Xiamen, 7-9 September 2018: Leaders and experts in foreign direct investment (FDI) gathered at the 23rd annual World Investment Conference (WIC18), the flagship event of the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) hosted by CIFIT and WAIPA Member China Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA) at Xiamen International Conference Center in China. The annual meeting held under the theme “A New Era in Foreign Direct Investment” brought together over a hundred leading investment promotion agencies (IPAs), international organization’s leaders, heads of financial institutions, leading political figures, private sector representatives, prominent economists and researchers from more than 60 countries around the world.
The conference focused on empowerment and enhancement of IPAs capacities and their corporate development with the support of international bodies in global community. At last year’s WIC in Dubai (WIC17), it was emphasized that foreign direct investments are vital to maintain and strengthen economic growth. FDI boost technological innovation, know-how transfer, contributes to job creation and adds productive capacity to the global economy. In recent years, we witnessed an ever-growing flow of FDI from developed into developing countries. However, also FDI from developing economies to developing ones grows steadily, creating thus beneficial spill overs through FDI all around the world contributing directly to welfare and prosperity.
First day of the conference was dedicated to WAIPA Members. In the afternoon, IPAs had the opportunity to join the workshop and sharpen their investment promotion skills from WAIPA Consultative Committee members; International Labour Organization (ILO), World Bank, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Best practices were presented by WAIPA Members Enterprise Greece, API Mali and Invest in Sharjah. WIC18 also included a Steering Committee meeting followed by a WAIPA General Assembly.
September 9 was specifically dedicated to the Conference where delegates listened not only from world renowned leaders, but also global companies and decision makers. Special address and keynotes were delivered by Wang Shouwen, Vice Minister of Commerce of PRC and Deputy China International Trade Representative; Fahad Al Gergawi, Vice President of WAIPA and CEO of Dubai FDI; James Zhan, Senior Director of Investment and Enterprise at UNCTAD, Bernardo Calzadilla-Sarmiento, Director of Department of Trade, Investment and Innovation at UNIDO; Celestin Monga, Vice President and Chief Economist of African Development Bank and Meng Qian, Vice Mayor of Xiamen Municipal Government.
The first session was led by moderator Cristian Rodriguez-Chiffelle, Head of Trade and Investment Policy at World Economic Forum (WEF). Panellists James Zhan, Senior Director of Investment and Enterprise at United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Andrea Goldstein, Senior Economist at Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Liu Dianxun, Director General of the Investment Promotion Agency of Commerce of PRC (CIPA), Stefan Kratzsch, Industrial Development Officer at United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Githa Roelans, Head of the Multinational Enterprises and Enterprise Engagement Unit at International Labour Organization (ILO) discussed Increasing Domestic Value Addition (DVA) through FDI and how to link local enterprises with FDI companies in the country.
The second session under the moderation of Adrienne Klasa, Development Finance Editor at fDi Magazine and The Banker at Financial Times Group discussed Business Impacts Through Technology and Partnerships. The panellists included Simon Lacey, Vice President of Global Government Affairs Trade Facilitation and Market Access at Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.; Anne Chappaz, Chief Trade of Investment Support Institutions Strengthening Section (TISI) at International Trade Centre (ITC); Ratnakar Adhikari, Executive Director of the Executive Secretariat for the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Peter Fuhrman, Chairman of the China First Capital.
Under moderation of Christina Knutsson, Director and Partner at GDP Global third session looked at the Rise of Subnational IPAs. Panellists Helen Hai, Founder and CEO of Made in Africa Initiative; Armando Heilbron, Global Investment Promotion Workstream Leader at World Bank Group/IFC; Liu Zuozhang, Executive Vice President of China Council for International Investment Promotion; Chris Knight, Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer at WAVTEQ Ltd. and Niels Maas, Founder and CEO of Forglobal discussed what does the future bring in new era of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).
During the conference WAIPA signed Letter of Intent with International Trade Centre (ITC) Memorandum of Understanding with World Bank Group and International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Invest India.