New UN report finds drop in global foreign direct investment in 2014

According to the 2015 edition of the World Investment Report, FDI fell by 16 per cent to $1.23 trillion in 2014, while flows to developed countries declined by 28 per cent to $499 billion.The report, produced by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), says this is mostly because of “the fragility of the global economy, policy uncertainty for investors and elevated geopolitical risks,” adding that new investments were offset by some large divestments, the most important being in the United States.In the meantime, inward FDI flows to developing economies reached their highest level ever, at $681 billion with a 2 per cent rise. Among the top 10 FDI recipients in the world, five are developing economies, with China taking the lead.For 2015, UNCTAD projects global FDI inflows to grow by 11 per cent to $1.4 trillion. Expectations are for further rises to $1.5 trillion in 2016 and to $1.7 trillion in 2017.The Geneva-based UN agency is also calling for a systematic reform of the international investment agreement regime in order to bring coherence to the almost 3,300 agreements currently in existence.“The case for reform is clear,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said. “We are now faced with a global patchwork of agreements, with unintended and sometimes far-reaching consequences for the right, of developed and developing countries alike, to regulate.”“‘Old style’ international investment agreements have increasingly come to a dead end. Reform should make the global network of international investment agreements better fit the needs and realities of today and tomorrow,” explained Mr. Kituyi, stressing the importance of achieving such harmonization as the international community is in the process of formulating a new development agenda.“Reform should be guided by the goal of more effectively harnessing international investment agreements for sustainable and inclusive development, focusing on key reform areas, and following a multi-level, systematic and inclusive approach,” Mr. Kituyi stated. “Only a common approach will deliver an international investment agreement regime in which stability, clarity and predictability help achieve the objectives of all stakeholders.”Among the areas where governments should undertake efforts, UNCTAD mentions the need to safeguard the right to regulate in the public interest, to reform investment dispute settlement and to expand investment promotion and facilitation in international investment agreements. read more

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Firstofitskind conference on the Black Canadian experience comes to Brock May 24

Brock will host the Black Canadian Studies Association conference about the Black Canadian experience on May 24. Former Governor General Michaelle Jean will deliver the conference’s keynote address. (Photo by Gapster)The Black Canadian Studies Association (BCSA) will make history later this month when it hosts the first international conference looking at the Black Canadian experience.The conference, “Where are you from? Reclaiming the Black presence in Canada,” takes place at Brock University in St. Catharines, from Friday, May 24 to Sunday, May 26.The Right Honorable Michaëlle Jean, former Governor General of Canada, will deliver the conference’s keynote address on the value of advancing Black Studies in Canada and its importance for intercultural dialogue and understanding. Her talk takes place Friday, May 24 in Market Hall from 6 to 8 p.m. and is free and open to the public.The multi-disciplinary BCSA conference has attracted more than 60 international academic researchers, educational practitioners and scholar-artists who will present their work on a broad range of topics in the field of Black Canadian Studies. The event is also expected to draw more than 400 guests and conference participants to Niagara.The event is important for promoting research and sharing knowledge about the diversity and complexity of the Black Canadian experience. The conference will contribute to the dialogue about the affirmative evolution of African Canadians in Canada and the challenges they and Canada face.“African Canadians have, for centuries, contributed significantly to the enrichment of the Canadian experience and the development of Canada,” says Brock sociology professor Tamari Kitossa, BCSA secretary and conference organizer.“The African Canadian presence is treated ambivalently, moving from reluctant recognition to erasure from the national memory,” he says. “More often than not, African Canadians are framed as ‘newcomers’ or worse, seen as a ‘social problem.’“This conference has implications to clarify these kinds of public misconceptions and more positively affect public policy in Canada.”Some of the wide-ranging topics that will be covered at the conference include Africentric schooling, Black/Indigenous relationships, the re-emergence of ‘black face’ minstrelsy, queering Black Canadian studies, Black masculinity and hyper-sexualization, gender and Black women’s empowerment, as well as other issues in areas like religion, health, youth, criminal justice, spoken word and hip-hop.“This historic conference recovers and celebrates diverse branches of Black knowledge that previously have been subjugated,” says Afua Cooper, noted historian, co-chair of the BCSA and the James R. Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies at Dalhousie University. “It also places Black Canadian Studies at the cutting edge of Canadian scholarship” read more

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