Mobilizing investment for growth and sustainable development is a priority for most countries. Concerted efforts are required to boost cross-border investment, within the context of an overall policy framework aimed at maximizing the benefits of such investment for host countries and minimizing any negative side effects.
In the most common national and international policy instruments for investment promotion, relatively little attention is being paid to ground-level obstacles to investment, such as a lack of transparency on legal or administrative requirements faced by investors, lack of efficiency in the operating environment, and other factors causing high costs of doing business.
Addressing such barriers to investment could provide a real boost to both cross-border and domestic investment, complementing other instruments for the promotion of investment and filling a systemic gap.
Investment facilitation initiatives can include improvements in transparency and information available to investors; they can work towards efficient and effective administrative procedures for investors; they can enhance the consistency and predictability of the policy environment for investors through consultation procedures; they can increase accountability and effectiveness of government officials and mitigate investment disputes through ombudspersons; they can include cross-border coordination and collaboration initiatives such as regional investment compacts or links between outward and inward investment promotion agencies; and they can include technical cooperation and other specific support mechanisms for investment.
The Action Menu (available here) is based on UNCTAD's Investment Policy Framework – which proposed action on Investment Facilitation in its first edition in 2012 – and rich experiences and practices of investment promotion and facilitation worldwide over the past decades. It was first posted as a discussion note in January 2016; the current edition incorporates numerous comments and extensive feedback received through the Hub and in other forums. The Action Menu was published integrally in the World Investment Report 2016 and launched officially at the World Investment Forum 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Action Menu proposes 10 action lines with a series of options for investment policymakers to adapt and adopt for national and international policy needs: the package includes actions that countries can choose to implement unilaterally, and options that can guide international collaboration or that can be incorporated in international investment agreements. The Action Menu should be read in the broader context of UNCTAD's Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development.
Readers and users can continue to provide comments and ideas for the further development of the Action Menu. Please submit your feedback to Mr. James Zhan, Director of the Investment and Enterprise Division at UNCTAD via DIAEinfo@unctad.org.
Download UNCTAD’s Global Action Menu for Investment Facilitation here: