The Africa Investment Promotion Agency Network (AfrIPANet) is a UNIDO programme established to provide African Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) with a common platform to discuss and design investment promotion strategies. The network aims to build the capacity of IPAs by providing accurate, up-to-date investor information and technical assistance to help them readjust investment promotion strategies towards the implementation of customized business support services, reap benefits of international investment and link local productive sectors to the global economy.
AfrIPANet was initiated in 2001 and, since then, has grown by drawing on more participating countries and deepening discussion and debate on investment promotion strategies in Africa. Currently the network comprises 38 IPAs in Africa. Recognizing that for further growth and strengthening an informal network would not suffice, AfrIPANet members agreed on the need to formalize the network and have an identifiable African regional body on investment promotion.
At its 4th meeting in 2008, AfrIPANet members unanimously adopted a governing instrument - a Memorandum of Association - and elected their first executives and a Steering Committee.
The AfrIPANet organizations and partners, in cooperation with local statistics offices, spearhead the biannual Investor Surveys and collaborate jointly through the UNIDO Investment Monitoring Platform (IMP). The IMP hosts a database of 7,000 foreign and domestic companies operating in Africa, containing more than 300 variables per surveyed company (investor characteristics, investor performance, investment motivations and perceptions), and includes a business directory of 5,000 companies to promote business partnerships.
AfrIPANet was launched in response to the challenges facing African investment promotion agencies (IPAs). These agencies were established over the last several years to serve as the primary national institutions responsible for promoting and facilitating investment, especially foreign direct investment (FDI).
There were unrealistically high expectations that the newly created IPAs would swiftly prevail over government and market failures hindering the flow of FDI into Africa. Challenges such as complex international marketing, intense competition, over-regulation and weak governance, as well as limited financial and human resources, have constrained their impact.
AfrIPANet aims to address some of these constraints through the following objectives:
To develop new strategies suitable for the limited resource base of African IPAs and improve their effectiveness in mobilizing domestic and foreign investments;
To provide guidance and support to the IPAs in designing activities and improving their effectiveness in influencing policy decisions;
To provide guidance to UNIDO and donor agencies in the design of capacity-building activities and focus interventions in areas expected to have the most impact;
Provide a permanent platform for training and capacity-building of IPAs and maintain continuous linkages between the IPAs and UNIDO's network of Investment & Technology Promotion Offices (ITPOs); and
Build upon the achievements of UNIDO's integrated programmes in the member countries and bring permanence to the partnerships between UNIDO and IPAs as established through capacity-building programmes.