Governments and their entities own 14% global stock market capitalisation amounting to about USD10 Trillion, as indicated by OECD studies. In more than 10% of world`s largest companies, State-ownership exceeds 50% of equity and many of them operate trans-nationally. SOE, both listed and unlisted, account for more than 25% of GDP in several countries and the value of their assets exceed it by far. Globally, they account for an estimated 20% of investment and about 5 % of direct employment. At the same time, SOE contribute to significant fiscal stress in many countries. In some low and middle-income countries, reform of the public sector could indeed be the key to improving the state of the economy and generating the needed resources for sustainable development.
The reform steps so far – including in respect of privatisation and restructuring of ownership models - have mostly been slow and disappointing in many countries, leaving the SOE vulnerable to diminution of value if not outright sickness. There are also newer challenges to the SOE. These arise not only from disruptive technologies and hyper-competitive forces but also from greater international scrutiny of their material relationship with the State that impinges on issues of international trade and law. The Forum aims to address, mainly by sharing and comparing, challenges of SOE from public policy, Corporate Governance and business strategy perspectives – reinforcing and supplementing the multilateral efforts including those of international development agencies.
The Forum – a non-profit association of international practitioners and thinkers - is a singular platform that provides space to address the current and emerging challenges to SOE reform. It also aims to operate as an effective facilitator for enhancing the governance standards and practices set by multi-lateral bodies and expected by key stakeholders including Institutional Investors.