World Investment and Political Risk

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These annual reports about world investment trends and political risk are produced by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency of the World Bank Group.

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  • Publication
    World Investment and Political Risk 2013
    (Washington, DC: World Bank Group, 2014) Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
    This report seeks to understand investors' perceptions of political risk as they affect Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), as well as the role of the political risk insurance industry in mitigating these risks. It is found that investors continue to rank political risk as a key obstacle to investing in developing countries, though investors classify macroeconomic instability as their top concern over the medium term. The report confirms a continued increase in the use of political risk insurance as a risk-mitigation tool and reaffirms the industry's health and resilience. Providers have met the challenge of these years with new products and innovative ways to use existing tools as well as substantial capacity to meet growing demand. It also looks at breach of contract risk and its causes. The research helps guide investors and insurers when they participate in a project that involves a contract with a developing-country government entity. As private and public sectors continue to increase their cooperation in service of bringing important investments to fruition, this research is particularly timely.
  • Publication
    World Investment and Political Risk 2012
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2013) Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
    Global economic growth estimates for 2012 indicate a continuing fragile recovery. The ongoing sovereign debt crisis and recession in the euro zone, curtailed bank lending and domestic deleveraging, fluctuating but elevated commodity prices, and the ongoing political turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa have slowed the initial rebound that followed the 2008 global financial crisis. This slow progress has had an impact on developing countries, which initially fared well in terms of rebounding growth rates, private capital flows, and foreign direct investment (FDI). This report examines investors' perceptions and risk-mitigation strategies as they navigate today's uncertain economic waters. It finds that investors continue to rank political risk as a key obstacle to investing in developing countries and are increasingly turning toward Political Risk Insurance (PRI) as a risk-mitigation tool. The insurance industry has responded with new products and innovative ways to use existing products as well as substantial capacity to meet the growing demand.
  • Publication
    World Investment and Political Risk 2011
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2011-01) Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
    The mission of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) is to promote foreign direct investment (FDI) into developing countries to support economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve people's lives. As part of this mandate, the agency seeks to foster a better understanding of investors' perceptions of political risk as they relate to FDI, as well as the role of the political risk insurance (PRI) industry in mitigating these risks. Today's economic turbulence and fragility in developed countries are again posing challenges for the global economy. Developing countries are feeling the impact through multiple channels, including through the flows of FDI and private capital. Having rebounded sharply in 2010, FDI flows to developing countries continued to increase in 2011, but are expected to moderate going forward. The report highlights once again the salience of political risk as an important concern for multinational enterprises that seek to invest in developing countries. This is also reflected in the increased issuance of new political risk insurance in 2010, a trend that seems to be continuing in 2011, helped by a growing awareness of insurance as a risk-mitigation tool. This year the report also pays special attention to the FDI picture in the Middle East and North Africa region in light of the Arab Spring, as well as the reaction of multinational enterprises to these developments. This year's report puts a spotlight on expropriation, a political risk with a long and recurring history, and examines motivations of host-country governments in deciding whether to expropriate. The report also highlights the role of political or economic shocks in triggering expropriations. It finds that investor disputes are more likely to be resolved by democratically elected governments rather than non-democratic regimes. This suggests that the propensity to expropriate is significantly higher in countries with non-democratic regimes, a finding that should be of interest to investors who are more concerned about political stability than about regime type and political institutions. Research conducted for this report, including the MIGA- Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) survey and discussions with London-based private sector PRI underwriters and brokers, showed that the views of investors and PRI providers regarding regime type and expropriation risk differ slightly. Underwriters and brokers did not find the empirical results surprising and agreed that these results support their overall underwriting views.
  • Publication
    World Investment and Political Risk 2010
    (World Bank, 2011) Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
    Political risk remains the top preoccupation for foreign investors operating in developing countries over the next three years, in spite of persistent concerns over the global downturn in the short term. The global economic recession triggered by the financial crisis that has unfolded over the past two years has not spared the developing world. Yet, the fragile and modest recovery now under way is being led by developing countries, which are expected to remain attractive destinations for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). In light of overt political risk perceptions, the revival of FDI to these destinations calls for continued risk mitigation, including Political Risk Insurance (PRI). In the short term, concerns over the fallout from the financial crisis appear to dominate investors' preoccupations. Yet, FDI projections and surveys conducted for this report suggest that investors are cautiously optimistic about prospects for a global economic recovery led by the developing world. As a result, FDI to developing countries is expected to recover over the medium term. Investors from the primary industries, as well as those based in developing countries, appear particularly bullish in their investment intentions. As concerns over the health of the global economy recede, political risk considerations will return to pre-eminence for investors from both developed and developing countries.
  • Publication
    World Investment and Political Risk 2009
    (World Bank, 2009) Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
    Political risk is a top concern for corporate foreign investors from industrialized but also developing countries when venturing into emerging markets. At the same time, these investors maintain a positive outlook on economic and business prospects in the developing world, which is expected to attract a growing share of global foreign direct investment (FDI) as the world economy slowly, recovers. Positive business sentiment over emerging markets amid concerns over political perils point to a sustained need to mitigate these perils. This, added to the rise of South-based investors, offers opportunities and challenges for the political risk insurance (PRI) industry. In the current context of high uncertainty, understanding how investors perceive and deal with political risks helps to map out the role of PRI in the emerging post-crisis investment landscape. This report focuses on FDI and PRI for long-term investment, and only covers political risk in developing countries. Although political risk also affects other forms of private capital flows, these are beyond the scope of this publication. The main findings of the report are summarized as follows: i) while political risks top foreign investors' concerns, the global economic and financial crisis has not fundamentally altered FDI prospects for emerging markets; ii) concerns over political risks, combined with sustained FDI into emerging markets over the medium term, suggest a growing need for political risk mitigation and opportunities for the PRI industry; and iii) the emergence of South-based investors is increasingly shaping the global FDI environment and presents regional growth opportunities, but also challenges, for the PRI industry.