ABU DHABI, 16th October, 2023 (WAM) — The 8th World Investment Forum (WIF), which officially opened today at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and will run until 20th October, united the heads of state, ministers, business leaders, eminent investors, and decision-makers to address urgent investment challenges spurred by ongoing global crises.
“The world is changing at an unprecedented pace, and new investment challenges and opportunities are emerging daily. In response, here in the UAE, we continue to advance our ambitions of economic diversification alongside digital transformation, as we evolve into a leading knowledge and innovation-based economy underscored by committed sustainable economic growth,” said Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, emphasising the leading role the UAE plays on the global investment stage.
“In pursuit of these goals, engaging with and building strong partnerships with global leaders and decision-makers is an essential part of our strategy. We aim to leverage global trade, attract investments, and enhance international cooperation to ensure a sustainable and prosperous economic future that serves the UAE and its partners in the international community,” Dr. Al Zeyoudi added.
Expressing her gratitude to open the summit of the World Investment Forum 2023, Rebecca Gryspan, Secretary-General, UNCTAD, said, “This forum is a global platform where you, the leaders of government and businesses, experts and stakeholders, converge to address the critical nexus between investment in sustainable development. Abu Dhabi being an excellent host, provides an idea in the backdrop for our discussions with its forward-thinking policies, modern infrastructure and strategic locations.
She said that the UAE serves as the beacon of progress in the region and beyond.
The opening ceremony of the 8th edition of WIF was followed by the ‘Global Leaders Investment Summit 2023’, shedding light on the urgent need to invest in key sectors such as food security, energy transition, health systems, supply chain resilience, and enhancing productive capacity in the world’s most impoverished nations. Discussions were steered by critical questions concerning the impacts of recent food, fuel, and finance crises on international investment, and the role of international finance and cross-border investment in shaping a more inclusive and resilient global future.
The first session of the Global Leaders Investment Summit witnessed a series of thought-provoking sessions, where leaders including José Ramos-Horta, President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, and Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, President of Togo, among others, shared their perspectives on global developments and their implications for sustainable investment. In the second session, Rebeca Grynspan, UNCTAD Secretary-General, and Obaïd Amrane, Chair, International Forum of the Sovereign Wealth Funds, Morocco, among others held insightful discussions on investment-related topics, with an interactive Q&A session that allowed participants to delve deeper into the themes related to the guiding questions. The summit concluded with a summarisation of the debate by the UNCTAD Secretary-General, encapsulating the insights and perspectives shared during the discourse.
In a related context, a seminar on the development of sustainability reporting standards in the public sector in partnership with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) discussed best global practices in the field. Distinguished stakeholders participated, including Alex Metcalfe, Head of Public Sector, ACCA, Ross Smith, Program and Technical Director of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSASB), and Maggie McGhee, Executive Director for Strategy and Governance at ACCA, among others.
The opening day of WIF also saw the Foreign Direct Investment Statistics Conference in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation countries. This provided an opportunity for experts to highlight the importance of raising awareness of the latest standards for collecting data on foreign direct investment activities, including clarifying definitions and methodologies in FDI statistics, and providing insights into OIC-specific challenges such as corporate restructuring, identifying end investors, and different forms of participation.
Day one also saw the hosting of the “G8 Economic Cooperation – UNCTAD Guiding Principles for Investment” conference, where participants discussed current international investment agreements in the G8 member states. The session focused on how countries can enhance regional dialogue and coordination on comprehensive reform of international investment agreements, including soft policy tools, in particular the Guiding Principles, and learnings from other regions around the world.
The event is organised by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).