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Notable quotes from the Reuters Next conference

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FILE PHOTO: ECB President Lagarde takes part in a news conference, in Frankfurt

(Reuters) - Reuters Next is hosting three days of interviews, panels and presentations with 150+ global leaders discussing the biggest business, social and environmental challenges for the year ahead.

Following are some notable quotes from the conference which ends later on Friday.

To watch the Reuters Next conference please register here https://reutersevents.com/events/next

CHRISTINE LAGARDE, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK PRESIDENT

"I see an inflation profile that looks like a hump. And a hump eventually declines."

"We are firmly of the view, and I'm confident, that inflation will decline in 2022."

"There are ways to give clarity without making long-term commitments and I would err on the side of not making (a) very long-term commitment (at the ECB's Dec. 16 policy meeting) because there is too much uncertainty."

"But equally, we need to very clearly indicate that we stand ready (to act), in both directions."

SOUMYA SWAMINATHAN, CHIEF SCIENTIST, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

"How worried should we be (about the Omicron variant of COVID-19)? We need to be prepared and cautious, not panic, because we're in a different situation to a year ago."

"Where did it originate? We don't know. We may never know."

"There is a clear relationship between inequity in access to vaccines and the development of variants."

"(The variant was identified in South Africa) because of the excellent genomic sequencing and surveillance ... We feel terrible that they have been punished for it."

"We need to wait, lets hope it's milder ... but it's too early to conclude about the variant as a whole ..."

"It's possible that the vaccines will work. It's possible that you may need initially an extra dose to boost immune response ... Natural infection acts as a booster."

"It does seem to be able to overcome some of the natural immunity from previous infection."

"The fact that they're not getting sick ... that means the vaccines are still providing protection and we would hope that they would continue to provide protection."

"Delta accounts for 99% of infections around the world. This variant would have to be more transmissible to out-compete and become dominant worldwide."

"It is possible, but it's not possible to predict."

UGUR SAHIN, CEO OF BIONTECH

"We expect that this new (Omicron) variant will evolve as an antibody escape variant. That means this variant might be able to infect vaccinated."

"We anticipate that infected people who have been vaccinated will still be protected against severe disease."

"This highly mutant virus came earlier than I had expected. I had expected some time next year and it's already with us."

"I believe in principle at a certain time point we will need a new vaccine against this new variant. The question is how urgent it needs to be available."

On transferring vaccine production into local ownership and control: "Our most important concern is to ensure that the quality is established ... It's not that we want to be involved, we have to be involved.

"I'm not against patent waivers. I'm seeking solutions."

NATHAN LAW, HONG KONG DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST

On Hong Kong's Dec. 19 elections https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/democracy-activist-law-urges-hong-kong-voters-ignore-dec-19-election-2021-12-03: "Just ignore them. We should not give any legitimacy to the election, we should not pretend we have an election - it is just a selection by Beijing."

"Democracy, if you are talking about a system, it is definitely not there - but if you are talking about the spirit of the people, fighting for democracy, it is still there."

MAHBOUBA SERAJ, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE AFGHAN WOMEN'S SKILLS DEVELOPMENT CENTER

On a Taliban decree barring forced marriage in Afghanistan: "This is big, this is huge ... if it is done as it is supposed to be, this is the first time they have come up with a decree like this."

"Now what we have to do as the women of this country is we should make sure this actually takes place and gets implemented."

"What I am really waiting to hear next from the same group, from the same person is for him to send the decree regarding the education and right of work for the women of Afghanistan, that would be absolutely phenomenal."

AHMAD SARMAST, THE FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF AFGHANISTAN NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MUSIC

"There's not an official decree banning music or music education but the practice is here. Music has faded out of the air of Afghanistan."

DAN SCHULMAN, CEO PAYPAL INC

"We saw a 400% year-on-year rise on our volumes going through 'buy now, pay later' this past Black Friday. It's booming right now."

"We had more than 1 million first-time users for the first time ever in the month of November. It's not just popular but accelerating in popularity."

"When I think about M&A or I think about the strategy of PayPal, I try to think expansively about where is the world going. Not just where the world was, but where it is going."

"We have the wherewithal to be acquisitive, no doubt we will be acquisitive and we will look at both small and larger acquisitions but we have very strict capital allocation requirements."

"There's a lot of fascination when bitcoin hit $100k or is worth $25k or whatever but it will be what it will be. But what's really interesting to me is can crypto or digital forms of currency add incremental utility to payments - things like programmable money, things like NFTs (non-fungible tokens), things like some Defi (decentralised finance) applications."

VON HERNANDEZ OF CAMPAIGN 'BREAK FREE FROM PLASTIC'

"Recycling can't compete with overproduction. So what we need is limits on virgin plastic production."

PERRY WARJIYO, GOVERNOR OF INDONESIA'S CENTRAL BANK

"Our current projection is inflation starting (to rise) above 3% and moving up towards 4% sometime in second quarter or early third quarter 2023. But by nature, interest rate decisions need to be forward-looking, need to be preemptive, need to be front-loading."

ANNA KOMINIK, ASIA PACIFIC DIRECTOR AT BOEING UNIT WISK

"We can't continue to use road transport; 3D mobility is really important."

"Sixty-seven percent of the world's population will be cities by 2030, so that ground infrastructure can't keep up and is costly to overhaul. We have to move to the sky as a resource."

PETER BOONE, CEO OF SWISS CHOCOLATE MAKER BARRY CALLEBAUT

(On ending child labour in the cocoa supply chain): "We cannot close our eyes to something which is out there we know should not be part of our supply chain."

PIYUSH GUPTA, CEO OF DBS, SOUTHEAST ASIA'S BIGGEST BANK

"In Singapore, it's not that easy for digital banks to carve out space. Even in markets like Brazil and China you can see that the relative market share, size and growth of the incumbent banking system hasn't shifted very much."

JACEK OLCZAK, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, PHILIP MORRIS

"Our $1 billion target of achieving sales from non-nicotine products we can also to a very large extent achieve organically."

"Nothing we are doing should come as a surprise, we are putting in action the visions that we shared openly seven or so years ago about leaving cigarettes behind. This is completely moving the company in another direction."

X GONZÁLEZ, GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION ACTIVIST

"I really think that a lot of people underestimate the power that they have and the influence that they can have.

"People take for granted that their voice isn't going to do anything when it really will because that's what happened to me."

(Compiled by Catherine Evans; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Matthew Lewis)

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