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Webinar: Impact of COVID-19 on MNEs

April 14, 2021



Keyframe Impact of COVID-19 on Foreign Investors
Watch the video replay of the event

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted multinational enterprises (MNEs). The shock came through multiple channels, including disruptions in input supply, weak demand, changing customer preferences, and rising uncertainty. Given the current scenario, MNEs are holding off on investments while evaluating their options and commercial prospects. Some may revisit production locations, supply chains organization, and investment allocation across regions. 

    Foreign investors in developing countries are also facing a more challenging environment, characterized by regulatory restrictions and policy uncertainty. Foreign direct investments (FDI) dropped more than 40 percent in 2020, after having declined over 20 percent during the 2007/08 global financial crisis and never fully recovered.  

    Cross-border investment flows have been a key building block for the economic growth of developing countries, often providing the largest source of external finance—surpassing remittances, official development assistance, and portfolio investment flows. Higher FDI inflows can ease capital constraints, contribute to output and employment growth, and increase aggregate productivity through technology transfers, among other benefits. 

    This webinar aims to shed light on the shifts underway in international production, supply chains, and investment—with perspectives from academia, the private sector, and the World Bank. 

  • Session Chair and Opening Remarks: Caroline Freund
    Global Director, Trade, Investment and Competitiveness, World Bank

    Peter Kusek, Senior Economist, Global Investment Climate, World Bank


    • Roger Strange, Professor of International Business, University of Sussex
    • Gagan Gupta, Co-Founder and CEO, ARISE, OLAM International
    • Abhishek Saurav, Economist, Global Investment Climate, World Bank


    Closing Remarks: Christine Qiang
    Practice Manager, Global Investment Climate, World Bank 

  • Gagan Gupta is the Managing Director and CEO, Infrastructure and Logistics at Olam International. He is a chartered accountant by training who joined Olam in 2008 before taking on the role of Country Head of Gabon in 2010. Since then, Gagan established Olam’s flagship infrastructure and logistics ventures in Gabon, before rolling out this new business model across West Africa under the banner of ARISE, an affiliate company. He is focused on sustainable industrialization of Africa by focusing on transformation of resources locally.  ARISE designs, finances, builds and operates industrial zones, roads, ports and other infrastructure in key African trade hubs, including Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo and Benin.
    ➡️ Mr. Gupta's presentation

    Peter Kusek is a senior economist at the World Bank Group. He leads the Applied Research Program on Investment Climate and is the managing editor of the Global Investment Competitiveness Report series.  With more than 15 years of experience specializing in foreign direct investment and private sector development, Peter has advised more than 40 governments across the world on investment climate reforms. His research and advisory work focus on international investment, competitiveness, and private sector development. He holds a master’s degree in economic policy and international development from Princeton University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of the South.

    Abhishek Saurav is an Economist with the World Bank Group. He leads policy research on foreign direct investment (FDI) and initiatives to shape the investment climate and competitiveness agenda in developing countries. He is currently leading global research to investigate the effects of the COVID-19 on MNEs in developing countries and the Global Investment Competitiveness survey 2021 to investigate the “Future of FDI” in key sectors. His research investigates the contributions of FDI on jobs in developing countries and the pathways to increase investment for environmentally sustainable private sector growth. He holds a doctorate in Public Policy and Public Administration from the George Washington University, Master’s degree in public policy from the George Mason University, and bachelor’s degree in information technology from the University of Delhi.
    ➡️ Mr. Saurav's presentation

    Roger Strange is Professor of International Business in the University of Sussex Business School, having joined the University in September 2009. He was previously Professor of International Business at King’s College London, and a former President of the European International Business Academy (EIBA). He is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Pavia (Italy). Roger Strange is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Business Review, a Senior Editor of the Asia Pacific Journal of Management, and on the Editorial Review Boards of the Journal of International Business Studies, the Journal of International Business Policy, the Journal of World Business, the Global Strategy Journal, the Asia Pacific Business Review, and the Journal of Management & Governance. Roger is the author/editor of fourteen books, and over ninety journal articles and book chapters. Link to publications.
    ➡️ Mr. Strange's presentation

    Christine Zhenwei Qiang is Practice Manager of Investment Climate. Her teams advise client governments in over 100 countries on catalyzing private investment and competition through legal, policy, regulatory and institutional reforms. She oversees the Global Investment Competitiveness Report series. She has published journal articles, book chapters and reports on private sector development, economic growth, FDI, productivity and infrastructure development. Prior to joining the Investment Climate Department in 2011, she was Lead Economist at the Policy Division of the ICT Department of the World Bank Group. She has a PhD in Economics from Johns Hopkins University.