UIA attends 24th WAIPA World Investment Conference

By David Muwanga

Acting Director General of the Uganda Investment Authority Lawrence Byensi has left for Warsaw, Poland to attend a five day World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) 24th world investment conference.

The conference to be held on the theme “The future of FDI: Prospects, challenges and role of IPAs” will among other discuss on topics on the Rebounding the slide of FDI: Key factors, policy concerns and opportunities.

A statement issued by the conference organizers said that this topic was selected because it is estimated that global FDI flows were $1.3 trillion in 2018, which is 13% decline compared to the last year. This is the third consecutive drop in FDI flows and lowest since the global financial crisis. FDI slide is mainly concentrated in developed economies that experienced staggering 40% decline in FDI inflows. Key drivers behind these trends are policy and economic factors in addition with the structural changes in the way international business is conducted, i.e. rise of the digital economy and shift towards intangibles. Implications of negative FDI trends are important concern for policymakers as FDI is an essential element in countries’ efforts to stimulate and enhance economic development. Especially it is significant for the developing world and transition economies due to their need of capital to stimulate industrialization. The panel for this topic will discuss main factors behind the slow-down in overseas investments, role of IPAs and attempt to find solutions.

The conference is also expected to discuss the FDI in the digitalized world. Mr. Byensi recently attributed the fluctuation in investment attraction figures to the period when UIA shifted from manual to digital registration of investors. UIA Cn now register investors on the e.Biz.go.ug.

According to the statement, the digital revolution has left profound impact on the overall global economy. The recent statistics show that half of the world’s population is online, while internet industry has significant contribution to the GDPs of countries. These trends have significant implications on FDI. They shaped the way international business is conducted producing the new investment patterns with different impacts on host countries. Furthermore, digital technologies enabled higher efficiency and provided new development opportunities.

Reaping the benefits of digitalization remain a big challenge for countries all over the world as it requires adjustment of their development policies. This session will gather experts to discuss solutions for overcoming barriers that impede the development of digital economy. It will also address the main impacts of digitalization and technology on the current investment outlook, labor market, and how IPAs can utilize digitalization for determining potential projects and predict which companies are more likely to commit to an investment project.

Panel three of the conference will discuss the topic on the new types of investments. New types of investments, such as Venture Capital (VC), Corporate Venture Capital (CVC), Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF), family offices, and impact investments, are offering new opportunities for countries to boost their development.

For example, concepts of financing emerging companies with high growth potential, i.e. startups, known as VC or CVC investments are at record levels despite negative global FDI trends. Global analysis of venture funding by KPMG revels continues six-year straight growth of VC reaching $254 billion in 2018. Additionally, corporate participation in VC deals, i.e. CVC, reached an all-time high, where corporations participated in 20% of all VC deals in 2018.

Furthermore, although SWF are growing less rapidly than before they are still playing important role in global capital markets. Another emerging source of investments are family offices. According to the EY’ sources, there are more than 10,000 single family offices worldwide. Also, more and more investors are focusing on impact investments. These types of investments are following ethical principles and creating positive social impact.

This panel will gather experts to discuss what are the main pros and cons of these new types of investments? How governments can create fertile environment for creation of startups and utilize opportunities that VC investing is offering? How startups can go about capturing the attention of CV and CVC investors? Which key factors are driving SWF and family offices to invest? What is the future of impact investments?

A workshop will also be held on the theme “The Future of FDI and the role of IPAs”. This workshop will address how IPAs can position themselves to react and respond to upcoming trends. International organizations will give insights in their daily work and how IPAs can achieve the positive outcomes expected from FDI projects. Moreover, they will reflect on how they see the future of FDI and the role of IPAs. ���� ���