The contribution of foreign direct investment to development is now widely recognized.
There is a perception, however, that this contribution may be affected by the way investment enters a country. It may come in the form of a new enterprise or the expansion of an existing enterprise; it may also come through a merger or an acquisition. Acquisitions, in particular, arouse concerns, especially over employment, ownership and market structure. And the concerns become urgent when the host economy is a developing one.
Given the recent explosion in cross-border mergers and acquisitions, UNCTAD´s 10th World Investment Report is a highly timely and important document. This phenomenon calls for just the sort of careful and dispassionate analysis that has become the hallmark of the WIRs.
Cross-border mergers and acquisitions are a part of economic life in a liberalizing and globalizing world. But accepting a more open market in the interests of growth and development does not mean relaxing the requirements of public vigilance. On the contrary, a freer market - and particularly the emerging global market for enterprises - calls for greater vigilance as well as stronger and better governance. To this end, World Investment Report 2000 provides us with a valuable resource.
Kofi A. Annan
Secretary-General of the United Nations