Foreign direct investment (FDI) has come to be widely recognized over the past decade as a major potential
contributor to growth and development. It can bring capital, technology, management know-how
and access to new markets. In comparison with other forms of capital flows, it is also more stable, with
a longer-term commitment to the host economy.
An Investment Guide to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic is the concrete product of a collaborative
venture by UNCTAD and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The objective of this project is to
bring together two parties with complementary interests: companies that seek new opportunities and
countries that seek new investors. This is not always a straightforward exercise, for firms are driven by
their global strategies as much as lured by specific opportunities, and countries have economic and social
objectives that transcend attracting foreign investment.
The UNCTAD–ICC investment guides are thus properly seen as parts of a process, a long-term process at
the heart of which is an ongoing dialogue between investors and governments. The guides themselves
are the product of a dialogue, including that occurring among and between the representatives of business
and government during the workshops that precede the completion of the guides. It is our hope
that the guides will in turn contribute to the dialogue, helping to strengthen and sustain it. We are convinced
that in the long run it is this alone that will create conditions increasingly conducive to greater
flows of investment.