Real asset investors have an important role to play in global efforts to promote sustainable development and the world's investment promotion agencies (IPAs) are standing by to assist them, according to Ismail Ersahin, CEO and executive director of the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA).
WAIPA is a Geneva-based non-government organisation created in 1995 by the United Nations which has 125 member agencies from 105 countries. IPAs are government entities charged with the attraction of foreign direct investment (FDI) into their cities, regions or countries. "We want to create ideal IPAs in every country — that’s the mandate of WAIPA, Ersahin said.
IPAs serve as crucial bridges between the public and private sector. "They are not just promoting —although they are called investment promotion agencies — but they are also facilitating investments and advocating for the business environment to get better for the benefit of investors," he said. "They are there to make life easier for all the investors from around the world."
However, there is not always enough interaction between IPAs and investors, a situation WAIPA is working to improve. "We need to be able to make sure there is more interaction between IPAs and the business community, because that’s a win-win situation for all," he said. "Investors are looking at potential investments and where they can put their money and sometimes they cannot find the real opportunities.
But IPAs are there to provide these opportunities and create investible projects." IPAs are increasingly focused on attracting institutional capital, especially in climate-friendly and sustainable projects, so enhancing the links with real asset investors is essential.
"The real estate sector is the largest sector in the world, therefore this is an area where IPAs can also make a real difference. And these institutional investors can also, by investing in sustainable areas [and] by taking into account climate FDI, they can make sure they contribute to the development of countries."
This is in line with a growing emphasis of high-quality FDI. "We are prioritising quality FDI not only quantity. If we also make sure that investors are also prioritising quality, sustainable investment when investing in any country, we are going to have a much better world, more developed countries and more prosperity for all for the future," Ersahin concluded.