The fDi Podcast

Exclusive analysis from fDi Magazine on the latest trends and developments in the foreign investment world. Every month, fDi hosts and guests delve into a new theme, with interviews and insights from policymakers and investors from all around the globe.

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Navigating cannabis investment abroad

Jon-Paul Doran, CEO & founder of UK medicinal cannabis company Eco Equity, tells fDi's Sebastian Shehadi about his experience of investing in the cannabis market in Zimbabwe and the Carribbean. The global cannabis market is growing at breakneck pace, however, navigating this 'green rush' is not easy and failure rates are extremely high. With cannabis stocks taking a plunge in the second half of 2019, it remains to be seen whether foreign investment in the industry will continue its exponential growth, as witnessed over the last few years.

Trump sets “new gold standard” for investment protection

The new Nafta, renamed the United States – Mexico – Canada (USMCA) agreement, limits the scope for international arbitration and prevents general investors, except those active in a few sensitive sectors, to bypass domestic courts altogether. Orlando Cabrera, an associate lawyer with law firm Hogan Lovells in Mexico City, tells podcast host Jacopo Dettoni that against a background of mounting discontent towards typical investment protection provisions, the USMCA emerges as a possible new global paradigm for investment protection. 

FDI in the digital age

What does the digital economy mean for businesses' international expansion? Nigel Vaz, CEO of digital transformation consultancy Publicis Sapient, discusses with fDi's Alex Irwin-Hunt how digitalisation is changing the need for physical presence in markets, how companies build trust with their customers and how investment promotion agencies support and attract FDI.

How to invest in social progress 

Michael Green, CEO of the Social Progress Imperative, tells fDi's Sebastian Shehadi how investors can use metrics around the social and environmental health of societies to make smart, ethical decisions and support projects relating to the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Hunting for string in the labyrinth. How can investors safely navigate current sanctions regimes?

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has made sanctions a distinctive element of his foreign policy. In fact, sanctions appears to have become his foreign-policy weapon of choice. He used (and enforced) them against numerous countries, from China all the way to Venezuela, Iran, North Korea and others. Investors suddenly had to adjust and find ways to deal with the White House’s growing level of economic aggressiveness. Matt Oresman,leading lawyer in the international public policy practice at law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman digs deeper into the perils of navigating sanctions regimes with  podcast host Jacopo Dettoni. 

Doing FDI in Afghanistan

Plagued by decades of violence and conflict, the country is no ordinary place for doing business. Yet a slowly improving security and political environment is creating space for few pioneer investors to come in and develop a base of local businesses to serve an almost untouched market of 35mn people. British banker Anthony Barned took the gamble to move to Kabul and run a bank, the Afghanistan International Bank (AIB), jointly funded by local and international capital. He discusses with podcast host Jacopo Dettoni the perks and perils of navigating the country’s numerous challenges to remain on the positive side of its high risk / high reward business proposition. 

Voices from Hong Kong: Is the financial centre doomed?


“The Pearl of the Orient” has built a reputation for stability and modernity over the decades, with its iconic financial centre at the heart of it. Now it all hangs in the balance as the mounting protests of the last weeks are lifting the veil on the challenges posed by the “One country, two systems” model as China becomes more assertive in the way it handles the ongoing transition ending in 2047. Early evidence suggests that financial and physical capital is being moved out of the country already. Podcast host Jacopo Dettoni spoke to three expats professionals working in the city’s financial and legal industry to get their views on how the current turmoil will impact Hong Kong’s future as a global investment hub:

  • Carlos Casanova, economist for the Asia Pacific region at credit insurance firm Coface;
  • Julien Chaisse, law professor at the City University of Hong Kong;
  • Alberto Vettoretti, managing partner at investment advisory firm Dezan Shira.  

Kevin Loane, senior economist at London-based Fathom Consulting, also joins the discussion from our studio in London.


How can non-capital cities compete?

Cities are in an evermore global competition to attract foreign investment. How can they improve their strategy to stand out? Podcast host Sebastian Shehadi discusses solutions with Alexis Krachai, a founding director of the Sheffield Property Association - a private sector body that helps promote Sheffield internationally - and Peter Griffiths, city strategist at ING Media, a leading PR and communications consultancy for the built environment.

The geopolitical context behind eight foreign investment trends

Charles Hecker, senior partner at Control Risk - one of the world's leading political risk consultancies - discusses with podcast host Sebastian Shehadi the geopolitical context behind some of the latest national foreign investment trends highlighted in the fDi Report 2019 - the annual assessment of crossborder investment based on the FT’s fDi Markets data service. Countries discussed include: Vietnam, Uzbekistan, the UK, Spain, Colombia, Argentina, Nigeria and Cote D’Ivoire.  

"The next stage of the Belt and Road initiative comes down to special economic zones"

Henry Tillman, founder and editor of, a research firm that tracks Chinese outbound investment, discusses with podcast host Jacopo Dettoni the changing nature of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and weighs in on the ongoing trade battle between the US and China, which is also affecting the outlook for BRI projects: "The more they [the US] block Huawei, the more they maintain their competitive advantage for artificial intelligence and autonomous technologies". 

”This is (perhaps) the moment for Indonesia to reach its potential”

Ed Ratcliffe, head of research and advisory at London-based think tank Asia House, discusses the FDI outlook in Indonesia with podcast host Jacopo Dettoni as president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo enters another 5-year term at the helm of the South-East Asian country after winning general elections in April.

The demand for 'experiences' and sustainability is disrupting tourism

The next generation of tourists don't want to feel like tourists when touring. In slightly less cryptic words: travellers are looking more and more for cultural immersion, for more 'authentic, meaningful and social' experiences over material goods. fDi's Sebastian Shehadi and Alex Irwin-Hunt invite Tiffany Misrahi, policy director at the World Travel and Tourism Council, to discuss how the tourism industry is responding to this trend. The growing desire for an 'experience' accompanies the rising trend towards environmental sustainability within tourism. However, lofty ideals and the realities of consumer behaviour are at a mismatch.

MIPIM: Economic developers put on a brave face amid uncertainty


Another edition of the annual MIPIM international real estate forum has taken place and the fDi editorial team was there in force. Jacopo Dettoni, Courtney Fingar and Sebastian Shehadi discuss how the large UK delegation carried on investment promotion efforts while a daily stream of Brexit news broke back home, how Industry 4.0 is making manufacturing sexy again, and what business, economic and political risks still lie on the horizon. 

The podcast features interviews with: 

  • Stefan Schostok, mayor of Hannover;
  • Pere Navarro, special state delegate at Barcelona’s free trade zone (Consorci de la Zona Franca de Barcelona;
  • Khaled Abbas, Egypt’s deputy minister of housing for national projects.

Trump’s trade war shaping new investment promotion strategies


Dozens of investment promotion agencies (IPAs) from all over the globe gathered at the Waipa investment conference in Xiamen, on the Chinese eastern coast, at the beginning of September. Adrienne Klasa, fDi Magazine’s and the Banker's development finance editor, shares her main takeaways from the event, discussing how the trade feud between Washington and Beijing is prompting adjustments in investment promotion strategies in China, Asia and beyond.

Features Interviews with: 

  • Sun Xinhua, president of Invest Shanghai
  • Harley Seyedin, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in South China
  • Jan Zapletal, director China and southeast Asia at Czechinvest
  • Jiang Xiheng, vice president of the Centre for International Knowledge on Development (CIKD)
  • Dong-ik Lee, director general of investment operations at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
  • Peter Fuhrman, CEO of China First Capital 

EU-Japan trade deal to create world's largest open economic area

The treaty, signed on July 6, drops tariffs and soft barriers across an area of 600mn people worth a third of the global economy. It also reiterates the role of both parties as champions of global trade right at a time when protectionism is mounting around the globe. Podcast host Jacopo Dettoni speaks to Elitsa Garnizova, a researcher at the London School of Economics, about the treaty's impact on mutual trade and investment moving forward, and its implications for Japanese investment in the UK as Brexit's March 2019 deadline approaches. 

Will democracy be part of Thailand 4.0?

The prime minister of Thailand, General Prayut Chan-ocha, has just wrapped up his first official visits to the UK and France since seizing power in a 2014 coup. He met with prime minister Theresa May in London and president Emmanuel Macron in Paris to give reassurances that a long-delayed transition back to democracy will take place - with elections now announced for February 2019 - and to promote the government's Thailand 4.0 vision to stimulate the economy. Dr Lee Jones, reader in international politics at Queen Mary University of London, shares his thoughts on the political and economic situation in the country with podcast host Jacopo Dettoni.

The spring of development finance

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) held their annual meeting in May. Adrienne Klasa, fDi Magazine’s development finance editor, and Jacopo Dettoni, fDi Magazine’s deputy editor, share their main takeaways from both events. 

The podcast features interviews with: 

·      Jonathan Charles, managing director for communications at the EBRD;

·      Bambang Brodjonegoro, national development planning minister, Indonesia;

·      Basim Al Saleh, managing partner, Greentech;

·      Muhannad Shehadeh, minister of state for investment affairs, Jordan;

·      Mamuka Bakhtadze, finance minister, Georgia.


Chronicles from MIPIM 2018

Podcast host Jacopo Dettoni discusses with editor-in-chief Courtney Fingar and global markets editor Sebastian Shehadi about this year's edition of the annual real estate event held in France in March, where again political uncertainty, but also automation and other mega trends stole the spotlight. 

This episode features interviews with:

  • Mehmet Kalyoncu, board member, Kalyon;
  • Sergey Cheremin, head of external economic and international relations, Moscow Government; 
  • Charles Hecker, senior partner, Control Risks; 
  • Andy Street, mayor, West Midlands Combined Authority.

US tax reform to unleash butterfly effect on global FDI


Hailed by Republicans as one of the most important pieces of legislation in recent history, the tax reform approved by the Congress of the United States in December is now expected to have a deep impact on global foreign investment. 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act sharply increases the tax competitiveness of the United States and sets the ground for billions of dollars in cash held abroad by US corporations to be repatriated, and perhaps even for the reshoring of some of their overseas operations.  The reform is a game-changer, and both investors and policy makers all over the globe are adjusting. 

fDi Magazine’s editor-in-chief Courtney Fingar joins podcast host Jacopo Dettoni to discuss the reform. 


The podcast also features interviews with: 

·      James Zhan, director of investment and enterprise at Unctad; 

·      Philip Wagman, a New York-based partner with global legal firm Clifford Chance;

·      Taimur Baig, chief economist of Singapore-based DBS Bank;

·      Prof. Christophe Spengel of the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW).


Crypto FDI: The blockchain and foreign investment


Cryptocurrencies have captivated public attention in the past months, shrugging off a reputation for being  just a way to carry out illegal activities in the dark web. But it’s now the technology that powers cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, that is taking centre stage. The hype surrounding the blockchain has never been bigger, and even the financial and political establishment talked blockchain at the World Economic Forum in Davos. 

What can be the benefits of the blockchain for cross-boarder trade and investment?  

Podcast host Jacopo Dettoni talks blockchain with Catherine Mulligan, co-director at the Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering at the Imperial College London. 

The podcast also features interviews with Jason Kelley, head of IBM’s Global Blockchain Services; Antonas Guoga, alias “Tony-G”,  poker legend, blockchain entrepreneur and member of the European parliament from Lithuania; David Henderson, co-founder of blockchain-based solution for supply chain finance Sweetbridge.

Odebrecht scandal – Is it only the tip of the iceberg for Latin America?


The Odebrecht corruption scandal is not abating. In fact, it is growing day by the day throughout Latin America.

Brazilian construction company Odebrecht has emerged as the ringmaster of a sophisticated corruption network spanning Brazil and another 11 countries in Latin America and Africa. Investigators are now at work in most of these countries to hold accountable Odebrecht’s accomplices. The early results of these investigations are sending shockwaves through the continent and questioning the very continuity of many administrations and reform programmes, with serving presidents linked to Odebrecht payments in major Latin American countries like, among others, Colombia, Panama and Peru. Let alone Brazil, where Operação Lava Jato (“Operation car-wash”) has already has decimated the political and business elite in the past three years.

As new evidence emerges, a question resounds in the mind of local and international observers: Is this only the tip of the iceberg for Latin America? 

Jimena Blanco, head of Americas politics research at global risk and strategic consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft and Katherine Hochstetler, professor of international development at the London School of Economics, try to answer this question with podcast host Jacopo Dettoni.

Why investment promotion matters

Investment promotion agencies, also known as IPAs, still have relatively little influence in the decision making of foreign investors. The World Bank recently surveyed 754 executives of multinational corporations investing in developing countries, and only 43% of them gave the services of IPAs some importance, whereas most of them recognised elements such as “transparency and predictability in the conduct of public agencies”, or investment protection guarantees provided in the host country’s laws” as the most important investment climate factors. Yet some successful experiences of national or regional IPA around the globe show how big of an impact they can have in turning their territory into an appealing investment destination.
Courtney Fingar, editor-in-chief of fDi Magazine, discusses the reasons why IPAs still struggle to catch the attention of foreign investors, and what they can do to gain the attention of foreign investors, with podcast host Jacopo Dettoni. The podcast also features exclusive interviews with World Bank’s senior director Anabel González, and investment authorities from Armenia, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Mongolia, and Tunisia.

BITs, the (obscure) force at the heart of the global investment regime

Foreign investors have sought compensation for billions of dollars under the protection provisions granted by bilateral investment treaties (BITs) in recent years. If developing countries used to be the almost exclusive target of these investor-state disputes, their peers in the West have also become increasingly exposed to the vague nature of BIT protections, with legal firms even testing the waters to bring claims against the United Kingdom for Brexit and its consequences on foreign investors.

Lauge Poulsen, senior lecturer in International Political Economy at the University College London (UCL) and co-author of the book “The Political Economy of the Investment Treaty Regime”, discusses with podcast host Jacopo Dettoni about the nature of these treaties, their reach and secrecy.


The Brexit toll on FDI: The evidence so far

Foreign investment has dropped sharply since the June 2016's referendum as investors are holding off investments waiting for more clarity on the future of the country outside the EU. LSE’s lecturer Dr Swati Dhingra and fDi Magazine’s editor-in-chief Courtney Fingar share their insights with podcast host Jacopo Dettoni and comment on the proposal of developing free trade zones within British ports once the country leaves the European bloc for good.


The fDi Podcast: Is corporate America sold on Trump's economics?

Following the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington in mid-June, fDi's Courtney Fingar tells podcast host Jacopo Dettoni how US domestic firms, as well as foreign investors, are reacting to the Trump administration's business agenda. Hear what the chiefs of General Electric and General Motors, among others, had to say.


The fDi Podcast: Breaking down 2016's global investment figures

fDi Magazine's Courtney Fingar and Jacopo Dettoni discuss the latest developments in the world with key highlights and figures from The fDi Report 2017.

Download The fDi Report 2017

The fDi Podcast: Mexico braces for Nafta renegotiation

The moment of truth for Mexico may be around the corner as official talks over the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) are slated to begin in August, or September at the very latest. Mexico built its recent fortunes on the free trade agreement with the US and Canada ratified in 1993, but US president Donald Trump labelled the agreement as the “worst ever trade deal” and has finally followed up on its early promises to renegotiate it by sending official notice to Congress on May 18, thus opening a 90-day window for Congressmen to discuss it all before a table with Mexico and Canada is finally opened. Silvia Pavoni, The Banker’s economics editor, and Jacopo Dettoni, fDi Magazine’s deputy editor, share insights over the upcoming round of talks from their recent interviews with sources in Mexico and the US.


The fDi Podcast: All eyes on France ahead of elections

Investors and political leaders across Europe are watching nervously as French voters head to the polls in a national election that has potential consequences for the future of the EU. At the MIPIM property fair in Cannes in March, Courtney Fingar and Natasha Turak spoke to mayors of French cities and others about their concerns and what can be expected from the vote.


The fDi Podcast: China restrictions on overseas investment already biting

Beijing reinstated limits on overseas investment in a push to limit the flow of hot money out of the country. ICBC's Helena Huang and Grisons Peak's Henry Tillman discuss with fDi deputy editor Jacopo Dettoni how these restrictions have already limited the activity of Chinese investors in Europe and the US, and add uncertainties over the final outcome of ongoing and future deals. 


The fDi Podcast: Navigating a stormy investment outlook in 2017

Introducing The fDi Podcast, a new audio series from fDi Magazine's editors discussing the latest trends of globalisation, international trade and FDI from a global perspective.  

It was a tumultuous year for global politics, economics and investment - will the upheaval continue in 2017? In this first episode of The fDi Podcast, fDi Magazine's editors review the important developments that took place in 2016 and their implications for trade and investment, including the election of Donald Trump in the US, shifting political alliances in Asia, and the relaxation of sanctions against Belarus, Iran, Myanmar and Russia. 

Courtney Fingar, editor-in-chief, fDi Magazine; Jacopo Dettoni, deputy editor, fDi Magazine; Natasha Turak, global markets editor, fDi Magazine

Extra contributions by: 
Guenter Taus, director, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP); Rodolfo Ceferino, undersecretary of Industry Development Group (IDG), Government of the Philippines; Win Lwin, Managing Director, KBZ Bank

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