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Commodity Prices, Capital Flows and the Financing of Investment

Launch Lecture of UNCTAD Trade and Development Report

Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary General of UNCTAD, will present The Trade and Development Report 2008, subtitled "Commodity Prices, Capital Flows and the Financing of Investment.”

The report, which is under embargo until 4 September 2008, highlights the implications of commodity price volatility and one of the major paradoxes of globalization, namely that the “capital poor” developing world is exporting capital to the “capital rich” developed countries. Moreover, those developing countries that are the largest capital exporters tend to invest more domestically and to grow faster than those that still depend on capital imports. These facts create serious puzzles for mainstream economic models and reject most of their predictions. The report calls for a fresh approach to development financing that focuses less on the mobilization of savings and more on the direct stimulation of investment. UNCTAD also makes an important contribution in the report to the Doha Conference to review the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus on financing for development (Qatar, 29 November - 2 December 2008).

Supachai Panitchpakdi began his four-year term as Secretary-General of UNCTAD on 1 September 2005, following his appointment by the UN General Assembly. Dr. Supachai previously served as Director-General of the World Trade Organization (September 2002 to August 2005). He is a former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand who was entrusted with oversight of the country´s economic and trade policy making. In this role, he was actively involved in international trade policy and represented Thailand at the signing ceremony in Marrakech of the Uruguay Round Agreement in 1994. He was also active in shaping regional agreements, including Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM).

Heiner Flassbeck is UNCTAD Director of Division of Globalization and Development Strategies. Robert Wade is Professor of International Political Economy at LSE.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development was established in 1964. UNTAD promotes the development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy. It has evolved into an authoritative knowledge-based institution whose work aims to shape policy debates and thinking on development, with a particular focus on ensuring that domestic policies and international action are mutually supportive in bringing about sustainable development.


Supachai Panitchpakdi | talks
Dr Heiner Flassbeck | talks
Professor Robert Wade | talks
Chair: Professor Stuart Corbridge | talks


Date and Time:

3 September 2008 at 6:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



New Theatre, London School of Economics & Political Science
Houghton St

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Organised by:

London School of Economics & Political Science
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Available from:

The event is free and open to all with no ticket required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. For more information, email events@lse.ac.uk or phone 020 7955 6043.

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