Conference Programme

8th April 2018 AIM Capacity Building Day
The Event officially starts on the 9th of April, Capacity Building Workshops on the 8th of April require a separate registration.
10:00 – 13:00

Emerging technologies and opportunities for Investment Promotion Agencies

In partnership with WAIPA

Investment Promotion Agencies have an important role not only to facilitate investments, but they also may function as idea provider how to improve their investment climates as they are in direct contact with investors. However, in a rapidly evolving field technology becomes increasingly important and IPAs need to be able to adapt quickly. Not only does digital innovation offer various chances but so does the 4th Industrial Revolution and both reaching the SDGs and technologization are incredible opportunities for countries to attract sustainable investments. To reach this, IPAs can be, if they have a clear focus and strategy and are flexible to adapt, the ideal partners for investors.

This workshop will aim to look at how IPAs can contribute to create a sound investment climate for attracting and promoting emerging technologies, and at the same time how these emerging technologies can be used to further attract investment.


Chris Knight
, Global Commercial Director, fDi Intelligence, UK
Antti Aumo
, Executive Director, Business Finland, Finland
Yong Kook Kim
, Head, Invest Korea, Korea

Venue: Meeting Room – Sharjah D
Language: English

10:00 – 13:00

How to develop Successful City Region Economies

In partnership with GDP Global

As the recent UNCTAD FDI World Investment Report indicates, countries cannot completely rely on achieving economic growth through FDI alone. Other sustainable and integrative policies, strategies and programmes will be hugely important, especially for the emerging/developing economies.

TREND: According to the UN World Urbanization Prospects just half of the world’s 7.9 billion people live in cities. By 2050, when the global population is expected to reach nine billion, an estimated two-thirds of all people will live in cities. Global citizens are now beginning to experience the full impact of the digital and information economy – the 4th Industrial Revolution. New technologies are progressing faster than most of us can imagine; so much so that it is difficult to anticipate how the future will look – the downsides and job/economic losses compared with economic upsides that could benefit us all.

So, what should cities be doing to ensure they can compete for talent, stay relevant globally and find their competitiveness niche positions?

    This workshop will cover the following points:
  1. 1. Enabling policies and programmes to create competitive city regions.
  2. 2. Examples of best practice in placing city regions on the international world map for global trade and investment.
  3. 3. The seven economic programmes that all city regions need to deliver; from infrastructure to innovation.


Christina Knutsson
, Director and Partner, GDP Global, UK
John Hanna
, Director, GDP Global, UK
Jonathan Earl
, Managing Director of Strategic Communications, FTI Consulting, UK

Venue: Meeting Room – Sharjah A
Language: English

10:00 – 13:00
Workshop III:

The Role of Chambers of Commerce in Achieving the SDGs

In partnership with International Chamber of Commerce

Recognizing that more extensive and deeper collaboration with the private sector is required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations recently granted ICC permanent Observer Status. A core element of ICC’s new status is the opportunity to demonstrate - both to businesses and to governments - how pursuing SDGs could raise trillions of dollars in new market opportunities while vastly extending prosperity to all.

The ICC workshop will explore which actions chambers of commerce can undertake in fostering public-private dialogues, catalysing new partnerships and alliances, and exploring innovative business solutions to accelerate sustainable development. The interactive session will bring together business leaders to share best practices and to discuss the pivotal role chambers of commerce will play in reaching the SDGs. A key feature of the workshop will be an exchange of views on how the private sector can work with governments to achieve inclusive, people-centred sustainable development.


Philip Kucharski
, Chief Operating Officer, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), France
Nicolle Graugnard
, Senior Policy Manager - Commission on Trade and Investment Policy ICC World Trade Agenda Initiative, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), FranceUK

Venue: Meeting Room – Fujairah A
Language: English

14:00 – 17:00

Deep Dive into Sovereign Funds and Long-Term Asset Owners 14:00 – 17:00

In partnership with Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute

Join Michael J. Maduell, President of the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, for a practical examination of state-owned investment funds and their role in managing national resource revenues and long-term pools of capital. Globally recognized, Mr. Maduell is a sought after speaker and consultant who works with sovereign funds, pensions and other long-term investors, and has made appearances on CNBC, CNN, and a number of different institutional investor-focused conferences.

This workshop breaks into a specialized discussion of how public asset owners of all shapes and size - including sovereign funds, development banks, public pensions, and superannuation funds - have been employed by governments in increasing numbers to address an array of fiscal and economic challenges in an ever-changing financial landscape.

    Drawing upon years of experience as a consultant and thought-leader in this emerging sector, Mr. Maduell will guide attendees through a number of challenging topics and normative standards, including the following:
  • · The historical development of sovereign wealth funds and long-term pools of capital, and their rise in twenty-first century global financial markets as a source of stable, countercyclical, long-term returns.
  • · A breakdown of the different types of sovereign investment institutions.
  • · An overview of the various mandates and policy objectives under which public asset owners are established, including: macroeconomic stabilization, wealth diversification, precautionary savings, intergenerational sharing of temporary resources, and advancement of sovereign political interests.
  • · An analysis of how sovereign funds develop investment philosophies, strategies, and models that leverage their unique endowments.
  • · An examination of corporate governance structures and best practices, and the integration of environmental and sustainability considerations.
  • · A look ahead at emerging trends in sovereign asset owner investment and portfolio composition, and their influence on global economic integration, capital market development, and promotion of responsible investment practices.

    Michael Maduell
    , President, SWFI, USA

    Venue: Meeting Room – Fujairah A
    Language: English

14:00 – 17:00

Maximizing the Benefits for Your Country: Sustainable Investment and How to Attract It.

In partnership with WAVTEQ

The workshop will provide a very practical investigation into what does sustainable development actually mean in terms of attracting FDI. The workshop will explore how a focus on sustainable investment can have a much bigger impact on your country than the traditional FDI attraction approach. The workshop will examine key trends in sustainable investment to help inform IPA strategies and the workshop will provide practical methods for how IPAs can attract sustainable investment.

    The workshop will cover the following key topics:
  1. 1. How can a focus on sustainable investment increase the benefits of FDI to your country?
  2. 2. What are the latest trends in sustainable investment - which sectors, countries and companies should you be targeting?
  3. 3. How can your organisation attract sustainable investment - what best practices and practical approaches can you adopt?


Henry Loewendahl
Christian Kollinsky
, Senior Director of Sustainable Development, WAVTEQ, UK

Venue: Meeting Room – Sharjah D
Language: English

14:00 – 17:00

The Role of Marketing and Communications in Investment Promotion:
How to Influence the Investment Decision Process.

In partnership with Investment Consulting Associates

The competition for investment is increasing and more and more, investment locations are actively promoted with appealing location value propositions. The decision to invest in a particular location is based on a wide range of location determinants. This makes it all the more imperative to have a distinct but unified and coherent investment promotion approach, which integrates a country’s national and regional offerings.

This workshop will address how companies make investment decisions and how investment promotion agencies influence the location decision-making process through marketing and communications. Additionally, it will analyze new marketing techniques and channels that FDI professionals have at their disposal in order to reach out to potential investors and will help to determine how websites and social media can be best utilized to attract more investment while uncovering what additional marketing and business development activities can be successful.

    The workshop will cover the following key topics:
  1. 1. The different stages of the investment promotion lifecycle and marketing.
  2. 2. The importance of effective marketing and communications channels and techniques (including social media)
  3. 3. The use of marketing and communications for FDI attraction and in corporate site selection.
  4. 4. Prioritization of marketing efforts and lead generation and investor targeting.
  5. 5. Integrating national and regional offerings.
  6. 6. Best practice & worst practice examples of marketing efforts and communication techniques.


Zoë Harries
, Marketing & Business Development Director, Investment Consulting Associates (ICA), The Netherlands
Laurens van der Schoor
, Free Zones & Incentives Advisor, Investment Consulting Associates (ICA), The Netherlands

Venue: Meeting Room – Sharjah A
Language: English

9th April 2018 Day One
08:00 – 10:00
Registration & Badges Collection
09:00 – 10:00
Delegates Proceed to the Opening Ceremony Room

Venue: Sheikh Rashid Hall
Language: English/French/Arabic/Chinese/Russian

10:00 – 10:05
Opening Ceremony

Welcome Remarks by the Master of Ceremony
Welcome Speech by Kim Hyun-Chong, Minister of Trade, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Korea

10:05 – 12:00
Plenary Session One: Global Leaders Debate: Driving Sustainable Development through FDI

Seen as an engine of economic growth, FDI is considered to contribute to the increase of domestic capital, job creation and raising incomes while promoting technology and skill transfer. As countries continue to compete to attract foreign direct investment, it is evident that the effects FDI can have on a host country are advantageous. However, the spillovers can also have less desired consequences, including increased inequality, unfair competition between foreign and domestic companies as well as other negative environmental outcomes.

The Global Leader’s Debate will explore how foreign direct investment can be used as a vehicle to drive sustainable development. The limelight session will uncover the ways in which governments can promote FDI linkages between developed countries and emerging markets, with a view of bolstering sustainable development, ensuring equality of opportunity, and an unbiased regulatory landscape.

The high-level panel will convene Heads of State, Academia, Heads of International Institutions and Investors from Developing and Mature Economies.

Venue: Sheikh Rashid Hall


Moderator: Cornelia Meyer, Chairman & CEO, MRL Corporation, Switzerland

    Part 1
  1. • Badr Al-Olama, Chairman, Board of Directors, Strata, Mubadala Company, UAE
  2. • Paulo Portas, Deputy Chairman, Portuguese Chamber of Commerce, Former Minister of State and Foreign Affairs, Portugal
  3. • Rustam Minnikhanov, President of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russian Republic
  4. • Sindiso Ngwenya, Secretary General, COMESA, Zambia
  5. • Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, ECA, Ethiopia
    Part 2
  1. • Dimitri Kumsishvili, First Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Georgia
  2. • Jamal Jarwan, Secretary General, UAE International Investors Council, UAE
  3. • Finda E.M. Koroma, Vice President, ECOWAS
  4. • Yusuff Ali, Chairman & MD, Lulu Group International, UAE
12:00 – 12:30
Grand Opening Speeches
12:30 – 14:00
Lunch Break (High level networking)
All Delegates make their way to AIM Plenary Sessions
Venue: Al Multaqa Ballroom
14:00 – 15:00
Plenary Session Two: A New Wave of Economic Opportunity & Digital Innovation: Understanding the Promise of Blockchain

The session will examine Blockchain technology and its promise to contribute to economic productivity, transparency and environmental responsibility, while exploring the opportunities its implementation will hold for private and public sector, focusing on key industries such as banking and fin-tech, energy, healthcare, e-commerce, transportation, smart-cities and tourism.


Moderator: Henrik von Scheel, Mastermind of Industry 4.0 & Leading Authority on Competitiveness, Switzerland

  1. • Adel B Fernandez, Business Development Manager: Advanced Analytics, ESRI, UAE
  2. • John Lilic, Director of Enterprise Operations, ConsenSys, USA
  3. • Khalfan Belhoul, CEO, Dubai Future Foundation, UAE
  4. • Nicu Harajchi, Managing Director, Smart Contract Capital, Hong Kong,
  5. • Richard Teng, CEO, Abu Dhabi Global Markets, UAE
15:00 – 16:00
Plenary Session Three: The Rise of Protectionism: Impact of Globalization and Sustainable Development

The last 50 years have seen the opening up of world markets through regional and multilateral trade agreements and convergence towards market-led economies. “Globalisation” has generated strong world economic growth driven by exports and FDI and has pulled hunderds of millions of people out of poverty.

However, globalisation seems to have halted. Growth in world trade and FDI is stagnant. Countries that spearheaded the spread of free markets appear to be turning their back on globalization. This session will explore why world trade and FDI are growing slowly and what the implications for sustainable development are, in particular in emerging markets but also in developed market.


Moderator: Chris Knight, Global Commercial Director, fDi Intelligence, UK

  1. • Alistair Long, Director of Trade and Investment, Department of International Trade, UK
  2. • Ewa Synowiec, Principal Advisor in DG Trade, European commission, Belgium
  3. • Paulo Portas, Deputy Chairman, Portuguese Chamber of Commerce, Former Minister of State and Foreign Affairs, Portugal
  4. • Philip Kucharski, COO, International Chambers of Commerce, France
15:50 – 16:35
Plenary Session Four: Creating Value Through Technology and FDI

As policymakers implement frameworks and policies effective in attracting responsible FDI inflows with a goal to foster inclusive and sustainable societies, it is important to look at the industries and areas where FDI can be expected to provide the most value in view of sustainable development, specifically in emerging markets. Equally important, is understanding how emerging technologies are reshaping industries and how they can be used as vehicles to advance our sustainability objectives.


Moderator: Christina Knutsson, Director & Partner, GDP Global, UK

  1. • Fabio Fontana, ME, Managing Director, Hewlett Packard Enterprise HPE, UAE
  2. • Huda Al Lawati, CIO, Savola Group, KSA
  3. • Niall Hannigan, CFO, Masdar Clean Energy, UAE
  4. • Sabine Dall’Omo, CEO, Siemens, South Africa, South Africa
  5. • Niall Hannigan, CFO, Masdar Clean Energy, UAE
10th April 2018 Day Two
10:00 – 10:15
Global Investment Competitiveness Report 2017–2018 by World Bank Group

Speaker: Peter Kusek, Senior Economist, Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment, World Bank Group USA

10:15 – 10:30
Keynote Presentation: Hamdan Centre for the Future of Investment

Speaker: Fahad AlGergawi, CEO, Dubai FDI, UAE

10:30 – 10:45
Keynote Presentation: Industry 4.0 – The Future of Trade and Investment

Speaker: Henrik Von Scheel, Father of the 4th Industrial Revolution, Switzerland

10:45 – 11:45
Plenary Session Five: How to Compete for Investment in Industry 4.0

Developing countries often compete for investment that involves lower levels of technology and value add that investors would locate in their home countries or in other developed countries. This session will explore how governments can capture more sophisticated investment with a higher technology content. Examples of successful case studies will be discussed. Additionally, the session will look at how other nations are preparing to compete for advanced and sophisticated investments with a higher technology content.


Moderator: Andreas Dressler, Foreign Direct Investment Advisor, Germany

  1. • Antti Aumo, Executive Vice President, Finpro, Finland
  2. • Fatima Al Arabi, Founder, Alaf Capital, Switzerland
  3. • Henrik von Scheel, Mastermind of Industry 4.0 & Leading Authority on Competitiveness, Switzerland
  4. • Lee Gibson Grant, Founder, DT X Project & International Director, Blockchain Center ‘ASEM’ Academy, Moldova
  5. • Pilar Madrigal, Head of Investment Promotion and Aftercare, CINDE, Costa Rica
  6. • Joao Vasconcelos, Senior Advisor, Clearwater International, Portugal
  7. • Rudolph Lohmeyer, Vice President, Global Business Policy Council, A.T. Kearney, UAE
11:45 – 12:45
Plenary Session Six: The Evolution of FDI: How Technology is changing the Future of Productivity and Growth

A key driver for advanced investment is the availability of a workforce with the specific skills that match investor requirements now and into the future. With labor market disruption being a growing trend in the global workforce and economy, there is an urgent need for adult skilling, reskilling and up-skilling.

This session will explore how multi-stakeholder collaboration and investment can optimize the potential of the adult workforce. It will identify how emerging market governments can better understand and anticipate investor needs, creating the types of skills that investors require. Conversely, it will analyze the role that foreign investors play in developing their local workforce and how they help to advance the skill base of the countries in which they operate.


Moderator: David East, Head of FDI and Economic Products, Bureau van Dijk, UK

  1. • Henrik von Scheel, Mastermind of Industry 4.0 & Leading Authority on Competitiveness, Switzerland
  2. • Hussein Al Mahmoudi, CEO, AUS, UAE
  3. • Jake Zeller, Partner, AngelList, USA
  4. • Mario Cimoli, Director, Division of Production, Productivity and Management, ECLAC, Chile
  5. • Ross McKenzie, Futurist, Expert Authority in New Economic Business, Founder and CEO, The Startup Business, Australia
12:45 – 14:30
Lunch Break (High level networking)
14:30 – 15:30
Plenary Session Seven: Sovereign Wealth & Private Equity Funds and Sustainable Investment Strategies

This session aims to better understand how Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF’s) and Private Equity Funds incorporate Sustainable Development Goals into their investment strategies. Which Sustainable Development trends are important for them, how they develop their investment strategies with a focus on sustainability, which objectives they have in selecting these investment projects and what are the performance criteria they take into account, working with other stakeholders? What are some successful examples and what were the key factors to make these projects successful? operate.


Moderator: Douglas van den Berghe, CEO & Founder, ICA, The Netherlands

  1. • Ahmed Al Qassim, CEO, Emirates NBD Capital, UAE
  2. • Fahad Al Sharekh, Partner, TechInvest, Kuwait
  3. • Fatima Al Arabi, Founder, Alaf Capital, Switzerland
  4. • Joao Vasconcelos, Senior Advisor, Clearwater International, Portugal
  5. • Michael Maduell, President, Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, USA
  6. • Nick Ayton, Founder 21 Million Project and Chainstarter Ltd, UK
15:30 – 16:30
Plenary Session Eight: Public - Private Partnerships for Public Infrastructure Development

Public-private partnership is a tool increasingly used by governments to shore up private investment for building and managing public infrastructure, such as railroads, motorways, bridges and tunnels, utilities such as power generation stations, and schools and hospitals. It is a long-term contract (usually 2550- years) between the government and, typically, a consortium of private investors and construction firms, which receive payment by user fees such as tolls or availability payments from the government over the contract period.

PPPs have received a lot of attention lately for claimed successes as well as claimed failures. They have gained traction for being cost-effective and allowing for rapid construction of needed infrastructure, particularly motorways. But the alleged superiority of PPPs is also disputed on a number of counts: for example, some governments may borrow money for infrastructure projects more cheaply than private investors. And by being extremely complex, PPPs require a whole array of competencies in procurement, negotiation, financing and governance by the partners involved.

This session will examine the scope for PPPs with foreign investors – which in most cases originate from developed countries – as a means for emerging economies to build and manage their public infrastructure.


Moderator: Kai Hammerich, President, KA Foreign Investment Corporation, Sweden

  1. • Bambang P.S. Brodjonegoro, Minister, National Development and Planning, Indonesia
  2. • Cheremin Sergey, Minister, Head of Department for Foreign Economic Activity and International Relations, Moscow City Government, Russia
  3. • Manuel Cary, Partner, The Transport Infrastructure Investment Company, Portugal
  4. • Pedro Nevis, Leader, UN Taskforce for PPPs, Portugal
  5. • Salimo Abdulla, President, CE-CPLP & Chairman of Mozambique Telecom, Mozambique
16:30 – 17:30
Plenary Session Nine: Incentives Policies for the Benefit of Nations

Incentives policies to attract FDI for decades have been based on the simple notion that FDI is good and that the more investment a company makes and the more jobs they create the better the investment and the more incentives they should get.

Across Europe, North America and OECD countries incentive policies have been based on a simplistic formula around the size of capital investment and job creation nuanced by where the investment locates (“regional policy”) and the sector of the investment (“industrial policy”).

In developing countries, incentives policies have been further simplified, being based on the establishment of Free Zones where any company that invests in the Zone avails of the tax and customs incentives with very limited criteria for which companies can invest.

Incentives policies are under fire. The World Bank and major professional services companies have found that incentives often make minimal difference to where companies invest. has tracked nearly $200 billion of incentives for specific inward investment projects with the average incentive over $40,000 per job created and in many cases 3040%- of capital investment is given back to the company in the form of an incentive. The lost tax revenue from Free Zones is unknown but runs into $100 billions. Incentives policies around the world are geared up to attract footloose multinational enterprise not necessarily to support SMEs.

This panel will explore whether or not Sustainable Development has the answers to how incentives policies can change. The expert panelists will discuss the different concepts of Sustainable Development and if and how they can be incorporated into incentives and free zone policies.

The panelists will discuss how incentives can be used to ensure they do actually make a difference and maximise benefits for the country - not just the company.


Moderator: Henry Loewendahl, Founder & CEO, Wavteq, UK

  1. • Alastair Long, Director of Trade and Investment, Department of International Trade, UK
  2. • Botsjan Skalar, CEO, WAIPA, Turkey
  3. • Monaem Ben Lellahom, Global Founding Partner, Sustainable Square, UAE
  4. • Robert Hermann, CEO, Germany Trade & Invest, Germany
  5. • Sabine Dall’Omo, CEO, Siemens, South Africa, South Africa
  6. • Saparbek Tuyakbayev, Chairman of the Board, Kazakh Invest, National Company JSC, Kazakhstan
  7. • Yonov Agah, Deputy Director General, WTO, Switzerland
17:30 – 17:45
Closing Ceremony Remarks
11th April 2018 Day Three
Invest In: A Series of Discussions on Regional Investments

The world is changing at an accelerated pace due to a myriad to developments such as technological progress, (geo) political developments and climate change. Change brings with it uncertainty and risks, which influence investment decisions.

Government needs to address both change and investor sentiment via policy decisions and legal frameworks. It is the duty of government to create an ecosystem that allows both society and the economy to thrive.

A clear understanding of domestic and international risks is as pivotal for government to make wise decisions as it is for investors to choose the right projects. For government the policy choices are manifold from protectionist policies to a free trade ideology. Money talks; therefore, investors have the freedom of choice as to where they want to place their investments.

This leaves us with the question of how prepared the various regions are to deal with these issues.

“Regional Focus” will analyze a region’s economic landscape, dissecting the risks, challenges and opportunities of the nations making up the region. The session will assess the economic landscape of national economies and its resulting impact on the regional economic ecosystem, while identifying areas and industries where economic growth can be expected.

The forum will convene key policy-makers, institutional and non-institutional investors, as well as heads of international institutions, political economists and key experts. They will debate and predict challenges and opportunities.

10:00 – 11:30
Invest In: Latin America and the Caribbean

Climate change and the technological revolution are two of the largest challenges that are redefining globalization. Countries in the region are gradually making efforts and implementing policies to confront these challenges and foreign direct investment (FDI) can be a tool to succeed in reaching the new goals, while providing investors with profitable opportunities.

According the World Bank, Latin America and the Caribbean is likely to be one of the regions most affected by climate change. Its impact is already visible today and the leaders of the region are collaborating in many areas such as biodiversity, forest and ocean protection and bio-diverse ocean and water protection, to create an environment, which is conducive to sustainable agriculture and renewable energy development.

Latin America is already leading the world in the use of renewable energy, which accounts for 53% of its total capacity in electricity generation. New technologies and economies of scale have led to drastic reductions in the cost of renewable energy providing an extra incentive for investment in this sector. Renewables are the fastest growing source of electricity in the world and countries in Latin America are complementing their abundance of sun, wind and water with tenders and auctions for renewable energy and a favourable business environment that is attracting record levels of FDI into this sector.

The transition to a digital economy and the development of advanced manufacturing capabilities are key to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As ECLAC’s report ‘Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America and the Caribbean 2017’ points out, manufacturing is leading FDI in the largest economies in the region: 61% of total FDI inflows in Mexico and 38% in Brazil went to manufacturing. Countries are looking for investments to confront the disruption that the digital revolution will bring to production and consumption patterns and business opportunities arise.

Finally, notwithstanding the uncertain global scenario, growth prospects for the region are positive, with an estimated overall 2.2% growth rate for 2018 and several countries performing above average, (e.g. Panama 5.5%, Dominican Republic 5.1%, Costa Rica 4.1%, Peru 3.5%, Argentina 3%, Chile 2.8%, Colombia, 2.6%, Mexico 2.4%). A recovery in commodity prices and an expanding digital economy signal a new possible economic cycle and FDI can be a key factor in technology transfer and the adoption of new management systems and business models that increase competitiveness and productivity.

Representatives of governments and international organizations, investors and analysts will assess and debate the effects of the new environmental and technological scenarios in Latin America and the Caribbean. They will discuss policies pertaining to renewable energy and technological change in manufacturing on a country as well as a regional level; and how they can be developed to attract high quality investment in these sectors.


Moderator: Miguel Perez Ludena Economic Affairs Officer, Unit of Investment & Corporate Strategies, ECLAC, Chile

  1. • Adalberto Netto, CEO, Invest In Parana, Brazil
  2. • Mario Cimoli, Deputy Executive Secretary & Director, Division of Production, Productivity and Management, ECLAC, Chile
  3. • Pilar Madrigal, Head of Investment Promotion and Aftercare, CINDE, Costa Rica
10:00 – 10:05
Introduction by ECLAC
10:05 – 10:15
Launch of Latin America and Caribbean Report
10:15 - 11:30
Panel Discussion with Q & A
11:30 – 13:00
Invest In: Africa

Investment has become a leading source of external finance for many developing countries, including those in Africa. Despite the relative importance investment is playing in the continent, African countries only accounted for 3.2 per cent of global FDI in 2017.

Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) have become an integral part of African policymakers’ strategy to counter the perception of risk and promote more inward FDI. According to the study produced by the UN Economic Commission for Africa entitled “Investment Policies and Bilateral Investment Treaties: Implications for Regional Integration”, Africa accounts for more than 854 BITs and more than 400 DTTs. Topping the list of signatories are North African countries, such as Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, followed by South Africa and Algeria.

Nonetheless, given the absence of conclusive empirical evidence on the positive impact of BITs on increased FDI flows, African countries have seriously reconsidered the merits of signing new agreements for the sole purpose of attracting FDI and reviewed existing agreements in light of their development priorities. The debate is particularly relevant in the context of Africa’s efforts to sustain its growth performance and structurally transform its economy as many of the existing BITs may constrain the continent’s development ambitions.

In addition, host countries also find themselves exposed to the risk of legal disputes. In the current investor-to-State dispute settlement system (ISDS) which governs many of the BITs, African countries are currently involved in at least 128 investment disputes. These disputes are subject to discretionary interpretations on the part of international tribunals. Furthermore, when found liable, African countries are often subject to hefty fines, which put a further strain on government resources and narrow the policy space to design investment policies which target legitimate development objectives.

In the context of the ongoing International Investment Agreements (IIAs) reforms, which include the reform of ISDS, the aforementioned ECA study highlights how some of these issues may be addressed in the context of regional integration. For example, integration at the regional, and especially continental level, can foster consistency in investment regulation on the continent and prove more conducive to regulation favouring sustainable development. In this context, countries such as South Africa, Nigeria and Morocco are reviewing and rethinking their existing investment regulation and provide interesting and innovative examples in the context of IIA reforms. In addition, various RECs have developed regional investment instruments, including the Investment Agreement for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Common Investment Area, the Supplementary Act adopting Community Rules on Investment and the Modalities for their Implementation with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Finance and Investment. The East African Community (EAC) and SADC have also developed model laws on investment, namely the EAC Model Investment Code and the SADC Model Bilateral Investment Treaty Template (SADC Model BIT). These efforts present opportunities to harmonize and improve the investment regulation and policy environment with a view to support the attraction of greater investment.

At continental level, the African Union has recently adopted the Pan–African Investment Code (PAIC). The primary objective is to create a conducive environment to attract greater investments into Africa and facilitate intra-African cross-border investments which are critical to the success of economic integration in the continent and vital to promote private sector participation. More recently, the negotiations of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), are yet another opportunity for improved investment regulation. Recently launched by the African leaders on 21 March in Kigali, the AfCFTA sets the prerequisites for a continental market where investments could flow freely across the continent. If coupled with the dismantling of barriers that impede the flow of capital in Africa, the AfCFTA could effectively create a common investment area that may help attract high-impact and transboundary investment projects of high caliber.

The session will provide a platform to launch the ECA study, whilst at the same time engage panelists representing African governments and private sector, as well as investment analysts and investment promotion agencies to discuss the key regulatory and policy challenges that affect investment in Africa. The session will explore how regional integration could support inclusive investment reforms at national, sub regional and continental levels.


Moderator: Yofi Grant, CEO, Ghana Investment Promotion Center, Ghana

  1. • Aisha Abubakar, Minister of Trade and Industry, Nigeria
  2. • Harouona Kabore, Minister of Trade, Industry and Crafts, Burkina Faso
  3. • Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Reginal Integration & International Trade, Mauritius
  4. • Stephen N. Karingi, Director, Capacity Development Division, UNECA, Ethiopia
11:30 – 11:35
Introduction by UNECA
11:35 – 11:45
Launch of Report on Investment Policies and Bilateral Investment Treaties in Africa
11:45 - 12:55
Panel Discussion
12:55 – 13:00
Closing Remarks
13:00 – 14:30