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Vi's Eveliina Kauppinen (left) and UNCTAD's Kalman KalotayEighty-one students and lecturers from Vi Russian members, the St. Petersburg State University, the Saint Petersburg State University of Economics and the North-West Institute of Management, joined UNCTAD’s Kalman Kalotay, of the Division on Investment and Enterprise, for a videoconference presentation of the World Investment Report (WIR) 2014 on December 10.

Kalotay began his presentation of the report, which this year focuses on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with an overview of global and transition-economies investment trends.

"In recent years there have been lots of fluctuations in global foreign direct investment (FDI), but 2013 was a good year, particularly for developing and transition economies," he said. ”However, we are still far away from the record year of 2007, when global FDI reached 2 trillion. We forecast a slow recovery and a rise in the FDI flows to USD 1.6 trillion in 2014.”

According to the report, developing and transition economies now make up half of the top 20 host economies. FDI inflows to transition economies increased by 28 percent in 2013, and outward FDI from the region jumped by 84 percent.

In 2013, the Russian Federation became the third largest recipient of FDI for the first time, after the United States and China. It was also the fourth largest investor in the world.

“The Russian Federation alone received 82 percent of FDI transition-country inflows, close to USD 80 billion, while its outflows were also record-high, exceeding USD 90 billion,” Kalotay said. “The coming years will show whether this growth is sustainable or not.”

On the topic of special focus in 2014, the WIR offers an action plan for promoting private sector contributions in order to help reach the goals of a post-2015 agenda for sustainable development.

“The Sustainable Development Goals present a great challenge also in terms of investment; as currently countries invest annually USD 1.4 trillion towards activities related to SDGs such as health care, sanitation, education, while the actual need for investment is USD 3.9 trillion,” Kalotay stated.

“There are three areas where the private sector could contribute more: infrastructure, food security and climate change,” he added. “We suggest a framework for private investment which emphasizes leadership, mobilizes and facilitates resources towards investment in SDGs, and measures their impact.”

After the presentation, the students engaged in an active discussion about various topics, including the impact of sanctions on the Russian Federation and its FDI flows, corporate social responsibility, the potential consequences of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the main factors explaining regional competitiveness, and how countries are planning to attain the SDGs.