The Road Towards Common Goals In Investment Promotion Through Peer to Peer Learning

A Forum of SADC Investment Promotion Agencies Chief Executives and Senior Officials was held at The Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) Maseru, Lesotho on February 17-18, 2015.

The objective was to accelerate efforts of achieving inclusive and sustainable Regional Economic Integration and the promotion of Peer to Peer learning among SADC Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs).

Key points that were discussed and emerged as critical in forging regional integration included:

  • The need for harmonisation of investment incentives and to address the problem of “race to the bottom” which has heavily compromised the region through Member States negatively competing against each other. Discussion of this matter is already underway in the development and formulation of the Regional Investment Policy Framework
  • The need for image creation was considered critical and that the essential steps would include individual Member State branding and investor guidance roadmaps feeding into the development of a regional brand;
  • The need for “political will” was noted as critical in policy formulation and implementation for the transformation into an improved regional investment climate;
  • Customer aftercare of existing investors was noted as critical as it engenders confidence to existing investors who then become investment ambassadors and source of endorsement to potential investors.; It was further noted that where possible  eferrals should be made between IPAs in case an investor is unable to secure what they want in a particular country but could be offered by another Member State.
  • Prioritisation: participants were of a common understanding that for Member States to be more successful in securing desired investments, they need to prioritise and clearly define what they are looking for and the type of investor they seek to attract.
  • The importance of infrastructure development including energy generation was considered critical in investment attraction highlighting the need for joint investments in areas where there are common interests.
  • The need for greater collaborations beyond formal meetings under organised programmes but through MOUs between IPAs and greater share of information and knowledge.

The primary focus of this Forum is to build awareness of the SADC region as an integrated investment location, as opposed to a loose collection of individual markets. This cooperation among IPAs facilitates exchange of information, knowledge and expertise which results in networking and collaboration among Member States.

Addressing the Forum, The Honourable Minister, stressed on the need for IPAs to shy away from country silo strategic positioning in investment initiatives and promotion and move towards cooperative and collaborative strategic approach through regional zoning, based on member states comparative advantage. The Minister dissuaded Member States from engaging in unproductive competition but to work together in promoting and attracting investment in the Region.

In the Opening Remarks, the Secretariat outlined the role and importance of IPAs in regional investment agenda as part of implementing the Regional Action Program on Investment (RAPI) and reflected on the progress made in the development of the Peer to Peer mechanism.

Deliberations also reflected on SADC Member States’ rankings on the World Bank Doing Business Index and how such or similar indicators can help Member States review their investment policies in order to improve the investment environment.

The forum also incorporated a component of an opportunity for practical learning from onsite visit to one of Lesotho’s key diamond mining investments (Letseng Diamond Mine) Letseng Diamond Mine contributes at least 1% of the Lesotho GDP. The visit was led by the Minister of Trade and Industry.

In attendance were representatives of International Cooperating Partners dealing in investment facilitation and promotion (the World Bank and the African Development Bank), Chief Executives of other development financial agencies and Senior Government Officials of various ministries in Lesotho.

Delegates to the forum were from eleven (11) SADC Member States namely, Botswana, Kingdom of Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Kingdom of Swaziland, The United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Published On: February 17, 2015|