Global foreign direct investment (FDI) totaled $1.43 trillion in 2017, a 23% decline from the previous year. Announced greenfield investments fell 14%.  Meanwhile, over 100 economies around the world have adopted industrial development strategies, 90% of which include investment policy tools such as incentives and investment promotion / facilitation.**

Given these facts it might be tempting to assume that the process of attracting FDI must be a ruthless competition.  This does not have to be the case. A recent program from the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment for the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies presented an alternative view: FDI as a means to achieve desirable economic, environmental and social goals – not merely a risk-laden business attraction contest.

I was pleased to serve as one of the instructors for the Certification Course on International Investment, Investment Promotion and Sustainable Development. Leaders from investment promotion agencies (IPAs) from several countries gathered in Istanbul during early July for this 3.5 day hands-on program. Topics included:

  • Sustainable development goals and their connection to FDI
  • Recent patterns in FDI flows
  • Drivers and determinants of FDI
  • Influencing FDI: costs and benefits of various strategies
  • Focus on investment incentives: whether, why and how to grant them
  • Shaping the impacts of FDI
  • Assessing the expected and actual impacts of FDI
  • Focus on public-private partnerships (PPPs): value, risks, and how to structure them
  • Focus on IPAs: functions, powers and tools

FDI, investment promotion policies and incentive programs often are or can be designed to support sustainable development goals. For example, many sustainable development goals and their related targets and indicators already share much in common with IPA/EDO goals and incentive program objectives, such as those related to decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; and reducing inequality.

Learn more about the program here and the UN Sustainable Development Goals here. Please contact us at if you would like more information about this important topic.

** Source: World Investment Report 2018, UNCTAD