The World Investment Forum was held on 17 – 21 July in Nairobi with the theme ”Investing for Sustainable Development”. Hosted by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, this year’s forum brought together more than 6,000 participants from Heads of States, government officers, intergovernmental organizations, academia and civil society.
The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, opened the conference with an important message. “The global trade slowdown and a lack of productive investment have sharpened the deep divides between those who have benefited from globalization, and those who continue to feel left behind,” he said.
One of the focuses of the conference was how fill annual USD 2.5 billion investment gap in developing countries. Businesses voiced that policies are hampering investment, for instance in some countries policy cycles follow election cycles. Further, they viewed that policies are not catching up with the rapid progress in technology.
The conference also discussed investment issues beyond financial policies and market structure – such as gender inequality and knowledge gap. Governments asserted that it is still more difficult for women entrepreneur to obtain loans for their business which hampers more participation of women in trade. On the other hand, businesses voiced that it could be difficult to find the right talent to fill different roles within their business activity because of the lack of quality in the education system.
As part of the conference, a seminar on reform on international investment agreements (IIA) was held. Government representatives voiced different ideas on reform proposals, including making the substantive terms more specific, inserting corporate social responsibilities in new treaties, and ensuring ISDS is accessible for small and medium enterprises.
The SCC was invited to contribute in the discussion and SCC statement can be found here.