On October 21, 2021, the World Bank Group and World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) announced the winners of the jointly launched Strengthening IPA Advocacy Services 2021 Award Competition. The announcement was made at the award ceremony held as part of the virtual World Investment Conference held alongside the UNCTAD World Investment Forum. The Award Competition aimed to find and award international best practices of investment promotion agencies (IPAs) in advocating for reforms to improve the investment ecosystem for investors in their country or region. Over 40 national and subnational IPA reforms were submitted to the competition, and the winning IPAs were selected for their impactful reforms by a high-level panel consisting of delegates from WAIPA, the WBG, UNCTAD, and the WEF.

The Ethiopia Investment Commission won Gold for its forward-looking approach and opening new sectors and to private sector investment. The country sought the inputs of the private sector to better understand key reforms needed to enhance its investment climate resulting in it revising its investment code, opening new sectors to foreign direct investment (FDI) that were previously closed, and enhanced its investment administration. Toronto Global won Silver for its efforts in rebooting and reimagining growth in Canada’s largest and most economically diverse regional economy in the face of COVID-19. It developed the Shaping Our Future Playbook which focused on understanding how COVID-19 was impacting the region’s economy and recommending implementable reforms to reimagine growth across the region and turn it into an innovation corridor. Invest India won bronze for ramping-up innovation and startup ecosystems in India. India reacted to the national challenge of enhancing job creation by developing a policy framework aimed at encouraging start-ups and entrepreneurship that witnessed dramatically successful results.

Two honorable mentions were also awarded to Invest Cyprus for its reforms focused on creating thriving ICT and Fintech Sectors and the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority for enhancing the investor experience through its one-stop-shop.

Strengthening IPA Advocacy Services 2021 Award Competition aims to raise awareness of the critical importance of IPA advocacy services and encourage other agencies to play a more substantial role in advocating for reforms. Ivan Nimac, the World Bank’s Global Lead for Investment Policy and Promotion noted that “investment promotion agencies play a critical role in supporting an enhanced investment climate. Their direct day-to-day contacts with foreign investors allow them to identify key issues requiring reform.”

Fahad Al Gergawi, President of the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies, further stated that “WAIPA has committed to enable IPAs success and to contribute to sustainable economic growth resilience and prosperity accross communities, cities, regions and nations by promoting cooperation between IPAs, providing technical assistance and capacity building as well as facilitating and sharing knowledge and best practices among its members and global FDI communities. Advocacy plays a critical role accross all functions of IPAs from advancing policy reforms and FDI incentives to facilitating investors jorney with public and private stakeholders as well as ensuring positive impact of FDI projects on economy, society and environment. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my deep appreciation to the World Bank Group for the continued support and fruitful cooperation with WAIPA to deliver this global competition on strengthening IPAs advocacy services as a testament of the strategic partnership to serve WAIPA members and global FDI community. I take this opportunity to congratulate all the winners and thank participants of this inaugural competition.

Armando Heilbron, the World Bank’s Investment Promotion Workstream Lead stated that, “the urgent need for IPAs to ramp up their Advocacy Services is what motivated WAIPA and the WBG to raise awareness and award extraordinary IPA Advocacy efforts.”

Lelise Neme, Commissioner of the Ethiopia Investment Commission and winner of the Gold Award, stated that “The award is a testament to the efforts we have been pulling together to improve the investment environment in Ethiopia and attract and retain FDI. The EIC, in collaboration with other government agencies, the investor community, and development partners, will continue our advocacy work to address gaps and make Ethiopia the most preferred investment destination in Africa.

The World Bank and WAIPA congratulate the 2021 winners of this prestigious global competition on their extraordinary reform efforts.

For additional information, please see the following:

Promotional video highlighting award winners: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwZX6SXX1q0

World Bank’s website dedicated to the Strengthening IPA Advocacy Services 2021 Award Competition: https://www.worldbank.org/en/events/2020/12/10/strengthening-ipa-advocacy-services-2021-awards