2 1st World Investment Conference organized by World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) was held in İstanbul, on October 13-14. This annual meeting brought together Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) from a vast number of countries; other government officials, development sector leaders, private sector representatives and academics relevant to FDI policy and strategy. The WAIPA is a nongovernmental organization that provides the opportunity for investment promotion agencies to network and exchange the most effective practices in investment promotion that was founded in 1995. In addition to providing the human resources capacity of its member agencies, the WAIPA organizes training events, either independently or in coordination with partner organizations. Announcing that membership is open to all entities, the WAIPA stresses on its official webpage that the primary function of the organization is “to promote any country, political subdivision of a country or other uncontested territory, as a destination for, or source of, investments.”
Following last year's WIC in Milan (2015), a consensus has been established among WAIPA members that there is a need to bring marked policy shift to create sustainable investments at the investment agency level. That is why they have chosen “Inclusive Investments and a Sustainable Future,” as the overarching theme for this conference. WAIPA's 21st World Investment Conference Istanbul debate sessions focused on steering towards sustainable FDI – FDI as a main driver to achieve SDGs, influence of technology in IPA service excellence and analyzing factors that determine private sector investments into markets. Arda Ermut, the President of The Republic of Turkey Prime Ministry Investment Support and Promotion Agency (ISPAT) and WAIPA, in his statement he made before the conference has started said that WAIPA represents over 170 investment agencies around the world, and after taking over the presidency of this organization in 2014, they managed to carry its headquarters from Geneva to Istanbul due to its more central location. During his opening speech at the 21st World Investment Conference, indicating that the Investment Promotion Agencies are working to prevent further deterioration of the global economy, Ermut said the cooperation is of vital importance for achieving this objective. “WAIPA is working to involve even more members into the association, which would make it more inclusive. So far, we have 168 members from 30 countries. These figures will not stop increasing because we already have 20 new applications from all over the world. There is a great need for cooperation. In particular, the Investment Promotion Agencies must work together. We work with international organizations and investors. Our goal is to channel foreign capital to developing countries. We as WAIPA contribute to encouraging investments with our training events he said. At the speech he gave in 21st World Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek said all countries should make more investments because the global economy is far from being strong and sustainable. “We should be optimistic about the future, and avoid protectionist policies which prevents global economic growth. There is a need for at least 6 or 7 percent advance in global trade,” he said. He said short-term fluctuations were not important. “We say to investors, 'do not let shortterm or daily fluctuations frighten you.' They should look at the fundamentals, demographic structure, reform process,” Simsek said. “We can manage the daily issues. Beyond these temporary issues, emerging markets will await investment opportunities,” he added. Celestin Monga, vice president at the African Development Bank (AfDB), said: “Turkey is an indispensable country in today's world.” “We are observing Turkey and the issues in this part of the world. As a Cameroonian citizen, I hail the great honor, power, and elegance of this great nation,” Monga said. He said the world economy had adapted to slow growth following the 2008 global financial crisis, adding the situation was a “misfortune”. “The reason why it is a misfortune is that the vulnerability of the world economy is sourced from poor policies followed globally, and insufficient economic and political courage in some parts of the world,” he said.
James Zhan, an investment and enterprise director at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, noted that global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was 10 percent lower compared to the pre-2008 global financial crisis period. Zhan said the low level of foreign direct investment was not only a problem of investment but also a drawback in terms of employment and trade. “Even the 2018 expectations of $1.8 trillion FDI will be lower than the amount in 2007.” About the requirement to increase the aggregate demand globally, Zhan said: “Societies have expectations for high-class investments. Without investment support, sustainable development targets cannot be achieved.”