World Investment Report 2021

Investing in sustainable recovery


World Investment Report 2023 now available



Key Messages  |  Annex Tables  |  Country Factsheets  |  Regional Factsheets  |  Regional FDI at a Glance


Global flows of foreign direct investment have been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, they fell by one third to $1 trillion, well below the low point reached after the global financial crisis a decade ago. Greenfield investments in industry and new infrastructure investment projects in developing countries were hit especially hard.

This is a major concern, because international investment flows are vital for sustainable development in the poorer regions of the world. Increasing investment to support a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the pandemic is now a global policy priority. This entails promoting investment in infrastructure and the energy transition, in resilience and in health care.

The World Investment Report supports policymakers by monitoring global and regional investment trends and national and international policy developments. This year’s report reviews investment in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and shows the influence of investment policies on public health and economic recovery from the pandemic.

A concerted global effort is needed to increase SDG investment leading up to 2030. The package of recommendations put forward by UNCTAD for promoting investment in sustainable recovery provides an important tool for policymakers and the international development community.

I commend this report to all engaged in building a sustainable and inclusive future.

António Guterres
Secretary-General of the United Nations