GENEVA, Sept. 12, 2011 /CNW/ - The crisis and the alarming unemployment
of the youth in many countries underline it strongly: Attracting
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is one of the greatest tasks every
country is facing, because such investments meet the pressing needs to
generate employment, know-how and growth.
Ministers and officials from the 156 member countries of the World
Association of Investment Promotion Agencies, WAIPA
[http://www.waipa.org ], have discussed this challenge during their
World Investment Conference (WIC), in Geneva, this week. Alessandro
Teixeira, WAIPA President and Deputy Minister of Development, Industry
and Foreign Trade of Brazil, pointed out: " Our Conference has been a
key occasion to discuss matters such as the changes imposed by the
financial crisis, the opportunities afforded by shifts in global
economic power and the mismatch between investors' goals and nations'
The USA are still attracting the main part of the foreign direct
investments, but their share fell from some 33% in the 1980's to an
average of 15% in the 2000s. Since 2006, the United Kingdom's share
fell from 10,7% to 3,7% and France (-2,2%) is also losing some ground.
To the contrary, China remained quite stable from the 1980's through
the 2000s (with a share of around 6,5%) but is now progressing to 8,5%.
Since 2006 other new economies have moved fast and reached the top ten
countries: Hong Kong is reaching 5,5%, Russia 3,3%, Singapore 3,1% and
Brazil went from 1,3% to 3,9%.
On the side of the countries investing abroad, the trends are similar,
but less pronounced. From 2006 to 2010, the USA have progressed from
16% to 24,9%, China from 1,5% to 5,1%, Hong Kong from 3,2% to 5,7% and
Russia from 1,6% to 3,9%. But all the other mature countries of the top
ten - Germany, France, Switzerland, Japan Canada and Belgium - are
slightly losing ground (but no more than 1,5%).
Global foreign direct investments have decreased from US $ 1.97 trillion
in 2007 to 1.19 trillion in 2009. The forecasts for 2012 are optimistic
(1.46 trillion) and one expects to get back to the record level of 2007
around 2014. But most participants at the WAIPA Conference agreed that
the crisis will again limit overseas investments from mature countries.
In fact, except for Japan, this crisis is regional, limited to the
western world. Europe is now clearly hoping to do better thanks to the
growth of the BRICs and other fast emerging countries. But Europeans
have been warned that hungry new competitors appear, notably in South
East Asia, where a tremendous growth is generated by their strong
regional integration capability.
The Investment Promotion Agencies should drive such regional investments
and trade, because that is where the dynamism is. They have to show
opportunities to governments and demonstrate which productive
capabilities have to be adapted to new economic activities. They have
to identify alternatives and solutions.
Investment Promotion Agencies can strongly help governments to shake
their vision and plans. But their role must be further recognized by
governments. Every government has a trade minister and the World Trade
Organization is very influent, but - sadly - there is no such thing for
One of the risks for the promotion agencies is to try to be fashionable
or trendy. There are many things to be done that are not trendy.
Experts recommend adapting production capabilities to new purposes
rather than entering an unknown sector. Green technologies and energies
are now a crucial stake for all countries. But if the expectations are
great, the indications of how to get there remain often undefined and
the agencies have to make that clearer for the political world.
SOURCE The World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA)
For further information:
Claude-Olivier Rochat or Philippe Dunant, Rochat & Partners, +41(0)22-786-54-55