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28 March 1996

Promoting investment and enterprise development has been agreed as one of the four major themes for international development cooperation and for UNCTAD´s future work programme which is to be adopted at UNCTAD IX. The emerging consensus includes agreement on the following:

  • Foreign direct investment (FDI) can play a key role in the economic growth and development process. The importance of FDI for development has dramatically increased in recent years. FDI is now considered to be an instrument through which economies are being integrated at the level of production into the globalizing world economy by bringing a package of assets, including capital, technology and managerial and organizational skills, and access to foreign markets. It also stimulates technological capacity-building for production, innovation and entrepreneurship within the larger domestic economy through catalyzing backward and forward linkages.
  • As globalization and liberalization also bring with them the globalization of competition, it is increasingly acknowledged that development policies, at both the national and international levels, need to be directed specifically at fostering viable and internationally competitive enterprises, including an entrepreneurial culture. Within this context, the particular need to foster the development and expansion of small and medium-sized enterprises is also vital.
  • Developing countries and interested countries in transition are encouraged to develop or strengthen their national strategies for fostering enterprise development including through improvements that result in a sound regulatory framework for their development, with particular focus on small and medium-sized enterprises. In doing so, they are also encouraged to broaden and deepen their dialogue with their business community, so as to ensure that the enterprise development strategies take into account the needs of the private sector.

As regards future work, in the area of investment UNCTAD should contribute to improving the general understanding of trends and changes in FDI flows and related policies and the interrelationships between FDI, trade, technology and development. UNCTAD should also work towards enhancing the capacity of developing countries and countries with economies in transition to improve their overall investment climate, to obtain relevant information and to formulate policies to attract, and benefit from, FDI (and also pay attention in this regard to assistance in the area of accounting standards and accounting education and related activities).

Various proposals were made on the role of UNCTAD in consensus-building as regards issues related to a possible multilateral framework on investment. These proposals have been passed on to UNCTAD IX for consideration.

In the area of technology, the proposals include the undertaking of science, technology and innovation policy reviews with interested countries. In addition, some Governments have proposed that UNCTAD should provide analytical and other support, in cooperation with WTO and WIPO, to developing countries in the implementation of the TRIPS and TRIMS agreements.

In the area of eneterprise development, it is proposed that UNCTAD´s work focus on facilitating the exchange of experiences on the formulation and implementation of enterprise development strategies, including questions related to privatization, and of experiences with regard to public sector/private sector dialogue and cooperation.

For more information, please contact:
Carine Richard-Van Maele, UNCTAD Press officer
T: +41 22 907 5816/28
F: +41 22 907 0043
E: amanda.waxman@unctad.org.


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