Business plays a central role in driving economic growth and innovation, while creating employment and generating income through skills development and productivity improvement. Throughout the Asia-Pacific region, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for the majority of all enterprises in every country and provide for the bulk of employment. Often, however, SMEs face substantial constraints, including limited access to finance, markets, skills and technology. Forging effective linkages between SMEs and foreign investors help countries develop their business sector and the integration of their business in global and regional value chains.
Businesses drive foreign direct investment (FDI), which is a principal source of financing for development, and as such has been identified as a means of implementation of the sustainable development goals. FDI can also create employment, provide access to foreign markets and transfer technologies and ideas. Growing FDI flows in Asia and the Pacific have helped boost regional integration and growth. In addition to its benefits, there can be adverse impacts associated with FDI that must not be ignored, including adverse impacts on national sovereignty, market concentration, control of vital resources, environment and human rights.
Business growth, domestic and foreign investment, and the new ideas of entrepreneurs can all contribute to achieving the SDGs. Hence, ESCAP assists countries in attracting and facilitating FDI for sustainable and inclusive growth through capacity building and exchange of best practices, including through the Asia-Pacific FDI Network.
Business & Investment
In addition, ESCAP provides technical assistance to help governments formulate policies for a conducive business environment and encourages governments, companies and entrepreneurs to support the adoption of sustainable business practices. ESCAP also engages business as a partner in achieving sustainable development through the ESCAP Sustainable Business Network (ESBN) and its task forces and facilitates public and private sector dialogue through the Asia-Pacific Business Forum (APBF).