Dear Colleagues,

I wish to share with you UNCTAD’s IPA Observer: Investment Promotion Agencies: Striving to Overcome the COVID-19 Challenge.<>

This Special Issue draws from a recent UNCTAD global survey of Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) as well as a high-level brainstorming event of IPA executives worldwide.

The key finding: IPAs are exploring innovative way and means to service investors during the challenging times. They have shifted resources towards crisis support services using new modes of investment facilitation and aftercare which will likely evolve after the crisis.

Highlights of the report:

  *   The COVID-19 pandemic has generated important challenges for IPAs, forcing them to shift focus from routine investment promotion and facilitation towards crisis management, notification of investors of government emergency and economic relief measures, provision of crisis support services, and contribution to national COVID-19 business response efforts.
  *   The majority of IPAs (64%) have had a rapid response to the pandemic and have taken measures to continue to service the investor community online. Nevertheless, only 19% are taking their online facilitator role to a new level through the provision of comprehensive online COVID-19 related content and services for investors.
  *   African IPAs and low-income countries are lagging in their response, in part due to lack of resources and experience, but also in some cases because their countries were among the last affected.
  *   The post-COVID-19 era will likely bring permanent changes, including accelerated digitalization of IPA operations, more attention to investment facilitation and aftercare, and for many a shift in target sectors with more health, agriculture and digital industries in the mix.
  *   During this time of crisis, IPAs see great value in collaboration and exchange of IPA best practices facilitated by international organizations, including UNCTAD and IPA associations.
UNCTAD’s Division on Investment and Enterprise will continue to provide regular updates to support the investment community during these challenging times.

Best regards,

James X. Zhan
Director, Investment and Enterprise<>
Lead, World Investment Report<>
United Nations Conference on Trade & Development<>

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