World Investment Report 2009

Transnational Corporations, Agricultural Production and Development

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The World Investment Report 2009, subtitled Transnational Corporations, Agricultural Production and Development analyses two major issues: How have foreign direct investment (FDI) flows reacted to the current financial and economic crisis? How do traditional and new foreign investors - transnational corporations (TNCs) - affect agriculture, the basis of livelihood in many developing countries? According to the report, after decades of slow growth, TNCs’ interest and participation in agriculture - including FDI - is again on the rise. Despite this increase, in most countries today only a small share of FDI goes to agriculture. Renewed interest by foreign investors in agricultural investment is significant enough to raise questions about whether FDI and other forms of TNC participation in agriculture can contribute to the development of this long neglected industry. WIR 2009 suggests an integrated policy approach that takes into account concerns arising from TNC involvement.




Amid a sharpening financial and economic crisis, global FDI inflows fell from a historic high of $1,979 billion in 2007 to $1,697 billion in 2008, a decline of 14%. The slide continued into 2009, with added momentum: preliminary data for 96 countries suggest that in the first quarter of 2009, inflows fell a further 44% compared with their level in the same period in 2008. A slow recovery is expected in 2010, but should speed up in 2011. The crisis has also changed the investment landscape, with developing and transition economies’ share in global FDI flows surging to 43% in 2008.


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