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Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to inform you that UNCTAD’s Investment Policy Monitor (Special Issue) on Investment Policies in LDCs – trends since the LDC IV Conference<>, has been released on 3 March. The Monitor shows that since 2011, least developed countries (LDCs) have been dynamic reformers in the area of investment policy, adopting a large number of reforms aimed at opening their economies to FDI, improving investor treatment and protection guarantees and facilitating investment operations.

Indeed, over 80 per cent of the investment policy measures adopted by LDCs in the period were more favourable to investment, confirming their commitment to enhancing productive capacities by creating conditions for attracting investments and promoting private sector development. Around half of the investment policy measures concerned specific sectors, with extractive industries accounting for the lion’s share of the sectoral measures, and about one in ten measures targeted specifically investment in sectors related to the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Since 2011, LDCs have also concluded 92 bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and became party to 10 regional agreements with investment provisions. LDCs’ participation in international investment agreements thus followed the global trend, with a shift away from bilateral towards regional investment rulemaking.

Despite those efforts, FDI inflows to these countries have been underwhelming, pointing to the need to continue creating a conducive policy environment for investment in productive capacities, but also address other fundamental aspects of the investment environment, such as infrastructure and skills gaps. Actions to modernize investment promotion, facilitation and target SDG-relevant investment should also be pursued. These tasks cannot be achieved unless development partners cooperate with LDCs to tackle institutional and capacity constraints. The private sector, including international investors, can also be encouraged to commit resources and contribute expertise to the effort, collaborating with relevant national government institutions in a spirit of shared responsibility.

Best regards,

James X. Zhan
Director, Investment and Enterprise<>
Lead, World Investment Report
United Nations Conference on Trade & Development
Palais des Nations, Geneva<><><>

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