SUSTAINABLE INTERNATIONALIZATION OF SMES [VIRTUAL] (in partnership with the University of Lyon, IDB, WUSME)

18 Oct 2021
08:30-11:00
VIRTUAL

SUSTAINABLE INTERNATIONALIZATION OF SMES [VIRTUAL] (in partnership with the University of Lyon, IDB, WUSME)

Leveraging the developmental impact

This virtual event occurs in Geneva Time (CET, GMT+2). Abu Dhabi, UAE time is 2:00 hours ahead of Geneva, Switzerland.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of economies around the world, yet relatively few engage in international trade, and even fewer invest abroad. International trade and investment activities benefit productivity and can bring gains for both home and host economies, including the achievement of the SDGs. The new industrial revolution, the continued rise of emerging players, and the growing importance of global value chains are changing that landscape rapidly making it imperative to have a fresh look at foreign direct investment (FDI) and other forms of internationalization of SMEs directly.

This session will bring together policy makers, business sector representatives, researchers and practitioners, to discuss the most recent trends in the equity- and non-equity forms of FDI by SMEs at the micro and macro levels. Panelists will also explore ways to document the development impact on FDI by SMEs in both home and host countries, based on selected case studies. They will highlight special issues related to FDI by SMEs such as the gender angle and the role of migrant and diaspora investors; identify the policy challenges for FDI by SMEs in home and host countries; explore access to finance, business intelligence, digital technologies and skills, business and investment facilitation and investment promotion; and suggest ways for policy guidance, especially in terms of eliminating any policy bias in home and host countries favouring large multinationals. A particularly important aspect to be explored is the role of SMEs in South-South and intra-regional FDI.

The session will lay the ground for a full-fledged and policy oriented UNCTAD research project looking at the issues raised at the roundtable in a systematic way.

Issues to be addressed:

  • What drives FDI and other forms of internationalization by SMEs?
  • What can FDI by SMEs contribute to the development and international competitiveness of home and host countries?
  • How can SMEs contribute to global or regional supply chain development via linkages?
  • Are the gender and social and environmental practices of SME investors different from the practices of other investors?
  • What are the main policy challenges for FDI by SMEs? Is there a policy bias towards large companies? If yes, in which areas, and how to deal with them? What kind of policy guidance can be provided and what role should UNCTAD play in it?
  • What are the main new challenges that SME investors face in the pandemic? What kind of new policy challenges does the pandemic pose for policy makers to support SME investors?

Event Manager: Ms. Amelia U. Santos-Paulino

Contact email: Amelia.Santos-Paulino@unctad.org