Investment Facilitation for Development

Foreign direct investment (FDI) can play a significant role in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially in developing countries. However, FDI flows need to be ramped up considerably to make a marked contribution in order to meet this objective. This is all the more important now because global FDI flows may decrease by 30% to 40% during 2020-2021. This makes the facilitation of FDI flows-and especially the facilitation of sustainable FDI flows-urgent.

Axel Berger

Quan Zhao, ITC

Karl P. Sauvant, Columbia University/CCSI

2021 - 2021 / Abgeschlossen


International Trade Centre (ITC)


Beyond such economic fundamentals as market size and growth, the quality of infrastructure and the level of skills, the impediments to sustainable FDI flows to developing countries can include:

  • low levels of predictability and transparency of the regulatory framework,
  • difficulties of undertaking investment,
  • lack of incentives to contribute as much as possible to sustainable development.


To deal with these challenges, 101 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are negotiating a multilateral framework on investment facilitation for development.

In this context, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) have launched a project on "Investment Facilitation for Development." The project supports the negotiations of a multilateral framework on investment facilitation for development by:

  • building negotiation capacity in developing (including least developed) countries,
  •  channelling ground-level and analytical expertise to negotiators,
  • promoting public discussions of issues related to investment facilitation for development.


The project delivers three sets of complementary activities:

  • Two focus groups of global experts have been established to marshal global perspectives:
  • The Commentary Group on a Multilateral Framework on Investment Facilitation for Development consists primarily of experts from investment promotion agencies, investment service providers and the private sector; it is being implemented together with the World Economic Forum. These experts provide ground-level insights for the drafting of the framework.
  • The Expert Network on a Multilateral Framework on Investment Facilitation for Development consists of academic experts who explore legal, political and economic challenges that need to be addressed to move the negotiations forward.
  • The project delivers capacity-building workshops to delegates from Missions to the WTO to showcase best practices as regards putting in place and implementing investment facilitation measures for development.
  • Regular webinars are organized for the general public, to provide insights from experts and offer a platform for public dialogue.