Sunday, April 22, 2012

Nepal asks developed countries to expand productive capacity in poorest countries

Nepal has asked the developed countries to help expand productive capacity of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). 
Minister of Industry Anil Kumar Jha addressing UNCTAD conference as LDC coordinator representing the views of 49 LDCs, called for international organisations to 'mainstream' productive capacity building in their work, and for developed countries to promote investment in sustainable development in LDCs through risk-insurance schemes, the promotion of venture capital for investment in developing countries, and through setting up 'enabling policy environments' providing access for trade.
Similarly, the UNCTAD secretary-general Supachai Panitchpakdi and International Chamber of Commerce secretary-general Jean-Guy Carrier called for efforts by the international community to boost investment that can spur improvements in productive capacity in least developed countries (LDCs).
Supachai, during the 10th session of the Investment Advisory Council — a joint meeting of UNCTAD and the International Chamber of Commerce — said that productive capacity building requires improving the education and skills of workers and potential workers, expanding and raising the quality of infrastructure like roads and ports, developing and adapting technology, and spurring the creation and expansion of new businesses.
'Productive capacity' refers to the ability of an economy to produce a broader variety of goods and goods of greater complexity, he said, adding that all of these components require investment. He, then, introduced the concept of 'aid for investment in productive capacity', and said it could be encouraged through financial support and insurance guarantees for investors, technical assistance to LDC governments to help them attract foreign direct investment and an international policy environment conducive to fostering investment in LDCs.
Carrier — representing the views of the business community on the occasion – emphasised the need to maintain and even strengthen international dialogue and cooperation on global economic policy issues, including trade and investment.
He expressed concern that governments seem to be moving away from multilateral approaches to key economic governance issues. Carrier also warned about a return of protectionist tendencies in the areas of trade and investment. "The need to reverse that trend," he said, "makes an international collaborative approach even more important."
Other speakers, including minister of Development and International Cooperation of Tunisia Riadh Bettaieb pointed out that 'the FDI agenda' is not always the same as 'the poor agenda', and that policies are needed to attract investment to key sectors for development like infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, tourism, and small industries, and policies also are needed to realise the development benefits of such investment.
The pariticpants also pushed for greater investment in rural development. To strengthen local enterprise development in conjunction with foreign investment, they suggested vocational training and coaching support for entrepreneurs.
Participants from the private sector, including chairman of Nestlé Peter Brabeck and chief executive of McKinsey & Company Dominic Barton, said that failures of international cooperation, including in the Doha round of trade talks, are a serious loss, especially for the least developed countries. The bilateral treaties that proliferate in the absence of multilateral agreements tend to favour larger and more developed economies, they said. They acknowledged that policy environments for investment have improved at the national level, but stressed the importance of stability and insurance policies in case of changes in government direction, saying such components are an integral part of building an enabling environment for investment.


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