Investment Facilitation for Development: How Arab Economies Will Benefit

High-Level Regional Roundtable

Ort / Datum
Online, 01.06.2022


International Trade Centre (ITC), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as coordinator of the Arab Group at the WTO, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), World Economic Forum (Forum)

This high-level event is meant to offer a platform for a strategic exchange on the negotiations on an Investment Facilitation for Development (IFD) Agreement in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), launched in September 2020 after over two years of preparatory discussions. The negotiations bring together over 110 WTO Members at all levels of development, aiming to conclude the text negotiations by the end of 2022.[1] Currently, the following Members from among the Arab Economies are participating: Kingdom of Bahrain, Djibouti, the State of Kuwait, Mauritania, Morocco, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

High-level policy makers, government officials, private sector representatives, and eminent academic scholars will participate in the Roundtable, to be updated on the negotiations and to raise awareness on their progress and reflect on how countries may best make use of the IFD Agreement to enhance their business climate, attract higher value-added investment and boost economic growth, digital economy innovations and sustainable development. This reflection process also seeks to help participants to ensure that their countries’ international engagement is in line with their sustainable development goals (SDGs) and their national reform agendas.

This process is particularly important and timely as a working group led by the WTO secretariat and comprised of leading international organisations active in the field is preparing an 'Investment Facilitation Self-Assessment Guide' to help WTO Members self-assess their needs and priorities for the effective implementation of the future IFD Agreement and the technical assistance and capacity building needs associated with implementation. Need assessments are expected to begin in the second half of this year.

The Roundtable will provide a brief background on the focus and progress of the IFD Agreement negotiations and explore the benefits and possible challenges of an IFD Agreement for Arab economies.

The objective of this Roundtable is to facilitate awareness raising, joint learning and capacity building among participants.

The Roundtable will be held under the Chatham House Rule to facilitate open and results-oriented discussions.




First session: opening


  • Saqer Almoqbel, Coordinator of Arab Group, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the WTO



  • Rajesh Aggarwal, Director (oic), Division for Market Development, ITC on behalf of Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, ITC
  • Maroun Kairouz, Head of the Middle East and North Africa, World Economic Forum

Guest address

  • Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General, WTO


2nd Session: High-level segment: The importance of investment facilitation from national and regional perspectives          


  • Rajesh Aggarwal, Director (oic), Division for Market Development, ITC



  • Mathias Francke, Ambassador of Chile to the WTO, Coordinator of the Structured Discussions on Investment Facilitation for Development – “The state of play of the WTO negotiations on an Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement”
  • Khalid A. Al-Falih, Minister of Investment, Saudi-Arabia – “How would an Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement help facilitate higher FDI flows?”
  • Qais bin Mohammed Al Yousef, Minister of Commerce, Industry, and Investment Promotion, Oman – “How important is IF for Oman? What is needed to strengthen IF in Oman?”
  • Abla Abdel-Latif, Chair, Presidential Advisory Council for Economic Development, Egypt – “How important is IF for Egypt? What is needed to strengthen IF in Egypt?”
  • Zaher Al Qatarneh, General Secretary, Ministry of Investment, Jordan – “How important is IF for Jordan? What is needed to strengthen IF in Jordan?”
  • Tarek Sultan, CEO and Vice Chair, Agility – “An investor’s perspective on the importance of investment facilitation”



  • Hamid Mamdouh, Senior Council at King and Spalding LLP (Geneva office) and Visiting Professor, Queen Mary University of London, Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS)


3rd Session: How an Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement can contribute to sustainable development 


  • Matthew Stephenson, Head of Investment Policy and Practice, World Economic Forum



  • Maha Gabbani, Legal Consultant, Permanent Mission of Saudi Arabia to the WTO - “Key areas of action to facilitate sustainable FDI”
  • Abdou El Azizi, Head of the Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements Section, Department of Treasury and External Finance, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Morocco - “Understanding countries’ needs and support requirements to implement investment facilitation measures”
  • Tarek Tawfik, Vice-Chair, Federation of Egyptian Industries and Member of the Board of the Egypt’s General Authority for Investment (GAFI) - “Which investment facilitation measures are most important”
  • Ghada Abdelkader, Senior Vice-President, CE-Invests, Crescent Enterprises, United Arab Emirates - “An investor’s perspective on the importance of investment facilitation”


Concluding remarks


Während unserer Veranstaltungen werden z.T. Foto- und/oder Filmaufnahmen gemacht, die für Zwecke der Veranstaltungsberichterstattung und allgemeinen Öffentlichkeitsarbeit in verschiedenen Medien veröffentlicht werden. Sie haben jederzeit das Recht, die Foto- oder Videograf*innen darauf hinzuweisen, dass Sie nicht aufgenommen werden möchten.


Datum / Uhrzeit

01.06.2022 / 11:00 - 13:00




Please note that, to avoid any difficulties, only participants who register will receive the password to join the on-line roundtable.


To register for the event and receive the meeting-link details, please register here.