The 8th World Investment Forum (WIF), organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), commenced its proceedings at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center on October 16. This significant event is scheduled to continue until October 20.
World Investment Forum 2023 has successfully brought together an array of distinguished participants, including heads of state, ministers, business leaders, financial experts, and investors. Their collective aim is to address the pressing investment challenges brought about by the ongoing global crises.
Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, emphasized the ever-accelerating changes in the world and the daily emergence of new investment challenges and opportunities. He highlighted the UAE’s commitment to advancing economic diversification and digital transformation, striving to become a leading knowledge and innovation-based economy firmly grounded in sustainable economic growth.
Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, stated, “The choice of Abu Dhabi as the host city for the WIF underscores the UAE’s pivotal role in shaping global discussions on sustainable development and investment. Abu Dhabi offers a dynamic global platform for international talents, leaders, and investors. We take pride in our partnership with UNCTAD to orchestrate the World Investment Forum as we unite with a shared mission to promote cooperation, enhance economic alliances, and confront the urgent global challenges of our time.
“The discussions held today, aimed at addressing challenges and formulating solutions for critical issues in global investment and trade, will contribute to the negotiations set to take place at COP28, scheduled for late November in the UAE.”
UN Leaders Deliver Key Messages at World Investment Forum 2023
Rebecca Gryspan, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD, officially inaugurated the summit and addressed participants, emphasizing the significance of the global platform. She stated, “This forum serves as a global nexus where government and business leaders, experts, and stakeholders converge to address the vital connection between investment and sustainable development. Abu Dhabi, with its forward-thinking policies, modern infrastructure, and strategic location, is an exceptional host, exemplifying the UAE’s role as a beacon of progress in the region and beyond.”
Discussing the numerous challenges faced by people due to a cascade of economic shocks, COVID-19, relentless climate disasters, warfare, geopolitics, and the overwhelming burden of suffering, she emphasized that our global society’s very fabric is under strain. She noted the progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set in 2015, with only 50 percent of them currently on track for achievement by 2030. There is a substantial investment gap that needs to be addressed, and the forum aims to find solutions to bridge this SDG investment gap.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in a separate statement, called on participants, including heads of state, business leaders, sustainable stock exchanges, sovereign wealth funds, and experts, to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Stimulus Package and work towards providing $500 billion in annual investments for developing countries. He also urged governments to establish equitable carbon pricing. He encouraged companies to adopt credible net-zero plans, aligning with the recommendations of the high-level expert group on the Net-Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities.
Notable Events from the First Day of the World Investment Forum 2023
Following the opening ceremony of the 8th edition of WIF, the ‘Global Leaders Investment Summit 2023’ took place, emphasizing the critical imperative of investment in key sectors such as food security, energy transition, health systems, supply chain resilience, and the enhancement of productive capacity in the world’s most underprivileged nations.
Discussions during this summit revolved around pressing questions related to the impacts of recent crises in food, fuel, and finance on international investment. The role of international finance and cross-border investments in shaping a more inclusive and resilient global future was a central focus.
Additionally, a seminar in collaboration with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) tackled the development of sustainability reporting standards in the public sector, highlighting global best practices in this field.
The opening day of WIF also hosted the ‘Foreign Direct Investment Statistics Conference’ focused on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation countries. This conference provided a platform for experts to emphasize the significance of raising awareness about the latest standards for collecting data related to foreign direct investment activities. It addressed issues such as clarifying definitions and methodologies in FDI statistics while also shedding light on OIC-specific challenges, including corporate restructuring, the identification of end investors, and various forms of participation.
Furthermore, the ‘G8 Economic Cooperation – UNCTAD Guiding Principles for Investment’ conference took place on day one. Here, participants engaged in discussions concerning current international investment agreements within G8 member states. The session centered on exploring how countries can enhance regional dialogue and coordination to comprehensively reform international investment agreements, including the use of soft policy tools like the Guiding Principles.