First, the Covid-19 pandemic has turned our lives and economies upside down—and it is not over yet. The global imbalance in vaccination rates have created different pandemic realities for people living in high-income countries and those in low-income countries, where many citizens have not even had their first dose of the vaccine. Meanwhile, the war in Ukraine, in all its dimensions, is sending shock waves throughout the globe. It is a humanitarian catastrophe, and the prospects for the world economy – already battered by Covid-19 and climate change – have dimmed sharply. Add to this the growing threat of fragmentation into geopolitical and economic blocs.
The OECD, the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO have all slashed their global growth outlook, with particularly dramatic impacts on less developed countries. Recent projections by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimate that economic growth will decrease to 2.6 per cent from 3.6 per cent for 2022 and that developing countries will need US$310 billion to meet their external public debt service requirements this year. Global supply chains have been repeatedly disrupted, and inflation is rising worldwide. Even wealthy countries are struggling with multiple cost-of-living pressures, while higher food and fuel prices are raising the prospect of unrest in poorer countries. Analysts expect further changes in the global economic and geopolitical order should energy trade shift, supply chains reconfigure, and nations rethink reserve currency holdings. A further tightening of global financial conditions will be felt disproportionately strong in emerging and developing economies, which are already facing elevated debt levels following the pandemic.
Against this backdrop, it is safe to say that investment migration will continue to play an important role in attracting foreign investment and funding key government activities in many countries. Programmes represent anything between 2 per cent and 30 per cent of GDP in some countries and help create jobs, protect climate-vulnerable nations, boost infrastructure investments and fund social programmes and support. Many governments acknowledged the importance of investment migration income to keep their economies afloat during the pandemic. The opportunity to raise revenue from investment migration – given that there’s limited room to increase taxes at the moment – will remain a major motivation for countries to retain or introduce investment migration pathways.
The current situation is challenging for everyone. There is no ‘business as usual’, and it’s difficult to gauge long-term effects at this point. We certainly had a lot to discuss during the Investment Migration Forum organised by the Investment Migration Council. The event returned to its usual in-person format and was held between the 6th and 9th June in Brussels, Belgium. It was moderated by former BBC World News anchor Anya Sitaram, and we did our utmost to address some of the most pressing questions.
Programme developments as well as global migration trends – affecting and influencing countries across the world ranging from the Caribbean and the US to Europe and Asia – were key themes of the Forum. Andres Solimano, President of the International Center for Globalisation and Development, Chile, offered insight on economic recovery and investment migration, while Prof Dr Khalid Koser, Member of the Governing Board of the Swiss Andan Foundation, shared his thoughts on the future of migration and refugee policies. Among the conference highlights was an address by Joe B Lynam, BBC Broadcaster and Former Disinformation Specialist at the European Commission, who talked about “Disinformation and Reputation Management in the TikTok era”. At a time of deepening global frictions, we offer an environment for meaningful debate and discussion to tackle the big questions facing investment migration.
Bruno L’ecuyer is Chief Executive of the Investment Migration Council. Bruno leads the Secretariat and is responsible for all IMC operations. A regular contributor to international publications and conferences in Europe, North America, Caribbean, Middle East and Asia, he has held positions in London, Paris and Hong Kong. Bruno was previously head at a national financial services association, acting as a bridge between government, industry and international policy institutions. He has extensive expertise and experience in the management and expansion of a professional services association. A member of the Governing Board, Bruno acts as its Secretary and chairs the Advisory Committee.