Year in review: Top 10 UNCTAD stories of 2023

27 December 2023

From analyzing the ups and downs of global trade and investment to measuring progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, these are the most-read UNCTAD stories of the year.

UNCTAD News Top 10 stories of 2023

1. Multiple crises unleash one of the lowest global economic outputs in recent decades, says UN report

"People wait in line for gas."
© Shutterstock/Samuel Acosta

Published on 25 January 2023 | A UN report called for stronger fiscal measures to resuscitate the world economy and support the global sustainable development agenda.

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2. Global trade growth returns but outlook for 2023 is poor

"Workers on an oil rig."
© Shutterstock/ Wan Fahmy Redzuan

Published on 21 June 2023 | UNCTAD’s Global Trade Update showed that world trade in goods and services had rebounded between January and March but warned that prospects for the rest of the year were bleak.

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3. UNCTAD calls for a bold international economic agenda to avert another lost decade for developing countries

"A woman receives food aid in India."
© Shutterstock/suprabhat

Published on 12 April 2023 | In a Trade and Development Report update, UNCTAD warned that developing countries faced a projected foregone income of $800 billion while battling unprecedented levels of debt distress.

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4. Investment flows to Africa dropped to $45 billion in 2022

"A female worker on an oil rig in Nigeria, Africa."
© Shutterstock/Ikechi Ugwoeje

Published on 5 July 2023 | According to UNCTAD's World Investment Report, foreign direct investment flows to Africa declined 44% from the record $80 billion set in 2021.

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5. UNCTAD measures progress on sustainable development goals, shows impact of global crises

"A worker sorts wheat in India."
© Shutterstock/PradeepGaurs

Published on 27 June 2023 | UNCTAD’s annual SDG Pulse provided analysis on how the world fared in achieving targets of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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6. South-South trade agreement holds key to more sustainable and inclusive growth

"A worker in a shoe factory in Brazil."
© Shutterstock/Alf Ribeiro

Published on 9 May 2023 | UNCTAD analysis explored how the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries could unlock the full potential of a $16 trillion market with over 4 billion people.

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7. Global trade slows, but ‘green goods’ grow

"Workers install a wind turbine."
© Shutterstock/Jacques Tarnero

Published on 23 March 2023 | UNCTAD’s Global Trade Update showed that overall trade growth turned negative in the last half of 2022, but that trade in environmentally friendly products defied the trend.

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8. Investment flows to developing countries in Asia remained flat in 2022

"Workers in a factory that produces electric car batteries."
© Shutterstock/NamLong Nguyen

Published on 5 July 2023 | UNCTAD's World Investment Report showed that inflows to the region were highly concentrated, with five economies accounting for almost 80% of foreign direct investment to the region.

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9. Global forum spotlights actions to make trade more sustainable and inclusive

"Woman sort through seaweed in a seaweed farm in Tanzania."
© Shutterstock/OlegD

Published on 2 May 2023 | The UN Trade Forum 2023 highlighted how developing countries could use trade to tackle global challenges including protecting the ocean, reducing digital and gender inequalities, and building more resilient economies.

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10. First-ever official data on illicit financial flows now available

"Bills from diverse currencies."
© Shutterstock/RomanR

Published on 8 June 2023 | UNCTAD and its partners continued to work with over 20 developing countries to produce transparent, robust and globally comparable statistics on selected types of illicit financial flows.

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