Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
At the outset, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to our Host, the Prime Minster of Turkey, for his generosity and graceful hosting of this luncheon.
 
It gives me great pleasure to address this High-Level Meeting on Investment and Partnerships – the first in a series of events of the Private Sector Track of the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries.  As you know, this Conference will serve as a platform for multi-stakeholder deliberations and provides us with a unique opportunity to shape the development framework of the upcoming decade.
 
As the Secretary-General of the United Nations has pointed out in his welcome remarks, this is the first time that private sector involvement is such an integral part of the Conference and its preparatory process; it is, indeed, the real innovation of this Conference. Engaging the private sector as a genuine partner will, at the end of the day, prove to be a key factor to guaranteeing a successful outcome and will create a strong legacy.
 
To overcome vulnerabilities and marginalization, LDCs need to undergo a structural transformation and attain sustained broad-based economic growth. This can only be brought about through the strategic vision of a committed country leadership and a dynamic and vibrant private sector engaged in a business environment where competition stimulates the investment, innovation and technological progress that underpins economic growth. 
 
As we have discussed in this meeting, governments have to work in partnership with the private sector to create an enabling environment for activities that can generate economic opportunities. Private sector actors should reinforce these partnerships and contribute to governments’ efforts to developing an inclusive and consensual legal framework and policies that make it easy to attract FDI and to do business.
 
Distinguished participants,
I strongly believe that this Conference will make a difference. Seeing such a large number of private sector representatives – both from LDCs and from non-LDCs – taking part in the deliberations of the next four days, gives me great hope and a strong sense of commitment. It reinforces my believe that the inclusion of the private sector in this process is timely and highly relevant.
 
In the next four days, representatives from the various key stakeholders – the Governments, the Civil Society and the Private Sector – will have the opportunity to interact and share their ideas and best practices of how to overcome the impediments to LDCs’ development and growth.
 
I am asking you to take on this responsibility with great commitment and a sense of pride. In this meeting, we heard several testimonies of how the Private Sector can work – hand in hand – with the Government and other sectors of society to improve overall welfare.
 
I am confident that our deliberations this week will generate concrete ideas and recommendations. I call upon you to engage actively and constructively in the discussion and I wish the Private Sector Track a success.
 
I thank you all.