New York

18 October 2021

Deputy Secretary-General's Statement for the opening of the World Investment Forum

Excellencies and friends, you meet at an inflection point in our history.

The pandemic has wreaked havoc, disrupting the powerful economic engines of trade, manufacturing and transportation.  The impact on peoples’ health and livelihoods have been devastating, in particular for women, the poor and most vulnerable.

As investors, both public and private, you have enormous leverage over our future.

Without immediate and bold action, the long-term impacts of the crisis on peoples and economies will be devastating. 

Focus must move from stimulus and income support to investing in a green, inclusive and resilient path to a sustainable future.

Some progress has been made with $3.5 trillion earmarked for long-term investment, of which a fifth will be for green spending.

This is a huge opportunity for sectors such as physical and digital infrastructure, renewables and health systems.

But this is not enough.

Many developing countries find themselves in a descending spiral of financial distress, facing higher borrowing costs while, at the same time, less able to pay those costs and diverting much needed funds from servicing people to servicing debt.

Foreign private investment in productive capacities can play a significant role in a sustainable recovery. In particular investment in decent job creation, including in the green and care economies. This will also contribute to reversing lost ground on achieving gender equality.

As the World Investment Report has noted, $1 of direct public support to infrastructure projects, under the right conditions, can mobilize $10 of capital investment through public-private financing schemes.

And with one third of the currently adopted public investment plans deployed through various forms of partnership with the private sector, the investment potential could still reach $10 trillion.

That would represent one third of the total investment gap estimated for the SDGs at the time of their adoption.

To get there, we need to overcome important interconnected challenges.

The collective wisdom of all stakeholders gathered here today at the World Investment Forum is where opportunities and solutions must be found.

I commend your efforts towards a future that is inclusive, prosperous and sustainable.

Thank you.