But in some other place, there is corruption. And people, you know, our really suffering. And they hate

that big leaders have a lot of money and they are living in bad conditions. So it's different, it's different in some cases, you know, it's rage. It's

lack of understanding that politics has to play a role. And third, there is also the violence, and the insecurity that they live in, that all of

these kind of things have made people -- and I have seen it many times. When people feel insecure, they believe that strong people, that could even

repress, will solve the problem.

ANDERSON: Conflict and insecurity. Two of the risks singled out by the global risk report here. We can see cybersecurity. We can see recession

as part of those global risks as well. But it has been interesting to see conflict, insecurity, climate change, for example, also right up there.

Now, a lot of talk at this conference about these very issues, which I think you and I agree, it is about time, too. How are human rights, for

example, linked to these issue, the environment, climate change?

BACHELET: To be honest, in the past, it was not too much. When I arrived at the office, there was one person working on this.

ANDERSON: These things are interchangeable, aren't they?

BACHELET: But for me, you know, I feel that the whole human rights are indivisible, so it is one of our main issues is political and civil rights,

but I also have been pushing very hard that we are much more economic social, cultural wise, and also be so-called third-generation,

environmental right, and digital, digital space, cyberspace, and artificial intelligence. And to be honest, because I am a very convinced person of

the climate change, it is a real threat.

[10:15:00] And if we don't stop it, I mean, all human rights will be violated. I am pushing myself. I have been participating here in Davos on

lots of environmental issues.

ANDERSON: Year after year about how this is an emergency. This year it feels as if it's getting some traction. Just before I let you go. Your

office says the criminal trial in Saudi Arabia of Jamal Khashoggi's suspected killers doesn't meet your requirements. Michelle, what are you

going to do about it?

BACHELET: Well, we have asked for an internationally independent committee who would investigate this. Because I think, you know, the Khashoggi case

shows something that is more general, that is the danger and the threat posed to journalists. I mean, the Khashoggi case was very famous because

of what happened. But you know, we have reports of journalist. Dying every time, last week in Ghana, an investigative journalist was killed last

year, two in Europe, so it not only on the south --

ANDERSON: It doesn't have to be a journalist though. It doesn't have to be a journalist

ANDERSON: And in Mexico, many journalists. So I think our responsibility in Khashoggi's case is important for the family, for the country, for the

international committee but also to ensure that journalists -- so people don't understand that you harm journalists, is not customary.

ANDERSON: And we leave it there.

BACHELET: OK.

ANDERSON: A pleasure having you on.

BACHELET: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Good luck.

BACHELET: Until next time.

ANDERSON: Thank you.

BACHELET: Bye, bye.

Michelle Bachelet is the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights United on the show. Important guests. We are live from Davos this hour

and all this week. It a power gathering that shapes our world here. A lot more ahead on the show. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're back with us at Davos and for those who are just joining us, you are more than welcome.

So goes Davos, so goes the world. We've been getting real insight into the big existential stuff going on around us that can feel like an Armageddon

of challenges. Well to help compress it all, let's bringing in Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, sometimes described as Indiana Jones of the

journalism world. He's visited something like 150 countries and counting as I understand. A man who shrinks the world down into an easy to

understand column for "The New York Times." Who else but Nicholas Kristof, who needs no introduction. But, sir, I'm going to give our viewers one

anyway, so bear with me.

For million, you are a global moral barometer, taking the temperature of injustice.

[10:20:00] Like almost single-handedly putting the crisis in Darfur on the map. You do though take a special interest in my normal neck of the woods,

the Middle East. A few years back, when there were low-key drum beats of war toward Iran, you did you what you do, you went there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST, (voice-over): So I set out to try to take the pulse of the country by talking to ordinary Iranian, asking

them as many questions as possible.

(on camera): So the bottom line is you that envy American women or you don't?

KRISTOF: If an Iranian want to get a girlfriend, he's much better off with a real Nike shoe and not a fake one, is that right?

KRISTOF: Do you think you would have been a better President than Ahmadinejad?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, not sure we got the answer out of that one. But we can discuss that.

KRISTOF: My ears are burning.

ANDERSON: Finding real people, living normal live, not diabolical caricatures bent on blowing America sky high. Before that Nick thought

bulldozing Iraq's dictator was morally right. Only warning it would be expensive and dangerous for U.S. troops.

Just weeks ago, forever burning this haunting photograph, into our collective consciousness, a Yemen child starving to death. The message,

American tax dollars at work. The Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen, run by the kingdom's young Crown Prince, who Nick describes as a mad murderous

crown prince. So, Nicholas, do you stand by that comment, and indeed, do you actually see the possibility of peace now on the horizon in Yemen?

KRISTOF: You know, we've been very focused on Jamal, of course, and Jamal was my friend. Actually, I think I first met Jamal here at Davos. But at

the end of the day, what matters most is those who are still alive. And the growing number of people in Yemen who are starving. Like the women's

right activists who have been arrested and tortured in Saudi Arabia. And so the Crown Prince has continued the repression. If anything, he's dialed

it up. I don't see any signs of openness or retreat from his approach. And so, and it seems to me that the international community, with the

exception of Canada, hasn't really been willing to stand up to him. The United States seems to think he has the leverage, when actually we're the

ones with the leverage.

ANDERSON: What about Yemen? Let me provide a context for this. Because whatever happens with the investigation into who murdered Jamal Khashoggi,

I think it is very clear that there was momentum around the world to get a solution on Yemen. And that had to happened before Jamal's death, but it

certainly accelerated, hasn't, it since?

KRISTOF: Clearly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates feel under greater pressure. I think the UAE in particular. I think that the Crown

Prince is nervous about retreating. But look, the war is almost 4 years old. He did it to try to signal his strength. In fact, he's shown his

weakness and the country's weakness, like almost everything else he has done, you know, everything he touches breaks. Thank goodness the U.N. and

others has pushed for the agreement around Hodeidah, the port of Hodeidah, but at the end of the day this effective blockade is largely continuing and

people continue to starve.

ANDERSON: I have to say, you're one of the few people who remain as pessimistic as you sound. There surely is some optimism. The Stockholm

talks, you know, while minimizing expectation -- Martin Griffiths was absolutely clear about that. There has been progress on the ground?

KRISTOF: So the progress in Hodeidah is real. And Martin Griffiths and other the U.N. team did heroic work to accomplish that. And clearly, the

Saudi Arabia and UAE are under greater pressure. But at the end of the day, more people are starving now than were starving a few months ago. And

if we continue to have this kinds of progress, a lot more Yemenis are going to die.

ANDERSON: I can tell you from living in the region, nobody in Saudi Arabia or UAE wants this war to continue. Let's be quite frank, I mean,

seriously.

KRISTOF: Well, that's certainly true. It's just a question of kind of what they are willing to do to pull out. And I am afraid that they think

that they will be giving Iran a gift if they pull out.

ANDERSON: And they face an existential threat from Iran. Let me move on. The American President meant to be here with us, but actually he's back

home because of what is the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. Here people donating to the Coast Guard because they're not getting paid.

This surely is the result of a systemic dysfunction in Washington. John Kerry here today, calling for the U.S. President to resign. Will he?

Should he?

[10:25:00] KRISTOF: I think he won't. At least not unless things get a lot worse. But, you know, it is certainly true. I mean as you know,

traditionally, in Davos, leader, the tendency of international elites was kind of scorn countries with dysfunctional political and economic systems.

And I think the first one I attended was an aftermath of the Asian economic crisis in 1997-1998, and everybody was denouncing cronyism and political

systems that couldn't actually yield results. Now it is the United States that seems to be fitting into that mold. It's profoundly embarrassing.

ANDERSON: What kind of contender will he face should he decide to run -- not resign -- should he decide to run in 2020? Who will the U.S. President

face in these campaigns on the Democratic side?

KRISTOF: You know, the one thing we should have learned from the last time around, I know, if we were having a discussion in four years, we would be

talking about Jeb Bush's strengths.

ANDERSON: Good point.

KRISTOF: And so, the one thing we should have learned is that our predictive ability about political nominees is about as good as our

prediction of the weather a few years from now.

ANDERSON: Some notable absentees from this meeting, U.S. President Donald Trump, Theresa May -- who's got her mother of all messes as "The Economist"

calls it, with regard to Brexit. No Emmanuel Macron -- he loves a meeting like this, but he's the yellow vests issue going on. As you've probably

gathered an undercurrent of pessimistic here at the World Economic Forum. Some are warning that pessimism itself is a risk. We've been asking viewer

-- viewers get involved on this. CNN.com/join. Your votes tallied at the bottom of this screen. Are CEOs and world leader, Nick, too pessimistic,

about right or too optimistic. That is the question of the day.

KRISTOF: I'd say about right. All of the drivers of economic growth, whether it's China, Europe, or America, face real challenges. But I would

say that opinion here in Davos tends to be a lagging indicator rather than a leading indicator.

ANDERSON: That's fascinating. You used your position in America's paper of record, to argue, let me quote you precisely, that 2018 was actually the

best year in human history. You veer on the side of optimism. So, two questions to you. With so much tumult in the world, why would you say

that? And should 2019 pan out the way 2018 did? Are you quite optimistic about the future?

KRISTOF: So people are thinking I'm totally off my rocker and let me explain. You know, in the news business, we cover planes that crash, not

planes that take off and that's right. I mean, we should be covering things that are screwed up. But I think we also in the news business have

to step back and acknowledge a backdrop of progress. And so every day I think 295,000 people graduate from extreme poverty from around the world,

305,000 get clean water for the first time. A similar number get electricity for the first time. When I graduated from college, 41 percent

of the world's population lived in extreme poverty. And now fewer than 10 percent do. The number of kids dying before the age of five has dropped by

more than half since 1990. So, you know, it's right that we cover planes that crash, but every now and then, I think we have to step back and point

out that actually there are a lot of planes that are taking off as well.

ANDERSON: You make a good point. I've often wondered whether news has to be bad news. It doesn't, does it?

KRISTOF: No, I mean it doesn't, and at least if we focus on all of the bad things, we have to periodically acknowledge this backdrop of things going

right.

ANDERSON: Nick Kristof in the house, prize winning journalist, humanitarian, "New York Times" columnist and a new friend of CONNECT THE

WORLD. Nick, thank you for coming on.

KRISTOF: Good to be with you.

ANDERSON: Live from Davos in Switzerland, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. Coming up, border security, cybersecurity, national

security, these are phrases we hear daily. But is the one threat we are ignoring? That to the food on our table? That's the question. That's up

next.

[10:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: The Garden of Eden is no more. Those are the words of broadcaster, an environmentalist, David Attenborough. And scenes like

these make that statement hard to deny. He spoke here in Davos on Tuesday, warning of the dangers of climate change, a topic high on this year's

agenda here in the Swiss mountains. And one of the greatest risks of course, if we destroy our Garden of Eden, is a very simple one. What will

we eat?

Many, including the U.N.'s World Food Program, have explicitly made the link between food security and climate change. The body says almost half,

half of its emergency programs in the past decade alone have been in response to climate-related disasters and have cost $23 billion U.S.

Of course, climate change not the only factor impacting food security. Conflict and poverty also play a role. My next guest is well qualified to

talk about this very issue. Her name is Mariam Al Mehairi, and she's the minister of state for food security for the UAE. And it wouldn't surprise

you that food security is amongst those global risks. Highlighted as the most pressing in a report released here. But it may surprise many people

around the world to know that there is a minister for food security in a country which is a lot more politically and economically stable than those

that we normally associate with food security.

MARIAM AL MEHAIRI, MINISTER OF STATE FOR FOOD SECURITY: Thanks, Becky. Thanks for having me. So food security is all about enabling citizens to

have access to safe, nutrition, sufficient and affordable food at all times. The UAE imports about 90 percent of its food. With climate change,

impacts population raise, which means food demand is on the rise, too. All of these are going to impact also our flow of food to the country. And

that's probably the main reason of why food security is now a national priority.

[10:35:00] When I first referred the, received the post, His Highness, Mohammed bin Rashid, the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates said to

me, Mariam, we need a plan. We need to adopt technology and we need to enhance the R&D agenda for food security. So we're very happy to say that

we've put a plan in place. The national food security strategy for the UAE was launched two months ago. Also, adopting ag-tech is now on the rise as

well.

ANDERSON: I wanted to talk to about this. We were talking to the minister of AI here yesterday on this show, and Al Olama was just reminding me that

AI technology data embedded across all ministries in the UAE. So tell me about ag-tech. Give me a concrete example of what you're doing.

AL MEHAIRI: OK, so first of all, ag-tech is agriculture technology, and agriculture encompasses, vegetable, livestock, fish farm, all of the likes

of food production. Now when I started to look at how we're producing food in the UAE, I said the same, we need to disrupt the food systems we have.

We need to think of future-proofing our food systems. And the way to do that, us being a water scarce country, not having much arable land, we need

to talk of technology and how we could adopt technology.

So the first thing I had to think about, is how can we build an ecosystem in the UAE to actually attract and adopt technology to the United Arab

Emirates? So we basically had to remove many barriers that were existing. I brought the private sector together, the academia, local authorities,

federal governments, and said, look, what are the barriers we have? Why are we not adopting technology as fast as we would like to see it? And

believe it or not, over 100 challenges came up. So I'm like --

ANDERSON: 100?

AL MEHAIRI: Over 100 challenges. So what we did was we filtered out these to come the -- let's say eight most impactful challenges that we could

remove quickly. We used the government accelerator program -- this is, by the way, also an initiative that his highness put down. He said, use this

platform, bring together everyone, and then in 100 days, remove whatever challenges you have. So I did that. I got them all working, and I

suddenly had 100 employees and 100 days. And just two weeks ago, we launched ten initiatives that will really help the UAE build a new sector

for ag-tech.

ANDERSON: You are one of nine female ministers.

AL MEHAIRI: That's right.

ANDERSON: Nearly 30 percent of the cabinet. All of whom exhaust me in the work that you do. You are often given 100 days, to sort something out.

And in other places around the world may have taken 100 years.

The UAE, of course, part of the coalition fighting against the Houthis in Yemen, the already poverty ridden nation's plight exacerbated by the

conflict there. The U.N. estimates that 60 percent of people in Yemen, some 18 million are food insecure due to the war. And the World Food

Program, WFP, reporting that food aid is being used there by the Houthis as a political pawn. Stealing the food from the hungries mouths is what the

head of the WFP says the Houthis are doing. How far can foreign aid go in terms of food security in terms of -- in times of war? And is it a

sustainable model, do you think, going forward?

AL MEHAIRI: Look, Becky, when we start thinking of globally, and the UAE is a perfect example of we look at things globally, and we are actually a

perfect example of a globalization in the UAE. Because we have over 200 nationalities living there, we are all there to innovate, to solve problems

and we do a lot of work on that. We do a lot of work with the World Food Program. And I am now also in talks with them, and trying to really

provide tools, and looking at technologies that we can actually use for arid hot climate countries to actually grow foods. We need to basically

reintroduce, as well, heritage crops again. We need to also -- this is the R&D side, that we can do in the UAE, and we can bring about to these

places, so that they actually have things to do themselves.

ANDERSON: Fascinating stuff. It's been a pleasure having you on.

AL MEHAIRI: Thank you so much.

ANDERSON: Minister Mariam, thank you.

AL MEHAIRI: Thank you.

ANDERSON: A lot of people not feeling good about this state of play in the world. Tell us viewers, what you make of it. Our chief execs and world

leaders being too pessimistic -- we've got a very optimistic minister here -- or have they got it about right or are they feeling a little too happy

about all of this? That's the question that we've been asking you, our viewers today. And I'm curious to hear your thoughts. As things stand at

the moment and this is changing as we speak. Too pessimistic, 16 percent. About right, 23 percent. And a lot of you saying that some of the business

leader, the thought leaders, the global leaders out there, a little too optimistic about what is going on at present. It is your show. Tell us

what you think. CNN.com/join.

[10:40:03] All right, we are going to take a very short break at this point. Mariam Al Mehairi has been with me. The UAE minister for food

security.

Still to come, American government workers are off to the bank, the food bank, that is. The latest on that long, long shutdown up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Imagine working for nearly a month with no paycheck as the bills keep piling up. I'm talking about when you have a full-time, full-paying

jobs. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers are facing exactly that. Financial hardship, as the longest government shutdown in history grinds

on.

Now, the Senate will vote on dueling bills later this week as Democrats are locked in a standoff with Republicans over the President demand for a

border wall -- or fence, whatever he wants to call it.

Well Donald Trump has debuted a new slogan about the wall on Twitter that you will probably hear again and again and again. Build a wall and crime

will fall. Exclamation mark. He calls that the new theme until the wall is finished. Let's bring in CNN's Phil Mattingly who is live on Capitol

Hill. There's little expectation that either of these bills in the Senate will pass, correct?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. But you have to think about it from this perspective. When there is no active

in the Senate for the better part of the last 30 day, some action, even action that will fail, is considered at least a modicum of success, I

guess. I think the important point here is when you talk to House and Senate aides who have been involved in this and recognize that it has been

a completely impasse. Completely frozen from a negotiation stands point for weeks at a time, that the Senate moving on something, even if it is

planning to fail, even if it's designed to fail, maybe at some point in some odd manner shake things lose.

Look, the bottom line here has remained the same for now 33 days. Democrats will not negotiate on border security until the government is

reopened. The President will not reopen the government until his wall is funded. At some point someone is going to have to move off their bottom

line. And you mentioned, 800,000 federal workers this Friday will mark the second paycheck they missed. You talked about the food banks, there's

protests from government and union workers happening today on Capitol Hill. The pressure is certainly ramping up. There's no way it couldn't at this

point.

The biggest question is, you talk to rank-and-file members from both the House and Senate, they're frustrated, they're tired of this. They want it

to end but they can't figure out a way to push their leaders to that point. What will get them to that point? Will it be the pain of their

constituents? The pain of what they're seeing in the headlines on TV? With the FBI, with the TSA, all of those things? Or will there just be

some movement because of the legislative action this week? If you have an answer to that question, I would love to hear it. But for right now that's

the big open one right now.

ANDERSON: Phil Mattingly, out of Washington, where it is quarter to 11:00 in the morning. Phil, thank you.

[10:45:00] The U.S. government shutdown taking a toll on the economy. Standard & Poor's says the shutdown cost the U.S. more than a billion a

week in lost productivity and other problems. Just a few minutes ago, the White House's chief economist told CNN that if the shutdown drags on, the

U.S. could be looking at zero growth in the first quarter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Could we get zero growth? I want to nail this down?

KEVIN HASSETT, CHAIRMAN, WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL FOR ECONOMIC ADVISORS: Yes, we could.

Yes, we could, yes.

OK. Wow, all right.

HASSETT: If it's extended for the whole quarter and given the fact that the first quarter tends to be low, because of residual seasonality, then

you could end up with a number very close to zero the first quarter. But then again, the second quarter number would be humongous if the government

reopened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Let's talk about this with Alyson Lombardi. She's the editor-in-chief of "Business Insider U.S.". Let's get your reaction to exactly what we've

just heard there.

ALYSON LOMBARDI, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, BUSINESS INSIDER U.S.: It is very concerning. I mean this has been called the longest and the dumbest

shutdown in U.S. history. I would tend to agree. It is about a wall. A wall of which by the way, this is costing the U.S. economy more than the

$5.7 billion that Donald Trump is asking for, by the end of this week. So it is a pretty big problem.

ANDERSON: Isn't this a classic example of how representative democracy just doesn't work these days? I think about Brexit and how narcissistic

many people say, you know, British politicians are being, and on both sides of the divide, let's be quite clear about this, in the U.S., lawmakers

aren't listening to what their -- the constituents are saying. They are just arguing the toss, leaving these constituents without paychecks, going

into what is now the second month. When will this stop?

LOMBARDI: If is definitely a battle of egos I would say. Nancy Pelosi has a lot to gain by standing up to Trump. You know, she was newly-appointed

to her position. Trump, of course, has an ego as we all know. And he takes a lot of pride in his wall, and what he promised his base. And his

base is very upset that he might let funding go through with no wall money. And he doesn't want to disappoint them. So you're definitely seeing a

battle of egos to some extent. It's important to remember that Trump did shut down the government, he said he was proud to shut down the government,

the Democrat, as Chuck Schumer says, don't want to be held hostage every time the President does not get his way. And unfortunately, the American

people are suffering and so is the economy.

ANDERSON: Let's bring up that tweet that Donald Trump has published, which we assume he will re-tweet again and again and again, about the wall.

Build the wall, no crime at all.

Is that what he said? Let's just bring it up again. Can we bring that up again? We're looking for it at the moment.

LOMBARDI: He did say that.

ANDERSON: We couldn't bring it up again. It is, build a wall, and crime will fall. There you go. Exclamation mark, of course.

LOMBARDI: Of course. Well it's important to note that drugs, which he says are a big crisis at the border, actually, most drugs come through

ports of entry. A wall is not proven by any means to block that. And it's also important to realize that Democrats aren't saying we won't give you

any border money at all, we're just saying not for a wall.

ANDERSON: Just won't give you 5.5 billion.

LOMBARDI: Yes, and we won't give you 5.5 billion. But for a wall. We'll give you border security. We'll give you better tech. That all seems

pretty reasonable.

ANDERSON: Build a wall and crime will fall. This is the new theme, for two years until the Wall is finished -- under construction now -- he says,

of the Republican Party. Use it and pray!

Now I think it's really interesting there. He says this will be effectively the new mantra for the Republican Party for the next two years.

He is assuming that the Republican Party will not disconnect from President Donald Trump. Is he right to assume that?

LOMBARDI: I think that he is right that his base, 30 percent, will not move from Trump. And that's really the base that he's going after here

with this wall demand. He really, really wants to appease them.

ANDERSON: Talk about the GOP though, not his base, but the party itself. They have an election to win in 2020.

That's true. Yes, I mean, personally, I just don't see anyone, I think Trump will be, I think he will be in good position, come 2020, no matter if

the wall come through or not.

ANDERSON: John Kerry said he should resign. He said that here in Davos.

LOMBARDI: Yes, and plenty of people think maybe eventually he'll be impeached. But the way I see it now, I think he's got good position. And

it's hard to think about who can stand up against him at the moment. There isn't a clear winner. There isn't a clear winner emerging. It's

interesting.

ANDERSON: I want to bring up our poll that we have been running because this is absolutely fascinating. The shows is the viewers, you and I are

just here being paid to do this work, it is all about the viewers. CNN.com/join.

We've been talking about this sort of undercurrent of pessimism here at the World Economic Forum and I want to discuss with you what you are hearing

from some U.S. business leaders and others. And obviously, when you look at some of the challenges that the world faces, there are those who say

that pessimism itself is a risk that could trigger a downturn.

[10:50:00] So who's right? We've been asking the viewers, too pessimistic, 15 percent. About right, 22 percent. Too optimistic, say our viewers --

and we're talking about world leaders and business leaders here -- 63 percent. Your thoughts?

LOMBARDI: My thoughts are that I think the pessimism is a bit of a short- term view. I think long term, the world is getting better every day, undeniably. And so there is a lot to be optimistic about. And I think

people who are pessimistic are looking at just a short-term view.

ANDERSON: Do you buy this argument that too much pessimism is actually a risk to the world and its economy?

LOMBARDI: Sure, I think --

ANDERSON: In and of itself.

LOMBARDI: Yes, I think so. I think there is a bit of, you know, when you say something too much, it winds up being true. I think you could see that

being effective at a stock market for sure and in the economy in general.

ANDERSON: It has been a pleasure having you on, Alyson Lombardi, thank you for --

LOMBARDI: Thank you so much.

ANDERSON: -- making some time. We are live from Davos this week and all this week, a powerful gathering that shapes our world. Taking a very short

break. More to come.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. If you are just joining us, you are more than welcome. It's just before 5:00 here in

Davos.

Concern over the global state of affair, something we all share. This worry itself though might become concerning as it could trigger a downturn.

We've been discussing this all hour. And our question to you folks today is, are world leaders and business leaders too pessimistic? Take out your

phones, head to CNN.com/join to vote. Are they too pessimistic, about right, or maybe too optimistic? You see the results in realtime at the

bottom of the screen. Well by far and away most of you think there's a little too much optimism bubbling around Davos. So let's ask why?

Yes, we do face huge global challenges. And yes, it does sometimes feel like the end is nigh in the world. But my fascinating chat with Nicholas

Kristof, for example, a few moments ago in the show, really pointed to how many things are actually getting so much better globally. Day by day

people are by and large richer, healthier, and more -- I'm talking about people who in the past have had no opportunities. Who've been in poverty.

So the sort of issues that we've talked about, the sort of ethereal issues. You know, that of poverty. Actually things in some parts of the world are

getting better.

We've talked about the problem, but each time about solution, too when it comes for example, to food security. People are working on food security.

Connecting a world to you, to a world on the move. Onwards and upwards. And we will be bringing you the same here tomorrow as well.

South Korea's foreign minister will be here with me. And we will be talking about nuclear peace.

[10:55:00] And for a little light relief, we will be joined by a cartoonist from "The New York Times," who has been having quite some fun here ins

Davos, I have to say. Well come rain or shine, and as you can see, there's an awful lot of snow here. We are talking to the big players in Davos like

Lebanon's Foreign Minister just yesterday. You can find out a lot more about the content, if you missed, do use our Facebook page. That's

Facebook.com/CNNConnect.

I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Do let us know what you've learned from the show, how you feel about the world, pessimistic,

optimistic, just about right, CNN.com/join. From the scene here in Davos, in Atlanta, London and Abu Dhabi, yes, we're a real global show, thank you

for watching. We will be back same time, same place tomorrow.

END