Global Investment Policy and Practice

International investment is crucial to realizing the intertwined goals of sustainable development and corporate growth. The evidence shows that foreign direct investment (FDI) can generate not only capital and revenue, but also jobs, knowledge, technology, innovation, upgrading and especially inclusive, sustainable and responsible growth.

Yet none of this is automatic. It depends on creating the right business environment and investment climate, underpinned by international agreements, national policies, domestic regulation and specific measures. In addition, in recent times geo-economic competition, technological change and the coronavirus pose new and growing challenges to these benefits.

In this context, the Global Investment Policy and Practice initiative brings together business and government to address these challenges and unlock the potential of investment, informed by experts, experience and evidence.

Efforts are aimed at maximizing positive effects – and minimizing any negative effects – of investment flows on the economy, society and environment. This is achieved by reforming existing investment rules, creating new international frameworks, identifying supportive policies and measures, and implementing these in practice through in-country projects. Projects are underway in Cambodia, Ghana, India and Kenya.

The work takes place on four inter-connected levels:

Subnational: Understanding the role of subnational investment institutions, policies and measures in support of sustainable development, and how to align these with national frameworks

National: Collaborating with investment promotion agencies, firms, civil society and academics through a multistakeholder process to identify, validate and implement country-level reforms

Regional: Leveraging learning from the national and subnational levels to inform regional cooperation (including at the AU, APEC, ASEAN, ECOWAS, etc.) and sharing insights with developing country policymakers through workshops and trainings

Multilateral: Informing WTO negotiations on a new investment facilitation framework, G20 Trade and Investment Working Group initiatives, and other high-level engagement to help drive international cooperation

The initiative is further divided into six workstreams:

Sustainable investment: What are the most important policies, frameworks and measures to advance the sustainable development impact of investment flows?

Investment facilitation: What are the most important investment facilitation measures to consider including as provisions in international frameworks, including in WTO negotiations?

Outward FDI: How can policymakers work with firms to identify policies and measures that support outward investment while maximizing benefits for both home and host economies?

Digital FDI: What are the policy and regulatory enablers to attract FDI to grow the digital economy, whether growing digital activities, encouraging digital adoption or providing digital infrastructure?

Services facilitation: How can business and governments leverage a new WTO outcome to facilitate services trade, especially in emerging markets, including telecoms, banking, entertainment, etc?

Sector-specific: What are sector-specific policies and measures in agribusiness and tourism to both increase investment flows and ensure that these support development objectives?

A new World Investment for Development Alliance (WIDA) is being planned between leading international organizations and other key actors as a mechanims to grow cooperation and collaboration.


The initiative receives financial support from business, the Government of the Netherlands, and the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO).

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