What does it take to lift the global economy, engineer growth, stimulate investment flows and create avenues for sustainable development?
The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), the new elite of economic excellence have made such an impact on the global investment community that it has resulted in a massive influx of foreign capital. This trend was highlighted earlier this week at the announcement of Warren Buffett, one of the most iconic business men in the world, first time visit to India to shop for his next venture. Beyond BRICS, ASEAN Countries including Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam started implementing aggressive diversification initiatives with dual objectives: economic consolidation with stronger stocks markets and policies. Further south, the African continent is no longer overlooked as continuous waves of political and social transformations have turned a handful of resource-rich countries into key destinations for high return investments.
Investment Promotion as a strategic tool for incremental economic growth
Causality between FDI and economic growth has long been established, the challenge lying ahead for host economies is to thoroughly assess their preparedness for foreign investors money, knowledge and expectations. Ministries of Foreign Trade, Investment promotion agencies, Chamber of Commerce and business councils engaged in strategies that involve a corporate or rather aggressive approach to investment promotion.
The reliability of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) made it the most favored tool to finance development in transitioning, developing and high growth economies. While some economies witness an exodus of throngs of business giants rushing in to secure a sizeable portion of the prospected economy limitless potential and market shares, some nations struggle to either enhance their attractiveness on the world stage or to actually find interested investors. According to World Bank statistics, cross-borders capital flows will reach US$ 746 billion in 2011, the recipients of this sizable amount of foreign capital belongs the fittest and the most structurally and economically prepared.
The ongoing fierce competition among the countries to attract foreign capital has forced countries to drastically rethink their strategies and ground their investment promotion on core corporate principles and corporate governance. Strategic planning, intensive branding, marketing, targeted promotion, ROI assessment have become essential for transition economies survival and ability to engineer long-term growth.
The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Trade Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) in Dubai has gained an unprecedented momentum among IPAs, Chamber of Commerce, Ministries in charge of economy, development, foreign trade or planning as it has been unanimously adopted as a rescue solution and a realistic alternative for investment promotion. 75 countries from all 7 continents represented, 11 ministers, 1 president, 30 IPAs, 15 chambers of commerce, the support of the United Nations Conference on Trade And Development as well as the World Association for Investment Promotion Agencies make this event a unique platform that connect institutional, corporate and individual investors to project promoters, government officials, ambassadors and business leaders.
The Annual Investment Meeting in Dubai, a timely rescue solution
What does it take to lift global and regional economies? In a grander scope, the obvious response will be sustainable and flexible policies, stronger economic integration initiatives, multiplication of bilateral and multilateral agreements and a greater accent on strategic cooperation. A short term solution with immediate effect can be a timely event designed to enhance cross country promotion and interaction between investors, which is the essence of the Annual Investment Meeting in Dubai.
In depth, the AIM targets fast transforming economies, emerging countries and industries with the most anticipated growth factor and will enhance their potential by providing a strategic platform that delivers ready-to-invest showcases and how-to-invest methodologies. The event proposes a diverse yet very focused set of features (Conference, B2B Meetings, Leadership Roundtables, Workshops, Country Presentations & Exhibitions) designed to exceed the needs of prospective investors and reach out to a wider range of project promoters. The AIM Exhibition’s ultimate goal is to strategically empower participants’ potential by providing them with limitless exposure and enhanced visibility to business savvy financiers.
The AIM Conference works as a forum for high level officials, world’s renowned industrialists, investment experts and leading financial powerhouses to discuss economic governance, strategic expansion and sustainability. The high profile line-up of speakers & participants confirmed includes, HE Ho Vong Phuc, Minister of Planning & Investment, Vietnam , HE Armen Gevorgyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Territorial Administration, Armenia, HE Y. Bhg Datuk Jalilah Baba, Director General, Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA), Motashar Al Murshed, Member, Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Fathallah Sijilmassi, Director General, Moroccan Investment Development Agency, R. Sridharan, Managing Director & Group Executive, State Bank of India, Tarek Amer, Chairman of National Bank Of Egypt and Chairman of Federation Of Egyptian Banks, Oscar Álvarez Calzada, Vice-Chairman of ASEPIC and General Manager of SIEG, Former Intelligence Chief at Invest in Spain, Abdulkerim Çay, Chief Project Director, Invest in Turkey to name a few.
The content-rich and multilayered structure aimed at intensifying interaction, substantial talks and overall worthwhile experience. The event on will start on May 10th at 10.00 AM with a Grand Opening Ceremony followed by an international panel discussion on FDI outcome and a series of sector-focused and country-focused sessions. On day two, May 11th, the conference will be entirely centered on Green Investment and entitled UNCTAD day as the United Nations Conference on Trade And Development has elected the AIM to launch its 2010 edition of the World Investment Report. According to UNCTAD, the AIM Official Institutional Partner, Green FDI offers great opportunities for host economies at all levels of development, yet the transition to a low-carbon economy also presents many challenges for countries. The AIM UNCTAD High Level Meeting on Green FDI and ensuing Investment Showcases will provide an opportunity to explore strategies and policy options in order to tap into the development potential of green FDI.
Day Three aligns with the previous days and offer a succession of panel discussions enriched with a multiplicity of perspectives on the fate of the global financial sector post-recession, an outlook at countries’ investment initiative and an evaluation of PPP, PFI and overall strategies to optimize economic performance.
Staged alongside the AIM main Conference, the AIM Country Presentations will introduce case studies from private sectors executives and government delegates covering developmental initiatives, real-time investment scenarios, foreign trade policies, financing options and FDI statistics of their respective countries. Poland, Armenia, Cyprus, Namibia, Angola, Australia, Russia, Indonesia, Kenya, Morocco are a sample of the countries that will be presenting a 50mn rich of investment information for foreign investors. The Country Presentations will give attending investors the opportunity to create “A La carte” investment agenda during the event.
In the same spirit, the AIM One-to-One Meetings are a secure platform for businesses seeking expansion prospects to optimize their local and regional reach in addition to network opportunities (via B2B, B2G and G2G private meetings) with potential investors and financiers. Hundreds of businesses signed up for this once-in-a-while opportunity to meet with and discuss hard business with international project promoters or investors.
Catering to policy makers, the AIM Ministerial Networking Roundtable will create a greater dialogue on an institutional, diplomatic and governmental level and revisit current approaches to international trade cooperation. 8 Ministers and the Deputy Secretary General of UNCTAD, Mr. Petko Dragonov will bring about their forward looking perspective and discuss a set of basic principles and guidelines for the development of Investment policies. The Ministerial Networking Roundtable will provide a framework for global exchange on the key principles revolving around investment policies, multilateral trade agreements and public and economic governance. It will allow ministers in charge of foreign trade, foreign affairs, economy and development to debate and share their respective views and experiences and find sustainable solutions to further their respective countries developmental goals & objectives. The Ministerial Networking Roundtable offers a common platform to share visions and action plans through practical experiences to maximize FDI-induced development outcomes and ensure policy coherence.
The significance of the Annual Investment Meeting for the UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade
Questioned on the scope and objectives of the AIM, His Excellency Abdulla Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Trade quoted Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi: “International trade has played a significant role in strengthening UAE’s development for many centuries given the country’s location at the crossroads between Europe, Africa & Asia. The Annual Investment Meeting maintains this tradition by providing an exceptional platform for cross country promotion. He then continued by emphasizing the role of the Ministry of Foreign Trade in alleviating the local investment climate to maintain UAE’s leading position as a premium destination for long term and sustainable investments.
In a longer statement highlighting the importance of the AIM for the MoFT, HE Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Trade presented a deeper insight into his expectations and vision of the event.
“We are pleased to see over 75 international official country delegations arriving through our airports to invest or present projects. This overwhelming international support emphasizes the importance of this event on the world stage. We understand their high expectations and anticipate the impact of the AIM not only on their economies but also on the bilateral commercial cooperation the UAE has built and will strengthen with each participating countries during the event.”
Recalling the impact of the 2008-2009 global downturn, HE Al Saleh stated that the country had weathered the storm and successfully maneuver its exit from recession. “The challenge was for UAE to maintain its attractiveness, solidify investors’ confidence and present them with high returns reliable and sustainable investment opportunities.”
With an optimistic yet realistic assessment of today’s economic realities, he mentioned that AIM will help stimulate strategic investments from global investors towards high-growth economies as well as enhance the status of investment of the UAE.
“Our country made substantial steps to enhance its global attractiveness by refraining from establishing restrictive protectionist policies that would have impacted negatively on FDI flows and future influx of inward capital. Our statistics presents a 13% increase of FDI flows in 2010 which is a great testimony of foreign investors’ confidence in the UAE economic landscape. The Annual Investment Meeting in Dubai comes at the right time to encourage investment identification or direct detection and public/private partnership opportunities. The AIM is a first event of its kind to be launched in the region and probably in the world and its respond to a critical need for a strategic meeting point for investment promotion.”
Annual Investment Meeting: a country-wide Initiative
Presented as the new emerging markets FDI stimulator, fast developing economies growth incubator, semi-industrialized nations leadership partner, the AIM is a three-day industry & investment-focused event with various features aimed at fostering international trade cooperation. Its includes an exhibition for projects showcases, a thought leadership conference, a WAIPA working session, a dedicated environment for B2B, B2G and G2G one-to-one meetings and by-invitation only ministerial & IPA roundtables.
The AIM aligned with the UAE MoFT’s ongoing strategy to expand its ties with international organizations, stimulate international trade & cooperation, and provide a new and diverse portfolio of investment opportunities. Beyond the MoFT, the AIM has become a country-wide initiative that engaged the involvement of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce whose First Vice Chairman, His Excellency Khalfan Saeed Juma Al Kaabi, is slated to share the vision for Abu Dhabi 2030 with the support of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council at the AIM Conference.
In Dubai, the Road and Transportation Authority (RTA), the organization responsible for transforming the face of the city with a sophisticated network and unparalleled transportation infrastructure thus providing foreign investors with a world class investment destination has also joined the event as a premier partner showing its strong commitment to the success of AIM. Mr. Adbulla Youssef Alali, Director of Commercial & Investment Department of the RTA who was a speaker at the power press conference ahead of AIM held this Sunday, concurred that the event is indeed all about creating in UAE, the world’s new hotspot for investment opportunities.
His Excellency Fahad Al Gergawi, Chief Executive Officer of the Dubai Economic Department Foreign Investment Office who also answered to the member of the media’s questions during the pre-event press conference stated that “The Foreign Investment Office of the Department of Economic Development of the Emirate of Dubai is proud to be a part of Annual Investment Meeting. The AIM is a strategic step towards help build a perennial hub for investment intelligence in the UAE and with the global investment community. This is an exceptional opportunity for fast transforming economies and emerging markets to present to the world a compelling value proposition. Our role is to empower initiatives aiming at strengthening trade & business relationships between UAE and our international partners and AIM is the dedicated meeting platform to further this objective.”
The AIM has garnered a strong international support as it main feature being a thought leadership Conference and bound to become the one and only regional tribune for world renowned industrialists and key stakeholders to share their know-how, devise innovative strategies for reliable investment planning and explore opportunities stemming from the continuous shift in the world economic order.
The conference speakers’ faculty counts His Excellency Rustam Nurgaliyevich Minnikhanov, President, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia, the third most important and economically viable independent state of Russia and whose capital city Kazan is a UNESCO World Heritage. The President of Tatarstan will be presenting his country’s potential and invite investors to explore untapped opportunities and high growth sectors.
Indonesia, currently presiding over the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) powerful trade community is sending a delegation strong of more than 100 participants lead by His Excellency Gita Wirjawan, Chairman of Indonesia Board of Investment Coordination, international banker and also the most iconic Indonesian business man. He offered a strong belief in the event’s outcome by announcing that he is honored to be part of this prestigious event that will convene many of the world’s prominent government officials, international promotion agencies and corporations from fast growing economies. “The holistic way in which this conference is approached will undoubtedly encourage greater levels of investment between participants.”
Mr. Carlos Bronzatto, Executive Director of WAIPA (World Association for Investment Promotion Agency), AIM official Investment Promotion Partner, an organization that counts the UAE as a strategic Board member, will be holding on May 9th at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Center a pre-conference workshop on investment promotion 101 for the private and public sectors. The WAIPA Working Sessions on Investment are a learning experience designed to provide IPAs, government entities and private corporations with the most reliable tools to implement their investment promotion strategies. The WAIPA working Sessions are a step-by-step guide that help scan opportunities in host economies, pre-qualify for PPP in emerging countries, assess ROI and explore forward-looking ideas and innovative methodologies on how to brand a country.
Representing WAIPA during the AIM press conference on May 8th, Mr. Bronzatto conveys a message from WAIPA’s President, His Excellency Alessandro Teixeira Deputy Minister of Economic Development of Brazil who will join the WAIPA panel on the first day of the event’s conference, by reaffirming its great confidence in AIM.
The Perfect Recipe for Economic Prosperity
The perfect recipe for economic prosperity, exponential growth and strategic governance has yet to be found, however, alternatives that help build stronger economic alliances, foster international trade and engage investors are the most viable and tangible options. “The Annual Investment Meeting in Dubai, from May 10-12, 2011 proves to be resourceful, hopeful and it is a new adventure with more than meets the eye said Mr. Dawood Al Shezawi, Chief Executive Officer of Strategic Marketing & Exhibitions, the organizer of the event.