Monday, 17 September 2018

23rd WAIPA International Conference


23rd WAIPA International Conference

Enterprise Greece, as a member of the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA), participated in its general assembly and the international conference "A New Era in Foreign Direct Investments" held in Xiamen, China 7-9 September 2018, in conjunction with the International Investment and Trade Fair of China (CIFIT).

WAIPA, with 170 Members from 130 countries, through a wide range of initiatives, provides networking opportunities for investment promotion agencies and a platform for exchange of best practices for more effective investment promotion. The focus of the conference was to discuss current trends in international FDI flows with policy makers, government representatives and representatives of WAIPA's Consultative Committee: the International Labour Organization (ILO), International Chamber of Commerce, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Bank Group, the Industrial Growth Organization of the United Nations Development Program (UNIDO) and the International Economic Development Council.

During its annual review, the WAIPA General Assembly invited Enterprise Greece to share details of its Synergassia program with its fellow members as an example of international best practice. The program, which was implemented 10 years ago, serves to promote the comparative advantages of the respective regions of Greece.

This year Enterprise Greece is organizing a mission to the Region of Western Macedonia, 3-6 October 2018, with commercial attachés from 26 foreign embassies in attendance to showcase investment opportunities in the region. Other WAIPA members showed strong interest in learning about the initiative by Enterprise Greece.

The main points that emerged from the presentations and panel discussions of the conference can be summarized as follows:

  • The urgent need to link Foreign Direct Investment with local businesses and local communities. Investment promotion agencies must participate in shaping the policy framework to ensure quality work for all through sustainable investment policies (avoiding enclaves).
  • Responsible business conduct ensures economic growth without negative environmental and social consequences.
  • An uncertain international climate is weighing on investment returns and global production, undermining global value chains (GVCs). Protectionist sentiment evidenced in some countries recently has contributed to this uncertain climate.
  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), in particular the 8th goal aimed at promoting jobs and acceptable employment for all, should be a basic national priority for all countries and where investment promotion agencies can and must make a direct and active contribution.
  • Multinationals have strong financial capabilities for investment in innovation and R&D. However, they must follow standards and models that contribute to economic and social development.