UNCTAD WIF14 – Investing in Sustainable Development

Posted by

The fourth version of the World Investment Forum, organized by @UNCTAD, was held in Geneva with over 3,000 participants from 150 countries. The fourth version of this event gathered high-level decision makers from the public sector, academia, and investment promotion agencies, interested on how foreign direct investment can reach a sustainable path. The city of Lima, Peru, is already in preparations to host the fifth version, which will be held in 2016.

The forum had a considerable participation of investment promotion agencies, particularly from Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America. With over 300 speakers, the agenda included 50 different sessions in which participants had the opportunity to exchange ideas on multiple topics.  Among those, it is important to highlight agricultural investment, regional integration, international investment agreements, and gender equality.

An important debate was held with world leaders as to how close funding gaps in infrastructure and climate change adaptation. Some of the speakers called the attention on the fact that the main issue is not on a lack of resources for infrastructure, but on “lack of adequately packaged or large enough projects”, as stated by UNCTAD Secretary-General, Mr. Mukhisa Kituyi. Additionally, UN’s counselor to the Millennium Development Goals – MDGs, Mr. Jeffrey Sachs, stated that “long-term thinking and complex solutions” must be kept in mind when speaking about turnkey projects.

During the event UNCTAD launched the Investment Guides – iGuides, as a way for investors to have updated, comparable and centralized data on their target destinations.  Information such as business costs, key procedures and laws are included on the first iGuides that were launched (Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Comoros, East African Community, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lao, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Rwanda, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Zambia).

The way in which regions develop their investment strategy is largely influenced by endogenous and exogenous actors.  Civil society and public leadership are part of the internal ones, and Diasporas are part of the exogenous actors. Numerous countries still rely on a great extent on their Diaspora for investment, not only in remittances but also as a FDI source.  This trend is followed by both emerging and developed countries, crisis-stricken Europe included: Ireland, Spain, among others.  This process is commonly referred to as Diaspora Direct Investments, and has become a new source for seeking capital. Around 215 million people live away from their home country and, if well managed, can help national and regional investment promotion agencies identify and influence the decision of potential investors. This policy has been successfully implemented by several countries. Ireland for example targets both both diaspora-owned business and companies employing influential fellows of the diaspora, acting as connectors.

A special session was held on the role transnational corporations can play in women empowerment and gender equality, moderated by Maria Cattaui-Livanos, former Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce with participation of Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, @UNWomen. Elian Carsenat of @FDIMagnet shared with Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka the latest Gender Gap Grader infographics on startups and access to financing.

Gender Gap Grader for WIF

Open data initiatives such as Gender Gap Grader can play a role to empower women, trigger changes. Even if closing the gender gap in investment will take time, women could have a more decisive role in attracting FDI and VC/Angels money to foster innovation ecosystems in places where it is most needed. What it takes is combining the activation of Women’s Networks with Diaspora Direct Investment: reaching out to influential women in the Diaspora to attract investments, expertise and help make connections.
About Karina Azar,


In her five years career, Karina developed strong expertise on Foreign Direct Investment as Promotion Manager and Advisor to companies considering relocation in Colombia.  On 2013 she was ranked on Neashore Americas Power 50 as one of the most influential executives in the outsourcing field.  She is currently researching on Sustainable Development with the Sorbonne University in Paris and independant consultant on FDI matters.  Karina can be reached at karinaazarb@gmail.com or via LinkedIn.


About FDIMagnet,

FDIMagnet is NamSor™ offering for Investment Promotion. We use our unique data mining software to offer differentiated Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) services:

–   Diaspora Direct Investments (DDI)

–   Smart Investors Targeting & CRM

–   FDI Targeted Communication

Follow @FDIMagnet or email us at contact@fdimagnet.com


Leave a Reply