British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne
The Chancellor will attend the WEF's meeting alongside David Cameron and Mark Carney.Reuters

The 46th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) kicks off next week in Davos, Swtizerland running from 20-23 January 2016. Business leaders and prominent figures from the political, civil, media and religious world will meet to discuss the challenges posed by the "Fourth Industrial Revolution".

Credit Suisse chief executive Tidjane Thiam, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, General Motors chief Mary Barra and Hitachi chairman and CEO Hiroaki Nakanishi are among the meeting co-chairs, which will, as ever, have finance and technology high on the agenda.

Among the participants, the North Korean delegation is expected to attract a lot of attention, particularly after Pyongyang claimed earlier in January that it had successfully carried out a hydrogen bomb test.

WEF's decision to invite North Korea representatives to the meeting for the first time in 18 years – and just 12 months after being accused of collaborating with hackers involved in the cyberattack on Sony's headquarters in Tokyo – led to a few eyebrows being raised across the world.

While North Korea has accepted WEF's invite, the same cannot be said for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, neither of whom will be in attendance.

Update 3.30pm: Following the publication of this article the WEF has revoked the invitation extended to North Korea due to the reports of a hydrogen bomb test.

Moscow will be represented by Yury Trutnev, a deputy prime minister and the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far East.

Much like Putin, US President Barack Obama will not be attending the meeting, although John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, will represent Washington in Davos alongside a host of other politicians including the US Trade Representative, Michael Froman.

Closer to home, Prime Minister David Cameron and the Chancellor George Osborne will head Britain's contingent to Davos, while former Labour leader Gordon Brown will attend in his role as special envoy for global education on behalf of the United Nations.

The intergovernmental organisation will itself be represented by secretary general Ban Ki-moon and his predecessor, Kofi Annan.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his French counterpart Manuel Valls will also be among the participants, along with newly-elected Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko and Li Yuanchao, the Vice President of the People's Republic of China.

The Middle East will, as usual, be one of the main focuses of the meeting and the region is going to be heavily represented, with Israel President Benjamin Netanyahu among the list of speakers.

Netanyahu's predecessor, Shimon Peres, will also attend the three-day conference as will Iraq's Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, the current president of Afghanistan.

Federal Reserve's Chairwoman Janet Yellen will not travel to Switzerland, although a number of policymakers from the major central banks are expected to take part in the proceedings.

Bank of England's Governor Mark Carney, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and Bank of Japan's governor Haruhiko Kuroda will attend the meeting, alongside International Monetary Fund's managing director Christine Lagarde.

Away from the political world, Davos will see a number of high-profile figures from the corporate world, including John McFarlane and Jes Staley, the chairman and chief executive of Barclays, and Lloyds' CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio.

WPP's CEO Sir Martin Sorrell, the chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co James Dimon, and BP's CEO Robert Dudley are also all expected to participate.

Finance and politics, however, will not have the stage all for themselves, as Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Manchester United's chairman Avie Glazer will also make their way to Davos next week, as will Hollywood's household name Kevin Spacey.