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Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg on February 28, 2020 in Blountville, Tennessee. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

As the world grapples with the pandemic's impact on globalization, Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday is unveiling the inaugural members of a new group to focus on solving its biggest problems, Axios is the first to report.

Why it matters: COVID-19 spread globally — in an instant shutting borders, disrupting trade and eventually leaving millions dead or sick. What comes next as emerging economies prepare for recovery, will also impact the rest of the world.

What’s happening: Members of the first Bloomberg New Economy Catalysts cohort span six continents and are focused on technology and policy in emerging economies.

  • The group will assemble virtually for a kick-off event on June 30 to discuss the future of climate, agriculture, bio-tech, e-commerce, space and digital money.
  • They will also participate in this year’s in-person Bloomberg New Economy Forum set for November 16-19 in Singapore.
  • The forum, hosted by the former New York City mayor, Henry Kissinger and Hank Paulson, aims to draw roughly 400 business executives, government officials and academics to discuss climate, cities, finance, trade and public health.

Between the lines: Bloomberg's efforts take aim at turf previously dominated by the World Economic Forum's annual V.I.P. event for business and political leaders in Davos. It was cancelled this year after several attempts to set up shop in Singapore this summer.

  • Of note: WEF has a Young Global Leaders program for people younger than 40 from different communities and industries.

What they’re saying: Catalyst will offer startups in places like Africa the opportunity to attract interest and investment, says 25-year-old member Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa.

  • “Startups in Africa strive so hard to get one investor ... which is not the case in Europe, in the U.S., in China, in Japan."
  • She is the founder of the Uganda-based Chil. The group of companies provide services like AI for cancer screenings and drones for transporting cancer specimens from rural areas.

The big picture: The pandemic didn't send globalization back to the dark ages of the financial crisis as initially feared, noted a Harvard Business Review report in March.

  • Aside from the unprecedented collapse in the movement of people to and from, trade has rebounded, along with flows of capital and digital information.

The bottom line: “We certainly are in favor of an open global economy," Andy Browne, the editorial director of the Bloomberg New Economy Forum, tells Axios.

"What we’ve seen this year is this really retrograde tendency towards closing borders, towards vaccine nationalism, migrant workers going home and in a sense we feel that the counterforce to that is technology,” Browne says.

Go deeper

Biden administration announces aid for farm and food workers

A farmworker harvests lettuce on a farm in Coachella, California. Photo: Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that it will invest $700 million in grant funding to help farmworkers, meatpacking workers and front-line grocery workers cover health and safety costs incurred due to COVID-19.

Why it matters: The program expands pandemic agriculture aid, which has until now largely benefited farm owners, to include the primarily immigrant, low-income workforce, Bloomberg reports.

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

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