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First Move with Julia Chatterley
President Biden's $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan and the Tax Raises to Pay for it; Deliveroo Shares Plunge on its Stock Market Debut; Volkswagens's Name Change Prank Misfires. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired March 31, 2021 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Live from New York, I'm Alison Kosik, in for Julia Chatterley. This is FIRST MOVE and here is your need to
Tax and spend. President Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure plan and the tax raises to pay for it.
Off the menu. Deliveroo shares plunge on its stock market debut.
And Volkswagens's volte-face. The car makers name change prank misfires.
It's Wednesday. Let's make a move.
Welcome to FIRST MOVE. Great to have you with us this Wednesday. Let's begin with a check of the markets.
U.S. futures are mostly higher as we kick off the last trading day of the first quarter. The action on Wall Street has been choppy so far this week
amid investor nervousness over the failure of investment fund Archegos.
But the overall economic news from the U.S. remains solid. Just released numbers show that some 517,000 private sector jobs were added to the U.S.
economy this month. It's a bit weaker than expected, but the biggest gain in six months.
The U.S. reporting yesterday that consumer confidence is at its highest levels since the start of the COVID crisis. A separate report shows housing
prices rising at their fastest pace in 15 years.
Taking a look at other global markets, a weaker picture in Europe and Asia. China fell despite news that factory activity there strengthened further
this month. In Tokyo, shares of the Mitsubishi UFG Financial Group fell more than three percent after disclosing potential losses of some $300
million due to the Archegos debacle.
Credit Suisse is falling further in European trading today, too, as it also tallies up the damage from doing business with Archegos.
Okay, let's get right to the drivers now, and another big focus for investors, the release of President Biden's massive new spending proposal.
The U.S. President travels to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania today to lay out his vision for an America with state of the art transportation and a greener
economy. His build back better plan will necessitate higher corporate taxes. Wall Street will be closely watching the response on Capitol Hill to
see how much he can get passed.
Christine Romans joins me now Christine, great to see you. So many questions with this one. First of all, walk us through, you know what's in
it? How much will it cost? Who's going to pay for it? And I think the biggest question of all: will this massive thing pass?
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's big. Let's first start there. It's big and the White House itself is framing
this, Alison, as a once in multiple generation chance to get a fairer economy for everyone.
In fact, they're casting this as public domestic spending, like we haven't seen since the United States built its highway system and won the space
race. That's the way the White House is framing this.
So what's in it? The first thing we're going to hear about today is infrastructure and we are talking about the electric grid, clean drinking
water, high speed broadband, roads, bridges, rails, the childcare economy, all kinds of things.
How do you pay for it? Raising the corporate rate to 28 percent, that's what markets and corporate executives are really watching here. Increase
the global minimum tax on U.S. companies and Federal subsidies for fossil fuel firms and close loopholes and some deductions that even after tax
reform in 2017, this administration, the Biden administration says, you know, some companies just have an edge on others because of those loopholes
in corporate tax reform.
What you're hearing a lot from the White House in this lengthy -- this lengthy sort of one sheet fact sheet they sent out, which is actually 38
pages is that this is about fairness and the 2017 Trump tax cuts weren't fair. They were really skewed to companies and the very wealthy, and so to
rebuild the American economy the right way, in the minds of this administration, you will have rich Americans paying a tax rate back to what
they did under George W. Bush, and you will have companies footing the bill.
I will point out, however, those corporate tax increases that are being proposed here at 28 percent, that's a starting point. Jen Psaki, Brian
Deese, a lot of folks from the White House this morning are out there on television saying that they're willing to talk about ways to pay for this,
the 28 percent corporate tax rates still below the 35 percent pre-Trump tax cuts.
KOSIK: Christine, we have a lot of Republicans calling this basically a Democratic wish list saying that it's going to cause a spike in inflation,
cause interest rates to rise. Where does the public stand on this proposal? How does the public feel about this?
ROMANS: Well, many of these -- many of these are very, very popular, right, and some of them for example, the enhanced child tax credit and some
of the -- some of the supports for working families that were passed on under the most recent $1.9 trillion stimulus, they want to make that
permanent. That would be the second part of this do big infrastructure push.
That will be -- publicly, it would be hard to take some of those things away, some of those props for working families that they will feel that
will allow more opportunity.
Two years of free community college, polls show that's pretty popular as well. There could be, we don't know for sure what's going to be in the
second part of this, but there's talk of the minimum wage, certainly many progressives and middle the road Democrats are really interested in raising
the minimum wage. So we'll see what's in here.
What you will hear from Republicans, though, is that this is an FDR style new deal for the American worker and for the American public. And what
you'll hear from progressives is, yes, it's an FDR style new deal for the American public.
So both agree that it's very big and potentially transformative. One side doesn't like it, the other does.
The President has said again, and again, though he will not raise -- directly raise taxes that anyone making less than $400,000.00 a year, on
that they've been consistent.
KOSIK: Christine, thanks so much for thoroughly breaking that down and answering all of my questions. Great to see you.
ROMANS: You had good questions.
KOSIK: Thank you. Shares in Deliveroo plunging on its first day of trading. The food delivery service went public on the London Stock Exchange
this morning. The highly anticipated listing was London's biggest in a decade. Anna Stewart joins me live now.
You know, this is an Amazon-backed company, and you'd think that everything Amazon touches turns to gold. We are not seeing it with this company. Hi,
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Well really not, this IPO did not really deliver, did it? The issue price was 3.90 pounds. In the first few minutes
of trade, Alison, it slumped by around 30 percent. We'll bring you that share price now. You'll see it is at 2.86 pounds. It has had a little bit
of recovery, but really not a good start.
This was always going to be a really fascinating IPO. Deliveroo is a food delivery app. It is one of those sort of rare winners. It prospered during
the pandemic, but it faces some really massive challenges. Take a look.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready for that Burger King.
STEWART (voice over): A pandemic proved to be the perfect recipe for food delivery apps. For the public order to stay at home and restaurants ordered
to shut their doors to diners, demand exploded.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your favorite restaurants are back on Deliveroo.
STEWART (voice over): Deliveries revenue jumped 64 percent last year compared to 2019.
STEWART (on camera): This sort of growth may not be sustainable. As lockdowns lift and they already are here in the U.K., people will be able
to return to restaurants, to bars, to cinemas and nightclubs.
And if you can go out, why stay in?
STEWART (voice over): Founded in London in 2013, Deliveroo hasn't yet turned a profit despite the increased demand last year.
In the initial stages of the pandemic, it was close to collapse and rescued by Amazon, which remains its biggest investor. Deliveroo operates in 12
markets around the world. It is most reliant on the U.K. and Ireland, which accounts for over half its revenue.
It's not the first delivery app to join the IPO bandwagon. It follows Uber Eats, parent company, GrubHub; DoorDash, and Just Eat.
Although, Deliveroo has a slightly different offering.
SUSANNAH STREETER, SENIOR INVESTMENT ANALYST, HARGREAVES LANSDOWN: What Deliveroo does offer which is different is more access to say higher end
restaurants. Whereas some of its competitors are really going off to the takeaway market.
It's opened up the opportunity for you to go direct to your favorite restaurant, and then have that delivered at home.
STEWART (voice over): Deliveroo also partners with restaurants setting up delivery only kitchens by its additions business, maximizing supply of
cuisine in high demand locations.
Several big U.K. investors have told CNN, they won't be buying Deliveroo shares due to concerns over workers' rights.
STREETER: Look at the recent ruling against Uber. And now Uber has promised to give all of its workers in the U.K. worker status. Now, even
though Deliveroo would say that its model is different, in fact, it's fought through the courts to prove that.
There is without a doubt going to be changes down the line, not least in the European market because the European Commission is looking at the way
the gig economy works.
So in those markets that Deliveroo might want to expand into even further, there are questions about its model going forward.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the year of food.
STEWART (voice over): There are clear challenges ahead for Deliveroo. Of course, that may not dampen investor appetite for yet another new tech
stock on the market.
STEWART (on camera): Well, Alison, as it turns out, this stock simply wasn't tasty enough for many investors and there are so many factors as to
why lots are weighing in here. There's the fact that it's a really crowded sector. I've seen multiple delivery drivers pass me in the last hour.
The valuation was quite lofty according to some investors, not least given this is a company that has not delivered a profit. There's the issue of the
gig economy and whether or not this company will have to reclassify some of its riders as employees, which will be very expensive and also this was a
dual class share structure listing.
STEWART: This is quite rare in the U.K., much more common in the U.S. and on the NASDAQ and even the founder, Will Shu, would retain over 50 percent
of voting shares and that put off a lot of institutional investors who came out days before saying they were going to shun the stock, and Alison, it
looks like they have.
KOSIK: All right, Anna Stewart, thanks so much for your great reporting.
Fashion giant H&M responding to a firestorm in China over its comments on alleged forced labor in Xinjiang. H&M issues a statement saying it is
dedicated to regaining the trust of Chinese customers.
Selina Wang joins us live with more.
From what I understand, Selina, this statement, at least the newest one from H&M comes as part of H&M's first quarter 2021 earnings report.
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alison, that's right and we don't really learn much new information here. This statement is strategically very
carefully worded. It doesn't mention anything that landed H&M in hot water in the first place, no mention of cotton, forced labor or Xinjiang because
what H&M is trying to do here is walk a very delicate tightrope.
It is trying to both satisfy the Chinese consumer, trying to reduce the patriotic fury that is the target of, while also trying to address human
Now in this statement, it says quote: "Our long term commitment to the country remains strong having been present there for more than 30 years. We
have witnessed remarkable progress within the Chinese textile industry. We are dedicated to regaining the trust and confidence of our customers,
colleagues and business partners in China."
This is a key market as they say, in that statement, it is one of its top five biggest markets and H&M all got into this hot fire because the
Communist Party Youth League, a group linked to the Communist Party recently dug up a six-month-old statement where H&M had expressed concerns
about reports of forced labor in cotton production in Xinjiang that then unleashed a fury of nationalistic outrage from state media, from internet
It quickly spread to many other western brands and many other foreign brands including Nike and Burberry, but really H&M has been hit the hardest
from this outrage. Analysts expect that they are going to see the biggest financial drop, but that for all the brands, this is going to be temporary
and short lived and it will eventually bounce back.
KOSIK: Selina, we are also hearing that BBC, the broadcast network has moved its China correspondent to Taiwan from Beijing. Do you know what is
behind that move?
WANG: Well, Alison, this is just another example of how it is just becoming harder and harder to be a foreign correspondent in China.
This comes as the BBC has been under enormous pressure for its reporting especially in its critical reporting of Xinjiang. Recently, the BBC World
News was banned from China. Last year, we had many foreign journalists from the U.S. get expelled from major news organizations from their bases in
The Foreign Correspondents Club of China says that press freedoms are rapidly declining and that authorities in China are using all arms of state
to intimidate and harass journalists.
They released a statement about John Sudworth's move. They said that, quote: "Sudworth left after months of personal attacks and disinformation
targeting him and his BBC colleagues. He forms one of an ever larger number of journalists driven out of China by unacceptable harassment."
Now, the BBC have recently reported stories of women in China who said that they faced systematic rape, abuse and torture in camps in Xinjiang. This is
where the U.S. State Department estimates as many as two million people would be detained in internment camps. This is something that Beijing has
They have accused the BBC of spreading lies. Now, the BBC has not elaborated on this move from Beijing to Taiwan for John Sudworth, but they
did say that Sudworth's work exposed truths about China that the authorities did not want to see -- Alison.
KOSIK: Okay, Selina Wang, thanks so much.
And these are the stories making headlines around the world.
The third day of testimony in the Derek Chauvin murder trial resumes in Minneapolis next hour. Yesterday, six witnesses who saw George Floyd die
took the stand, four of them age 18 and under and some of them choking back tears.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENA SCURRY, 911 DISPATCHER: My instincts were telling me that something is wrong, something was not right. I don't know what, but something wasn't
DONALD WYNN WILLIAMS II, WITNESS: They called the police on the police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And why did you do that?
WILLIAMS: Because I believe I witnessed a murder.
VOICE OF UNDERAGE WITNESS: I almost walked away at first because it was a lot to watch. But I knew that it was wrong and I couldn't just walk away.
GENEVIEVE HANSEN, MINNEAPOLIS FIREFIGHTER: He wasn't moving and he was cuffed, and that's -- three grown men is a lot of -- putting all their
weight on somebody is too much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: Germany has announced it is restricting the general use of AstraZeneca COVID vaccines to people 60 years and older. Chancellor Angela
Merkel says her government can't ignore recent findings of what she calls a very rare, but very serious cases of blood clotting in people who got the
For the first time in Brazil's history, a President is replacing all three military commanders at once. Just a day after Jair Bolsonaro shuffled his
Cabinet, replacing six key Ministers with loyalists. The government announced the Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force are stepping down.
Still to come on FIRST MOVE, foreigners flock to Serbia to get vaccinated as the country races ahead of its neighbors. CNN speaks to Serbia's
And Saudi stimulus, the Kingdom plans to invest $1.3 trillion to diversify its economy away from oil.
KOSIK: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. I'm Alison Kosik live from New York where U.S. stocks are on track for a mostly higher open as investors await
details of President Biden's new tax and spend proposals, a continuation of the most ambitious U.S. government spending initiative in decades.
The President is set to announce more than $2 trillion worth of fresh spending today for infrastructure and other programs.
Shares of Pfizer and BioNTech are set to rise in early trading. New U.S. data shows their COVID vaccine has a perfect, 100 percent efficacy rate for
young people ages 12 to 15. The study shows the vaccine is well tolerated in that age group, too.
KOSIK: The vaccine is currently approved for U.S. adults 16 years and over. The company hopes or the companies hope the government will widen
Serbia becoming a regional vaccination hub. People from neighboring countries are flocking to Serbia to get COVID-19 vaccines.
Fred Pleitgen is in Belgrade with the story.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): An abundance of vaccine doses and a lightning fast rollout, Serbia a non-E.U.
state is setting the pace in Europe, fully vaccinating people with two doses quicker than any other country on the continent.
Zoran Cakic just got his second shot.
ZORAN CAKIC, BELGRADE RESIDENT: About 10 to 15 minutes.
PLEITGEN: So it was very easy?
CAKIC: Very easy. Very, very smooth. Very fast.
PLEITGEN (voice over): Serbia has so much vaccine they are even offering free shots to foreigners like Tomas Cupr from the Czech Republic who came
here on a work trip and decided to get inoculated as well.
TOMAS CUPR, VACCINE RECIPIENT: Freedom, I guess. Freedom to behave normally again.
PLEITGEN (voice over): Serbia's secret, they ordered vaccines early. They ordered a lot and they ordered from various manufacturers -- Chinese,
Russian and Western companies.
The country's biggest vaccine center at the Belgrade Fair alone administers around 8, 000 doses per days, the center's head says.
ZORAN BEKIC, HEAD, BELGRADE FAIR VACCINATION CENTER: Thanks to authorities in our country we have, I think, much more vaccines than in other parts of
PLEITGEN (voice over): Another key to the fast rollout, an easy to use registration site that cuts down on unnecessary bureaucracy. Serbia's head
of e-governing explains.
MIHAILO JOVANOVIC, DIRECTOR OF IT AND E-GOVERNING: Your ID number, name, surname and it is very important to have your e-mail address, mobile phone
or fixed one, because we are going to invite you via SMS and e-mail.
PLEITGEN (voice over): Unlike the E.U., which is facing severe vaccine shortages, Serbia is donating vaccine to neighboring countries and allowing
their citizens to get vaccinated in Serbia, making the country a regional vaccination hub. Also out of self-interest, the Prime Minister tells me.
ANA BRNABIC, SERBIAN PRIME MINISTER: We are also trying to support mostly the region. So our neighboring countries -- North Macedonia, Montenegro,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, because it's -- I mean, we are a small region and if they are not safe, even when we get the collective immunity, we are not
going to be safe.
PLEITGEN (voice over): But like many countries, Serbia is facing rising numbers of new coronavirus infections and has had to put new restrictions
The only way out of the pandemic, the government believes, is to keep vaccinating as fast as possible.
KOSIK: And Fred Pleitgen is with us live now from Belgrade. Hi, Fred.
PLEITGEN: Hi, Alison. Yes, I'm live here and I'm very fortunate to have the President of the country, Aleksandar Vucic with me.
First of all, sir, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us.
ALEKSANDAR VUCIC, SERBIAN PRESIDENT: Thank you for having me.
PLEITGEN: And you know, one of the things that we heard, especially at the beginning of the pandemic, that especially smaller countries would have a
lot of problem getting their hands on vaccines, especially if they're not necessarily financially the strongest. But here you are, you have an
abundance of vaccines. How did you do it?
VUCIC: Well, first of all, thank you for this great opportunity. I just have to say that it's -- for us, it was not a matter of geopolitics, it was
a matter of saving people's lives. And we prepared ourselves, I think, in the very best way.
It meant, number one, we invested hugely into digitalization of Serbia and you're going to see today at the Belgrade Fair how that is well organized,
it means that our softwares are among the best in the world and I'm profoundly grateful and proud regarding those people that were able to
pursue it here in Serbia, and I'm very happy that we were successful on this.
Number two, speaking about procurement, which was, let's say the most important in this first stage. We tried and we got vaccines from all
different parts of the world.
Now, you can get American vaccine, American jab, European, which is British, AstraZeneca. Then Russia Sputnik V or Chinese Sinopharm.
You can take whatever you want. It's up to you.
If you want to take the shot here. If you want to take a jab here, you can do it. There is no problem.
PLEITGEN: So basically, you didn't make any differences. You didn't have any massive preferences. You just got what you could get, is that correct?
VUCIC: Of course. Of course, our choice was to get as much as we could, as many as we could. And, of course, our agency had to approve all these
vaccines. They did it.
And then we started with this vaccination, on which I'm very proud. And I think that it's not good only for Serbia, but it's good for an entire
region. And people started coming here to Serbia, from not only Western Balkans, but even from a wider area.
VUCIC: And, to tell you the truth, we don't mind that we are -- we just think that everybody has to take these two shots and to be saved and you
cannot separate Serbia from the others in this region.
PLEITGEN: That's what I was going to ask you because that is -- that's a big step to take because you do have other countries that are very
successful in vaccinating. The U.K., the United States, but no one is giving away vaccine and allowing people to come in.
Why take that step? And is that really putting a dent also into people getting the vaccine here? Or does it not make a difference?
VUCIC: First of all, I think that the most important issue is whether we are able to save people's lives or not, and if we can help someone in
Sarajevo or -- that's pretty much the same as we do with people, although I'm responsible only for people or we are responsible for people in --
well, vaccination obviously, we have Belgrade.
But this is our region. We live close to each other. They are our neighbors, and if we can be helpful to them, that's good; if they can be
helpful to us, many thanks to them. And that's it, I think it's very much fair. And at the same time, it shows that all of us are future oriented,
that we don't go, or at least we don't want to go to the past, speaking about different divisive issues, and everything else.
Okay, if we can do something together, that's good and it's very important.
And at the end, I can tell you that our economic situation has not deteriorated or our economy has not contracted in a way that the others
were. And we had a 2021, just minus 0.9 percent growth rate, which was number one, or number two growth rate in the entire Europe, which allowed
us, of course, to focus on our healthcare system, and to improve it and to get as many vaccines as it was possible.
PLEITGEN: So when we were at the vaccine center, we saw people from Austria, from Germany, from the Czech Republic, as well as people from
other nations from this region. How long are you going to be able to keep this up? Because that's a lot of vaccine that you're giving away.
VUCIC: Here's what we thought about it, and we'll have enough. We expect now in this month and the next month in April, we expect to get almost
500,000 from Pfizer, and one million from Sinopharm, and several hundred thousand shots from Moscow, which means that we'll be able to deliver it to
our people always and to the others as well.
PLEITGEN: So what's your message then to the European Union? Because they're having some problems, and obviously, a lot of countries are now
looking towards Serbia and see what they can learn from you.
VUCIC: We were just very dedicated and devoted, but we work along with European Union. And we're going to get -- I forgot to say this, we're going
to get from COVAX program around 60,000 jabs in a few days, and that's -- we're very thankful to the European Union. They are our partners. We are on
a real path.
And we don't forget that, they helped us a lot after those terrible floods. Okay. It was not easy getting those vaccines and it was easier to us to be
very honest because we had open gates, we had open doors in all sides.
We made bilateral arrangements firstly with Pfizer, and then with Sinopharm, then with AstraZeneca and then with Sputnik. But it was not very
difficult for us because of our -- because of our geopolitical position, but we didn't care about it. We cared only about people's lives and that
was the simplest and easiest possible solution.
PLEITGEN: Sir, thank you very much for taking time to speak with us.
VUCIC: You're very welcome and enjoy your stay in Belgrade.
PLEITGEN: Thank you.
VUCIC: And take a jab, if you didn't so far.
PLEITGEN: Okay. Thank you very much.
VUCIC: You're very welcome.
There you see, Alison, it really is a success that we're seeing here. I can't even tell you how many foreigners we also saw in that vaccination
center and it really is moving at a very, very fast and impressive pace -- Alison.
KOSIK: Yes, Serbia is certainly a real model into how to effectively and efficiently vaccinate a wide population. Fred, great interview. Thank you.
And the opening bell is next.
KOSIK: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. I'm Alison Kosik.
U.S. stocks are up and running this Wednesday and we've got a higher open on this last day of trading for the month and the first quarter.
Tech is leading the charge as bond yields fall from 14 month highs. Little market reaction though to news that 517,000 new private sector jobs were
created in the U.S. this month. It is the best number in months, and a sign that Friday's U.S. jobs report may come in strong.
Stocks in the news today include online pet supply retailer Chewy. Shares are rallying after the company reported a surprise quarterly profit.
Revenues rose more than 50 percent compared to last year. Chalk it up perhaps to the rise of pet ownership during the pandemic.
It will take much longer for women to achieve this same pay as men according to estimates out today. The World Economic Forum predicts it'll
take nearly 136 years to close the gap, that's up from nearly 100 years in a previous estimate.
It also predicts it'll take 268 years to close the economic gender gap as the pandemic rolls back years of progress.
Saadia Zahidi is the Managing Director of the World Economic Forum and she joins me live. Great to see you.
SAADIA ZAHIDI, MANAGING DIRECTOR, WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM: Good to be here.
KOSIK: This is a really important issue and what this report finds is really stunning. It finds that the global gender gap grew wider during the
pandemic, meaning women fell behind even more from getting on that equal footing with men.
A lot of years mentioned here, I just want to clear the air here. Is this timing literal? It could take 135 years to parity?
ZAHIDI: No, what these are, are trends that look at the past and try to extrapolate into the future. These are not hard and fast and we can't
possibly predict precisely where the gender gap will go. But what we can tell you is that a year and a half ago when we did the last report, it
would have taken a hundred years to get to gender parity. Now, it would take nearly 136 years.
And so the pace of change has really slowed down, and in many parts of the world, the pandemic has had a massive impact in taking back, rolling back
years of progress.
KOSIK: So walk us through the areas where you see women failing to achieve this equality with men?
ZAHIDI: So overall, if we just take a snapshot of where the world is today, education gender gaps have mostly been closed. Health related gender
gaps have mostly been closed. Economic gender parity is just under 60 percent. But it has, frankly, been stalled there for a long time and now,
the pandemic just made it worse.
And when it comes to political empowerment, only about 25 percent of that gap has been closed, and there's a very long way to go to get to parity.
And that too, became a little worse in many large emerging markets in particular.
Now, the pandemic in particular, over this last year, what's happened is, when a billion schoolchildren around the world were suddenly at home, most
families went back to very traditional gender roles. And women ended up having the burden of both care responsibilities in the home, in addition to
their workplace responsibilities, and essentially facing a double shift.
In addition, the sectors that tend to be very large employers of women, whether that's travel and tourism or consumer and retail sectors, these are
the sectors that essentially shut down almost everywhere in the world, and so that's the other reason women were so deeply impacted over this last
KOSIK: So what needs to be done to close the gender gap? What solutions are there?
ZAHIDI: I think we have to look outward, and that is to try to understand what will be the growing jobs of the future. And as hiring rates pick up
over the coming year or so, ensure that there is a game plan in place on the parts of companies and employers more broadly to ensure that that
hiring is done in a gender equal way to ensure that there are measures in place for promotions and progressions to be gender equal.
It's the stuff that we have known for a very long time. That's what really needs to be put in place and embedded because there is no better
opportunity than a crisis to get this done.
The second element is on the government side. So if we want to get this right, most governments will need to put in place whether it's in advanced
economies, or in large emerging markets, they will need to put in place a care infrastructure that allows for better solutions for child care and
elder care than the current solution, which is mostly unpaid care work on the part of women.
And there's a double win to be had from that. For most governments, that will actually provide a lot of broader stimulus to the economy, because
care work is a massive job creator.
And so for most governments, if they do this, they get a big return on investment, not just for those individuals and families, but they actually
get a broader economic win.
KOSIK: But if we look to the future, this report also finds that women aren't well represented in what's considered fast growing jobs of tomorrow,
jobs that are actually here today. But nevertheless, jobs of tomorrow. Why are they underrepresented in these very key positions?
ZAHIDI: Yes, so we look at a fairly large set of professions of tomorrow, and that includes, for example, roles in artificial intelligence, roles in
data, roles in Cloud computing.
Let's take the Cloud computing example. Right now, only 14 percent of the talent in Cloud computing is female and that is going to be a problem in
the long term because those are exactly the roles that are essentially building our future economies and societies.
And there's two issues there. One is the supply side. So it is true, for example, in the United States, women make up about one-third of those that
are getting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math degrees. So one issue is the supply side. The other issue is the demand side, and that is where
companies need to change their practices.
These roles, whether they are within the IT industry itself, or whether they are in other industries, still tend to be more male dominated than
they need to be. So for example, if Cloud computing is at 14 percent, we know that there's actually a much larger pool of talent that is female
So there's a double hit that's happening, one, not enough women in the pipeline and then not enough hiring on the part of the companies.
KOSIK: Okay, Saadia Zahidi, great topic, important topic. Thanks for coming on the show. Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director of the World Economic
Saudi Arabia launching a $3 trillion stimulus plan as it attempts to diversify its economy.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says the country's biggest companies including energy giant, Aramco, would lead the investments by 2030.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN, SAUDI ARABIA CROWN PRINCE (through translator): If you take the 27 trillion riyals, or $7 trillion over the next 10 years,
what does that number mean? This number means that in the next 10 years, the spending in the Kingdom will be more than what has been spent in the
past 300 years since the founding of the first Saudi Arabia.
There will be 10 years of spending more than Saudis history before the oil and after the oil. That's huge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: And John Defterios joins me live. So John, this is a project with big ambitions. Is it realistic? And what are Saudi companies doing to drive
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: I have to say, you have to look at the optics here, Alison, because it's highly unusual for
Mohammed bin Salman to front something like this. So it gives you a sense of the importance and the sense of urgency that he has.
He is talking about big numbers, historical change for Saudi Arabia away from oil. This is a program called "Sharik" which in Arabic means partner.
I think the key component of this is that the two key partners are Saudi Aramco that you talked about. The second one is SABIC, the chemical giant,
which Saudi Aramco owns 70 percent of here.
They're going to drive up to 60 percent of this investment over that period of 10 years. But that number, $3 trillion is extraordinary in itself. And
we heard MBS talk about $7 trillion. He is making a calculation of the additional government spending and then private consumption over that time
as well. So I think that's overly ambitious.
Another key player here is one you've heard of before, the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign fund, known as PIF, he wants that to grow in
the near term to a trillion dollars, take that money and reinvest again.
It is run by Yasir Al-Rumayyan who is a very close confidant of the Crown Prince, some people we've seen in Saudi Arabia in the past. And another key
objective, which is not mentioned in any of the pieces that have been done so far is that the Crown Prince wants to have the Saudi family trading
groups who are big investors in the Middle East and North Africa, in Europe and the United States, major, major players across many sectors. He wants
that money to come back home saying the opportunity is at home. So we're going to set up a public-private investment pool here, and you'll bring
your money back home to help us grow this economy.
KOSIK: John, talk to me about the timing of this. Why does the Crown Prince -- why is he choosing to do this now?
DEFTERIOS: Well, you know, he is 35 years old and he laid out his -- as Deputy Crown Prince -- his 2030 plan, going back to 2016 and 2017. He is a
man in a hurry.
If you've read about him or have met him like we have, he loves his Key Performance Indicators or KPIs, and he is putting those KPIs on himself. So
you have to give him credit for trying to lay out this very aggressive timeline.
He also needs to jump start foreign direct investment. If you look at one of the line items in this report here, it is bringing foreign direct
investment back and it has suffered, if you go back over the last four years since the Ritz Carlton roundup of the Saudi billionaires in the name
of corruption, that many people supported at home, but it scared of foreign investors because they were partners with many international companies.
And again, the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, also, again, didn't play well outside Saudi Arabia, and still is a big question mark.
The final thing I'll say here, there is a pretty good competition heating up in the region. The UAE just rolled out in industrial strategy just over
a week ago, not with these sort of numbers, but wanting to diversify the economy because of the energy transition.
Saudi Arabia is doing the same. They want to recruit regional companies that come in, and they're saying we're putting our money on the ground,
come in and take advantage of the largest economy in the world.
What's not realistic, $3 trillion, by the way, over 10 years is four times the GDP. It sounds a little bit too ambitious, if you will, Alison. But
it's nice to have stretched targets. Let's put it that way.
KOSIK: John Defterios, great context as usual, thank you.
Up next, a minute ago, online education platform, Coursera made its trading debut on the NYSE. I'm joined by the CEO for an update.
KOSIK: Shares at online education platform, Coursera, trading for the first time on the New York Stock Exchange this morning. The company went
public at a valuation of over $4 billion.
Demand for online learning exploded during the pandemic. Coursera's revenue was up 59 percent in 2020.
Joining me now is Jeff Maggioncalda. He is the CEO of Coursera. Great to see you.
JEFF MAGGIONCALDA, CEO, COURSERA: Nice to be here. Thank you.
KOSIK: Congratulations on your public debut. What's your reaction to the showing?
MAGGIONCALDA: Well, you know, we'll see where we go from here. It's been nine years building something that we think is really important. To some
degree, this is a milestone. But to a large extent, this is really just the beginning of the work that we have to do still.
KOSIK: You know, with Coursera going public, it's actually coming off of a year that was super disruptive for schools and businesses that were
impacted by the pandemic.
I looked at some numbers in your S-1 paperwork, and they show despite recording a revenue jump in 2020, Coursera actually posted a net loss of
$66.8 million. That's actually up 43 percent from the previous year. Talk to me about what's going on here.
MAGGIONCALDA: Well, I think what's going on really is the need for a world-class learning around the world. As the world changes, as technology
and globalization require more people to get new knowledge and skills, we have a lot of work to do.
We have a lot of content and credentials that we need to make available from top institutions. And we need to make them available to everybody in
So we're investing aggressively to try to meet this need for people to have better access to education.
KOSIK: But these losses, how much do they sort of make you nervous? Because in your filing, you also warned that there is no guarantee that
your growth rate is going to continue after the pandemic is over. So what is your strategy post pandemic knowing about the pressures that you're
MAGGIONCALDA: Yes, when we look at this, what started nine years ago from Daphne and Andrew was a realization that people need better access to
learning. And if we think about what happened with the pandemic, and you look at the disparity of impact and the people who were most impacted, it
is more clear than ever, that the divide is growing, if we don't create more equal access to education, and more equal access to jobs.
So when we look at the opportunity over the long run, it is really to serve a world that more and more will need online education and more and more
frankly, will be having more remote work opportunities.
So I think there'll be more job opportunities to people, even if those jobs are not in their local communities because of remote work and I think
there'll be more opportunity for people to learn and earn credentials and college degrees, even if they don't live near a college campus.
KOSIK: Yes, and as Coursera provides full degrees, that comes with controversy. I want to hear what you say to your critics who worry that
these contractual agreements, these arrangements between online program management companies and colleges, where companies get a percentage of
tuition revenue, wind up inflating costs for students.
MAGGIONCALDA: Yes, well, the degrees that are offered on Coursera come from the universities, so they are not Coursera degrees. Some of the best
universities in the world, HEC Business School in Paris, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, they provide full degree programs on
Coursera. They admit the students, their instructors and their professors create the material. Their TAs grade the work.
And when the students finish their degree, the degree that they get from the university is no different than they would get if they were on campus.
So these are really full, high quality college degrees. No different than what you get on campus, but you just don't have to be on campus in order to
get a great degree from them.
KOSIK: Okay, Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera. Thanks so much for your time today.
MAGGIONCALDA: Thank you so much for having me. Thanks.
KOSIK: After the break, Voltswagon fizzles. We thought it was a joke. They said it wasn't. Then they said it was. VW's name change prank got a ton of
publicity, and not all of it was good.
KOSIK: Welcome back, Volkswagen is coming under fire for a story everyone thought was an April fool's joke including us until the company confirmed
it to be true.
Yesterday, we reported the automaker was changing its name to Voltswagen, V-O-L-T-S in the U.S. in a commitment to an electric future. After that, we
were told it was a joke after all. Ha-ha-ha. That's a fake laugh.
Clare Sebastian joins me live now. I'll tell you what. I am confused. I want to know where this all started. Is this a joke? Is this not a joke?
Give us the bottom line.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alison, I think we're still, you know, all a bit confused honestly about this. The company is
supposed to clarify more in another statement, which we're expecting today. Still no sign of that yet.
But look, there's a number of serious problems with this. One, it came not on April 1st. So we weren't immediately on guard for a prank like this
April 1st. We are still a few days away.
Secondly, you know, they issued a false news release. Not only that, but there were reputable news outlets who said that a source familiar with the
matter confirmed it was authentic. That suggests that someone within the company was lying to reporters.
It then moved the share price. That could attract scrutiny of regulators.
And look at the company that's doing this as well. The Twitter chatter that has erupted around the fact that this was Volkswagen doing this. Take a
look at this one tweet, someone tweeting, "Probably Volkswagen's best gag since that time they fooled everyone about diesel emissions." I think,
look, this went from prank to deception very quickly and that doesn't sit well for a company that is still mopping up the damage from the 2015
Dieselgate scandal where their cars were -- they admitted that cars were fitted with devices that fooled regulators.
So very problematic for the company. We still await more clarification from them.
KOSIK: You know, for some, they would say this is a great marketing ploy, good PR, because look at us, we are sitting here talking about it. Is that
something that they could just be after?
SEBASTIAN: You know, I think that probably was the original strategy behind this. They were doing this. They said -- the company's statement
came out yesterday, they said: "The renaming was designed to be an announcement in the spirit of April Fool's Day highlighting the launch of
the all-electric ID for SUV and signaling our commitment to bringing electric mobility to all."
So yes, it was designed to highlight their transformation into a much greener, more electric focused car company and sort of to be around the
release of this ID for SUV in the United States.
Volkswagen is really pushing hard with this electric strategy, but I think this PR move may not have gone their way -- Alison.
KOSIK: I'm still confused. Clare Sebastian, thank you.
And that's it for the show. I'm Alison Kosik.
"Connect the World" is next. Have a great day.