Unctad’s World Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi to focus on sustainable post pandemic recovery


The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s World Investment Forum, which will be held in Abu Dhabi this year, will explore ways for countries to sustainably recover from the pandemic.

The event will be held from October 17 to 21 in the UAE’s capital, James Zhan, director of the investment and enterprise division at Unctad, said.

“The overarching theme for this year’s investment forum is investing in sustainable recovery,” Mr Zhan told a media briefing at the Abu Dhabi The Future event held online on Tuesday.

“It aims at addressing key emerging challenges and opportunities arising from the pandemic and beyond. It also aims to explore ways and means to mobilise investments for sustainable and inclusive recovery.”

The Covid-19 pandemic, which upended global trade and disrupted the travel and tourism sector, tipped the world’s economy into the deepest recession since the 1930s. The health crisis has also caused a fall in foreign direct investments, which slumped 42 per cent in 2020, according to Unctad. Foreign investment flows plunged to $859 billion at the end of December, down from $1.5 trillion in 2019.

However, stimulus measures and an accelerated pace of vaccine rollout in many countries are improving the economic outlook. Global output is set to expand 6 per cent in 2021 after contracting 4.4 per cent last year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The World Investment Forum is the largest global platform focusing on investment development. The previous event in 2018, held in Geneva, attracted 6,600 participants from 150 countries including key decision-makers in the government and the private sector.

“There are a lot of issues that we need to discuss in mobilising global investment,” Mr Zhan said.

Geneva-based Unctad expects FDI to continue falling this year despite better economic prospects, it said in a report in January.

Abu Dhabi was selected not just for its infrastructure but because the emirate and the UAE “can set an example on how to cope with the challenges arising from the pandemic and how to have a far vision in building back better and even in longer-term sustainable development”, Mr Zhan said.

“Besides, Abu Dhabi has been hosting many multinational companies and the UAE also, and that gives additional incentives for us to have the World Investment Forum this year (in Abu Dhabi) so that we can have more interaction with business.”

Expo 2020, which is going to be held later this year in the UAE, can also benefit the World Investment Forum in “terms of participation, speakers and in terms of showcasing”, he said.

Published: April 6, 2021 05:57 PM