UNCTAD: Investment promotion agencies are rapidly changing their modus operandi

unctad investment promotion

The COVID-19 pandemic has created great challenges for Investment Promotion Agencies

According to UNCTAD Investment Promotion and Facilitation Monitor, Investment Promotion Agencies are shifting focus to crisis management, notification of investors of government’s economic measures of support, provision of crisis support services and contribution to national COVID-19 business response efforts.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) will face a tough period because of COVID-19 outbreak around the world, with UNCTAD forecasting that global FDI flows could contract between 30% and 40% in 2020

Policy responses to COVID-19 crisis vary between countries with many planning or implementing support measures for investors and their wider economies. Some countries are taking measures to protect domestic infrastructure and certain industries, particularly in the health sector. You can read the UNCTAD’s analysis of the coronavirus impact on global FDI  HERE.


UNCTAD has identified the following main challenges for IPAs work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • decrease in new investment inquiries and lead generation,
  • establishing a dynamic online presence,
  • changing focus to new priority target sectors,
  • increased focus on investment facilitation and aftercare services.

The Investment Promotion Agency (IPA) Observer series is prepared by the Investment Promotion Section of UNCTAD. Its objective is to show examples of strategic and operational best practice in investment promotion from agencies worldwide to practitioners and governments in developing countries, with a view to share lessons that are practical and replicable for their investment promotion agencies (IPAs).

UNCTAD’S services of the international investment facilitation programme are geared to investment promotion agencies (IPAs) and other institutions that promote and facilitate investment at the national and local levels. The Division Investment and Enterprise is recognized as a global centre of excellence on issues related to investment and enterprise for sustainable development. Built on several decades of successful experience, its staff provide international expertise in research and policy analysis, inter-governmental consensus-building, and technical assistance to over 150 countries.