Investment Policies in LDCs: Trends since the LDC IV Conference in 2011

UNCTAD has released a special issue of its Investment Policy Monitor. It tracks investment policy trends in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) since the LDC IV Conference in 2011.


  • Since 2011, two thirds of all LDCsenacted at least one policy measure on investment, compared to 54 per cent of other developing countries. Over 80 per cent of the measures adopted were more favourable to investment, confirming their commitment to enhancing productive capacities by creating conditions for attracting investments and promoting private sector development.
  • LDCs have been particularly active in the revision of investment laws, mostly focussed on opening of new sectors and activities to FDI, enhancing investment treatment and protection guarantees or creating investment promotion agencies and other investment support mechanisms.
  • Investment promotion and facilitation measures represented about one third of all measures adopted by LDCs during the reporting period. Among these, the introduction of investment incentives was prominent among African LDCs, while in Asian LDCs the primary focus was on the establishment of one-stop-shops and other measures to facilitate investment.
  • Since 2011, LDCs have concluded 92 bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and became party to 10 regional agreements with investment provisions. LDCs’ participation in international investment agreements thus followed the global trend, with a shift away from bilateral towards regional investment rulemaking.
  • Despite those efforts, FDI inflows to LDCs have been underwhelming, pointing to the need to continue creating a conducive policy environment for investment in productive capacities, address infrastructure and skills gaps but also modernize investment promotion, facilitation, and target SDG-relevant investment. These tasks cannot be achieved unless development partners and the private sector cooperate with LDCs to tackle institutional and capacity constraints in a spirit of shared responsibility.