With the growing importance of foreign direct investments (FDI) for accelerating development, to eradicate unemployment and increase exports, many governments around the world have established investment promotion agencies (IPAs) to attract, advocate and facilitate investment in their countries. As often being the first entity contacted by investors and serving as an intermediate between foreign investors and the government, they have one of the key roles in the overall site selection, incentives, data collection, bureaucratic certification and company establishment processes. However, knowledge gaps are present regarding their structure and main operations. To fill these gaps, The World Bank Group (WBG) and the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) have conducted a comprehensive global survey to capture their main institutional characteristics, corporate planning and services, as well as the main changes and challenges that IPAs are experiencing.
The survey is structured around the novel WBG framework for investment promotion, which includes the following core pillars:
- Corporate planning and sector prioritization: Improving strategic focus via corporate and strategic plan development and improving sector prioritization for investment promotion.
- Institutional framework for FDI: Strengthening the IPA’s institutional framework by improving governance, resources, tools, capacities, and institutional coordination among key stakeholders.
- Investor services: Improving investor-focused services on the basis of the comprehensive investor services framework (CISF), to cover every stage of the investment life cycle (i.e. attraction, entry and establishment, retention and expansion, and linkages and spillovers).
Ninety-one national IPAs from various regions and income groups participated in the survey, where most of the respondents come from high-income countries in Europe and Central Asia.