For the first time ever, and in keeping with WAIPA’s role as a connector of investors and IPAs, this year’s WIC provided a platform to match investors with investible projects in countries worldwide. The Investor-IPA Connect session, which took place on 13th, facilitated not only the presentation of investible projects but also exclusive one-on-one interactions.
- The Startup-Investor Connect program, integrated into 27th World Investment Conference was designed to offer startups from various sectors a platform to pitch their ideas to potential investors. This initiative allowed startups to obtain feedback and showcase their potential for securing funding and related support.
- A high – level roundtable with key multilateral organizations deliberating on the current global startup ecosystem and how to accelerate sustainable growth of the same. The conversation highlighted the importance of including startups and their interests when making policy decisions.
- WIC23 Contribution on LDC on the 13th:
This closed-door session led by Ms. Emily Sims bring together a curated group of LDC IPA officials and global organizations, all deeply committed to advancing sustainable economic growth in LDCS. The primary focus of this discussion was on the instrumental role that IPAs can play in catalyzing the development of LDCs.
- E. Rabab Fatima, UN high representative for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS (Virtual address)
- Ratnakar Adhikari, Executive Director, Enhanced Integrated Framework, WTO
- Ajay Mathur, Director General, International Solar Alliance
- Senera Sar, Director, Cambodia Development Council
- Lokman Hossain Miah, Executive Chairman, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA)
- Izama Angelo Opi-Aiya, Board Member, Uganda Investment Authority
- Aissata Lam, Director General, The Investment Promotion Agency of Mauritania (APIM)
- Mahesh Bhattarai, Joint Secretary, National Planning Commission, Government of Nepal
- Alfredo Bragança Da Trindade, Executive Director, Agencia de Promocao do Comercio e lnvestimento (APCI)
- Mahdi Obsieh, Director General, Invest in Djibouti
- Temesgen Tilahun, Deputy Commissioner, Ethiopian Investment Commission
- Vannasy Phonchanheuang, Deputy Director, Investment Promotion Department, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Lao PDR
- Marina Mapitso Bizabani, General Manager, Development Finance, Lesotho National Development Corporation
- Eric George, Deputy Secretary (Technical), Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labor & Immigration
- Yasir Ahmed, Director of Research and Market Analysis, Ministry of Investment and Industrial Development
Ms. Rabab Fatima indicated that LDCs are 92 most vulnerable countries – landlocked, Small Island and LDCs who are greatly affected by COVID- 19, climate change and conflicts make them more vulnerable. She asserted that FDI is crucial for overcoming this challenges and achieving sustainable development. However, FDI is concentrated in a few countries and sectors. After a steep decline of 10 years, 2021 saw an uptick but this dropped again in 2022. IPAs thus have a critical role. IPAs facilitate relationships and information sharing, therefore essential for them to attract FDI. In addition, she referred to the valuable role of WAIPA in this regard as well as the Doha Program of Action that supports the establishment of an international investor support centre for LDCs. She agreed that Development in the upcoming decades will be defined by the growth of IPAs in LDCs. And she gave examples with Rwanda on landlocked and Bermuda for small island developing states are key places to pledge investments to LDCs.
Then Dr. Adhikari indicated that 1.1 billion people comprising 14% of humanity (LDCs) – 26 million of them are youth. 1.1 trillion USD in 2022. And the Growth at 7% per year by 2031 will more than double the GDP of LDC according to the Doha program. Moreover, he mentioned that LDCs have critical minerals – Cobalt, Lithium, Copper. In addition, he pointed out that FDI alone is not enough; as we need domestic policies to channel FDI, FDI assists structural transformation – towards the manufacturing and services sector and 1 trillion USD is needed as well according to the IMF to double manufacturing.
This speech is followed by Ajay Mathur stated that 310 Billion USD in 2022, 400 Billion USD in 2023 FDI are mobilized towards Solar which reflects the fossil fuel boom. Investors are hesitant due to lack of experience and anxiety about repayments and returns. However, in Africa Solar non-repayment is less than 2%. This is less than the global average. He asserted that there should be a change in regulations, moving from government to private investment attraction and he mentioned that ISA provides this support.
In addition, he continued to mention some recommendations to support Africa Solar start-ups through provision of interest-free loans as guarantees for investor repayment, which can be a game changer to attract FDI within Africa, and support should be given to Renewable energy projects, which can be financed through bonds.
During the meeting, Cambodia showed trade and FDI investment go hand in hand for effective sustainable growth. Bhutan showed how investment in hydropower allowed Bhutan’s social indicators to grow and graduate to a developing country. Landlocked African countries (Sierra Leone) pointed out that it need electricity which require investment in clean energy so here comes the FDI role.
A closed-door meeting of IPAs of G20 nations conducted in the last day of the conference to reassert the commitment of WAIPA and its partners on the importance of G20 IPAs in a changing world order.
Ms. Nivruti Rai highlighted the importance of Technology to the rescue of the people and the power of data as she mentioned that WAIPA houses more than 70% of the world’s data.
In the same context, Mr. Ahmed from Saudi Arabia IPA who agreed that the world is at a critical juncture and the digital transition is reshaping the global economy in addition to the Geopolitical shifts that reshaping trade and investment flows and he pointed out that we are in need to tackle climate change. He asserted that Investments have a key role to play during the transition to a global economy that can provide prosperity for the long term. Moreover, he mentioned that in Saudi Arabia, they recognized this importance and that investment is deeply integrated within their national development strategy.
While Ms. Rupa Dutta focused on Startups and their key role in investment promotion. She refereed to the startup movement in India as a dynamic movement, and she mentioned that from India’s perspective for investment promotion post pandemic, IPAs worldwide have come together and supported governments and corporations globally and WAIPA has served as a significant platform in this regard.
Furthermore, Ms. Rupa Chandra shared the G20 Compendium on FDI for Sustainable Development and provided a real time assessment of IPAs for the steps taken by them for sustainable FDI through defining what role can the IPAs of G20 play in sustainable FDI promotion, what extent are they reaching out to make an impact, what extent are they assessing the sustainability outcomes of their investment promotion efforts?. In this regard, she mentioned that IPAs promote and attract FDI in ’10’ SDG sectors and they promote investment in non-SDG sectors with significant potential to contribute to sustainable development. Additionally, she pointed out that all IPAs of G20 are prioritizing several SDG-related sectors such as Agribusiness, food, renewable energy, digital tech etc. In terms of target, sustainability is there but in terms of delivering, the message of sustainability across is pending. On the other hand, she mentioned that IPAs of G20 should agree on a common framework for sustainable FDI, provide more IPA capacity building non FDI and sustainable development and boost IPA-IPA cooperation (especially between inwards and outward IPA countries)
Moreover, Ms. Mona Haddad questioned how much of the FDI is really flowing through IPAs and what is the constrain this investment to happen? As she mentioned that money is not the constraint and we should improve investment climates, encourage and support de-risk investment projects. She highlighted that investors do not really need incentives and they are honestly quite costly but investors really look for skills as they want a good pool of labor and certainty in the investment climate and she stressed on the importance to assess at how useful these incentives are.
At the end, Dr. Ratnakar Adhikari referred to LDCs and how they represent a formidable market for investors, as there are many opportunities in different sectors like: agribusiness, energy, manufacturing, tourism and digital transformation. In addition, he mentioned that these are sectors where IPAs can promote opportunities to their investors to encourage them to invest in LDCs.