A new drive to bring foreign investment and private sector development to Africa has been announced by UNCTAD and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Reinforcing a joint communiqué signed in April in Geneva (see TAD/INF/2648), UNIDO Director-General Mauricio de Maria y Campos and UNCTAD Secretary-General Rubens Ricupero met in Vienna on 25 July to build further on their complementary roles and expertise.
The UNIDO-UNCTAD communiqué signed in Vienna launches a joint programme to help African countries improve the environment for investment flows and transfer of technology and strengthen their business capacities. To this aim UNIDO and UNCTAD will work together to prepare country investment profiles, organize international business conferences, strengthen ties among the private sectors in Africa, and between Africa and other regions, promote the dissemination of scientific and technical information and harness information technology for development purposes.
Messrs. de Maria y Campos and Ricupero emphasized the importance of launching a similar programme for the world´s poorest nations. As a first step, the two organizations will take the lead in co-sponsoring, with other interested agencies, a pilot seminar on mobilizing the private sector to encourage foreign investment into the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
"UNCTAD and UNIDO", said Mr. Ricupero upon signing the communiqué, "can work together to compare perceptions of the world´s challenges and build a common vision of global economic change towards the year 2000". Recalling that UNIDO and UNCTAD shared a common origin in their being created at the request of the developing countries, he felt that the two organizations should develop closer ties while respecting their distinct roles and mandates.
Mr. de Maria y Campos shared this perception. "Synergy generated between our respective projects and programmes", he said, "will build on the complementary but distinct functions of each organization." While both were promoting sustainable development, UNIDO´s services were dedicated specifically to industrial development and UNCTAD´s to trade and development in a broader sense.
For the UNIDO Director-General, the aim of cooperation embedded in the communiqué "is to harness the forces of industry, trade, technology and investment in order to stimulate long-term economic development, especially in Africa and the LDCs, where support services are needed most."
The reinforcement of partnerships between the two international institutions comes within the context of current reforms of the United Nations system as well as recommendations made at last month´s Group of Seven Summit in Lyon.
Besides the initiatives for Africa and LDCs, UNIDO and UNCTAD plan to expand existing cooperation through specialized assistance in investment, technology and enterprise development. They will cooperate in helping developing countries and economies-in-transition with monitoring foreign investment and with assessing the impact of recent trade agreements on their industrial structure. They will join forces in assisting governments in formulating and implementing country-specific enterprise development projects. They plan to promote jointly the Investment Promotion forums set up by UNIDO, as well as policy reviews undertaken by the two organizations, in particular UNIDO´s Industrial Development Global Report and UNCTAD´s World Investment Report.
UNIDO and UNCTAD are scheduled to hold their next annual meeting in Geneva in July 1997 to review progress and identify areas for new cooperative initiatives.