Many governments in developing countries have been working to address public governance issues, and there is increasing interest in promoting reforms as a means to create a more stable, transparent and predictable environment that helps attract foreign direct investment (FDI). Heads of investment promotion agencies, corporate executives, international experts, government representatives and NGOs are meeting in Geneva this week to examine the question of what constitutes good governance in investment promotion and how public governance can be improved.
The expert meeting, which opened today at the Palais des Nations and continues through Wednesday, is taking place under the aegis of UNCTAD´s programme on good governance in investment promotion (GGIP). Supported financially by the Government of Sweden, GGIP is a unique project that has over the past two years been helping least developed countries (LDCs) build national capacity to develop and uphold good governance in investment promotion and facilitation.
In his keynote address this morning, Dr. Wan-Soon Kim, Investment Ombudsman of the Republic of Korea, described how his country´s unique effective grievance resolution procedures and services have helped encourage substantial re-investment by existing investors. Despite a sharp reduction in FDI inflows, the share of re-investment in Korea increased from $3.2 billion in 2002 to $4.0 billion in 2003. Participants stressed the importance of effectively addressing the problems of existing investors, as well as the key role of investment promotion agencies in ensuring that the investor community is consulted on matters that affect them.
During the meeting, the experts will assess the role of national investment promotion agencies in improving governance in the public and private sectors and identify policies and practices that enhance good governance in investment promotion on the basis of national examples, the experience of UNCTAD programmes and those of other organizations and input from participants.
The meeting will also consider UNCTAD´s just-published Investment Policy Review of Benin (in french only), which assesses that country´s policy framework for investment and makes numerous recommendations on its legislative framework, governance structure, infrastructure and sectoral issues.