Despite Challenges, Global FDI Hits $1.52 Trillion in 2017

Published April 3rd, 2018 - 12:00 GMT
FDI to developing economies remained stable, at an estimated $653 billion, 2 percent more than the previous year. (Shutterstock)
FDI to developing economies remained stable, at an estimated $653 billion, 2 percent more than the previous year. (Shutterstock)

Global investment is seeing a bumpy recovery as worldwide foreign direct investment (FDI) flows reach $1.52 trillion in 2017, according to the World Investment Report published by the United Nations Council on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). FDI to developing economies remained stable, at an estimated $653 billion, 2 percent more than the previous year.

However, a number of issues relating to FDI, obstacles to investment and development, will be addressed at a three-day mega global event, Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) that takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre on April 9-11, 2018.

More than 20,000 investors, financial institutions, institutional investors, delegates, government officials and participants will participate at a series of events – exhibition, conference, country presentations, investors hub, investment awards and capacity–building workshops – to help attract investment in specific economic sectors and free zones or special economic zones.

A head of state, governments, more than 40 government ministers and state ministers will join a prestigious line-up of business leaders from 140 participating countries including more than 50 country pavilions and more than 100 Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) at the AIM, where countries will promote their investment climate and ease in doing business to attract investment.

These government leaders and their IPAs will appeal to the institutional and private investor groups to secure as much FDI as possible from a global pool of trillions of dollars’ worth of investment through a series of country presentations and investor match-making meetings.

AIM will be spread across 8,000 square meters of net exhibition space in which participants from 140 countries will promote their investment projects, opportunities, services and attractions.

AIM includes 3-day series of conferences with world-renowned speakers from private and public institutions including high-level officials from the UAE, Russia, China, Georgia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Tatarstan, Portugal, and many more.

The conference will focus on: Driving sustainable development through FDI; Investment in the Fourth Industrial Revolution; How technology is changing the future of productivity and growth; Public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects, Sovereign Wealth and Private Equity Funds and their role in investment, etc.

AIM will host a full-day workshop series that will tackle Emerging technologies and opportunities for investment promotion agencies; How to develop successful city regional economies; The role of chambers of commerce in achieving SDGs and the role of marketing and communications in investment promotion.

Speakers from the most reputable private companies such as Mubadala, Lulu Group, and the Kanoo Group will also be sharing their knowledge on foreign direct investment.

New investment projects will be launched for the first time through an array of activities including Country Presentations, Exhibition, Investors' Hub, G2G, G2B, and B2B Networking Features, and AIM Startup Innovation Showcase and Startup Competition.

AIM will host more than 40 country pavilions and 18 country presentations/investment destinations will also be promoting investment opportunities in their locations including UAE, China, Georgia, Italy, India, South Korea, Egypt, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Jordan, Botswana, Cameroon, and Nigeria.

Top focused sectors are Agribusiness and Agriculture, Energy and Mining, Finance and Banking, Infrastructure and Logistics, IT and Telecommunications, Manufacturing, Real Estate & Property, Tourism & Hospitality, and Trade & Industry.

The FDI inflow in to the UAE reached $10.3 billion (AED37.8 billion) in 2017, according to the UAE Competitiveness and Statistics Authority up from $9.6 billion (AED35.23 billion) recorded in 2016. This takes the total FDI stock of the country to $128.94 billion in 2017.

Dawood Al Shezawi, the CEO of AIM, said “the UAE’s FDI inflow is a living testimony of how liberal approach and an ease in doing business is helping the UAE attract more investment. The UAE’s FDI stock now exceeds $128.85 billion, which is significant and puts the UAE ahead of most countries in the Middle East.

“Additionally, in the real estate sector, Dubai Land Department’s sound regulation that ensures maximum investment protection through escrow account has helped the emirate attract AED107 billion ($29.15 billion) investment in 2017 by 39,480 investors through 52,958 transactions – more than 65 percent of which was carried out by foreign investors.

“Besides, the country’s 45 free zones collectively create a large gateway for trade and investment. In 2017, the UAE’s free zones handled AED225.5 billion ($61.39 billion) worth of exports, a growth of 6.6 percent from the previous year, according to the UAE Central Bank.

“The forthcoming Annual Investment Meeting will focus on accelerating FDI flows across the world and explore new ways to boost investment and trade.”

A recent report by Bank Santander said the new Commercial Companies Law and a liberal investment regime are some of the main drivers of FDI into the country.

“All seven Emirates have adopted measures to create a more favorable environment for foreign investors. Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi have very flexible rules concerning the acquisition of real estate property by foreigners. The UAE has also recently passed a new Companies Law. There are currently 18 draft laws that are intended to address a range of issues that are regarded as hampering foreign investment in the UAE.

“These laws notably cover insolvency and arbitration laws, as well as a draft foreign investment law. There has also been talk about removing the obligation that 51 percent of company capital to be held by an Emirati national, as well as about the opening of the banking and insurance sectors.”

The eighth edition of the AIM will produce an outstanding investment conference with top-notch global experts, renowned academics and experienced consultants to update AIM audiences with contemporary investment trends in an ever-changing domain of FDI.

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