Geneva, The Gulf Observer: Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), said the UAE is a world-renowned investment destination with a business-friendly environment.
Speaking to the renowned News Agency – WAM ahead of the World Investment Forum (WIF) in Abu Dhabi, which will take place from 16th to 20th October, 2023, Grynspan expressed her hopes and expectations for the event, noting that the UAE has been a long-standing partner of UNCTAD.
She commended the UAE’s hosting of the forum, which will gather global investment stakeholders, business leaders, the private sector, financial markets, government officials, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) during its sessions.
“The forum in Abu Dhabi will be a significant platform for investors to network and collaborate and will encourage financial institutions that have grown stronger in recent years to invest in sustainable infrastructure projects and companies that follow environmental and social principles.”
The forum aims to revolutionise sustainable investment, she continued, noting that the world has ample funds but requires innovative methods to direct them to crucial sectors, such as sustainable development, renewable and sustainable energy, and the blue economy. “The forum also aims to increase investments in health education and infrastructure projects in developing countries.”
Grynspan explained how the forum could address current global investment challenges. She noted that the financial crisis is not the only challenge faced by the world now, “as there are other challenges, including the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change on developing countries. This is in addition to the increasing cost of living in these countries amid slow economic growth.”
According to the international official, two important issues need to be addressed: “First, the global share of foreign direct investment (FDI) fell to 12% in 2022 but started to recover in 2023. The second is the fact that most FDIs that are essential for sustainable development flow to wealthy countries, with only 2% of total global FDI inflow reaching Africa. This trend needs to be reversed, and such investments should be distributed more evenly around the world to achieve more sustainable growth.”
Grynspan talked about a US$2.2 trillion investment gap in the energy sector reported in UNCTAD’s annual foreign direct investment report, stressing the need for private sector involvement to bridge this gap, as public funds and development banks alone will not suffice. She also stressed that countries must cooperate to attract private investment in the energy sector to accelerate the transition to a clean and sustainable energy future.
“The WIF in Abu Dhabi will be a crucial opportunity to encourage investment in climate change projects. With 150 events over five days, including sessions on foreign investment in climate change, the forum will galvanise the investment community and COP28 participants to progress towards a clean and sustainable future,” she further added, expressing her optimism that the forum will help finalise investment and finance preparations for COP28, injecting momentum into the global efforts to combat climate change.