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11 October 2019

WIC19: World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies’ (WAIPA) elects Dubai for presidency

* H.E. Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of Dubai FDI, will serve as WAIPA President for 2019-21
* ‘World Investment Conference’ hosted by Polish Investment and Trade Agency stresses the importance of IPAs embracing new challenges in the global economy

The World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) has announced Dubai as its President. His Excellency Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of the Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of Dubai Economy – Government of Dubai, will serve as the WAIPA President for 2019-2021. The announcement came after the General Assembly elections of WAIPA held in Warsaw alongside the ‘World Investment Conference (WIC19),’ a two-day forum hosted by Polish Investment and Trade Agency, 7-8 October. What’s more Invest in India and the General Authority for Investment & Free Zones (GAFI) were elected for Vice-Presidency and Ghana Promotion Centre, Invest in Sharjah, Invest in Korea, Invest in Bulgaria, Costa Rica Investment Promotion Agency, Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Agency, Business Finland, INDI Minas Gerais Investment and Trade Promotion Agency, The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour (MCIL) Samoa were appointed Regional Directors.

H.E. Fahad Al Gergawi, WAIPA president stated in his opening remarks of the ‘World Investment Conference (WIC19) that said “WAIPA’s work is crucial, not only as a forum for capacity building, knowledge sharing and cooperation, but also as a platform that fosters regional and global partnerships to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and we are noticing a growing interest in WAIPA’s work”. Al Gergawi expressed his appreciation to WAIPA members and steering committee over his new assignment and hailed the role of the 24th World Investment Conference in shedding the light on challenges, opportunities and the realities that will shape the FDI world moving forward. “While every government, industry and business have their share of challenges, difficulties and uncertainties, Investment Promotion Agencies understand the new realities better and will play a crucial rule in facilitating FDI flows into sustainable development” he concluded.   

WAIPA represents investment promotion agencies worldwide as the only official umbrella organization and the association works closely with international organisations such as UNCTAD, UNIDO, OECD, ILO, IEDC, ICC and the World Bank as well as key opinion formers.

The World Investment Conference 2019, which was officially opened by newly elected President Fahad Al Gergawi, brought together leading investment promotion agencies (IPAs) from all around the world, international organisation’s leaders, heads of financial institutions, leading political figures, private sector representatives, prominent economists and researchers in two days of discussions on what is in hold for the future as well as on the best investment promotion strategies and skills.

The conference featured a notable line-up of panellists, including special address by Poland’s Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Finance Tadeusz Kościński and the WIC19 host, PAIH Executive Vice-President Krzysztof Senger. Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Finance mentioned the current priorities for Polish government being high-tech, research and development, life-long learning, growth of foreign investments and Polish companies which are supported by Polish Investment Zone incentives, seed funds and expansion assistance.

Krzysztof Senger made remarks on the current worldwide changes and posed a question how FDI agencies can help and what role they should play at the moment to address the changes. He raised other questions too like how to reshape and reorganise goals of IPAs in order to attract multinational companies. PAIH Executive Vice-President also proudly informed that the Agency represents a client driven approach and attracts not only greenfield investments offering new type of assets like IoT and Industry 4.0.Held under the name “The future of FDI: Prospects, challenges and role of IPAs,” the conference aimed to underline the importance of IPAs regarding the current stage of the global economy.

The final day of the conference gave participants an opportunity to listen not only world-renowned leaders and academicians, but also successful entrepreneurs and VC funds representatives, discussing the future of the FDI, impact of digitalization on the FDI flow and new models of executing investments.

The first panel session of the day debated on ‘Rebounding the slide of FDI: Key factors, policy concerns and opportunities. The session was held to address the major concern which is the global slide in FDI in 2018 by 13 % to $1.3 trillion according to World Investment Report. The panellists discussed such issues as declining FDI and its contribution to GDP, increased trade protectionism, FDI flows being a great challenge, need for investing in confidence and improved competitiveness and importance of digital economy and green jobs. Consequently, they agreed that strong regional cooperation, retaining talent and the FDI contribution into different dimensions of an economic growth and adaption to the digital era are key factors of rebounding of the slide of FDI.

The panellists in the session ‘FDI in the digitalized world’ concluded that nowadays digitalisation not only affects the nature of FDI that become more and more talent- and technology-driven, but the way IPAs work as well. They pointed out that even the companies operating in traditional sectors such as agri-food need to master technology, so do IPAs. Moreover, the debaters also argued the talent acquisition as crucial in terms of improving business processes and investment promotion. In addition, they stressed that governments can help by facilitating contacts between the academic world and business, helping to tailor the skills on the market to their demand.

‘New Types of Investments’ were in focus in the third session of the day. The panellists found M&As more and more important with potential to surpass greenfield investments. They also highlighted the importance of start-up support programs and funding the foreign expansion of businesses adding that governments should create a friendly environment to invest and help obtain VC funding etc., rather than directly invest in a company.

The conference was followed by a two-day leadership and advocacy training. Participants have gotten an insight on developing an effective FDI attraction strategy, they also have been presented broader approaches and models for measuring the impact of FDI. Furthermore, as in most organizations, the capabilities and dedication of employees are instrumental to an IPA’s success, so one of the training sessions has looked at different options for structuring an IPA and organizing key investment promotion functions.


WIC19 video report



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