The Monitor reports countries’ progress in implementing investment facilitation measures on the ground, against the backdrop of ongoing negotiations on a possible investment facilitation agreement at the WTO in Geneva.
It finds that progress has focused on information provision, regulatory transparency and streamlining of administrative procedures for investors through digital information portals and digital single windows. Since 2016, the number of countries with digital
information portals increased from 130 to 169 and those with digital single windows from 29 to 75.
These tools, which have also improved in quality over the past 5 years, represent the most impactful elements among the gamut of investment facilitation measures. They have the added advantage that they can be broadened in scope to also benefit local MSMEs.
A further piece of good news is that developing countries are catching up. Their use of digital information portals and single windows has jumped. While on average their ratings are lower, several achieve top marks, often with technical assistance.
UNCTAD’s data shows that most countries recognize the importance of investment facilitation to revive stagnant cross-border investment in industry, absorb a hoped-for global push for investment in sustainability and infrastructure, and remain competitive as
international tax reforms reduce the scope of fiscal incentives.