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World Bank Group Promotes Global Competitiveness in Pacific Nations

Sydney, Australia, December 2, 2010 —The Investment Climate Advisory Services of the World Bank Group is holding a three-day workshop to help improve the services of investment promotion agencies in 13 Pacific countries, after its 2009 Global Investment Promotion Benchmarking report found that foreign companies have a 75 percent chance of being ignored when they call investment promotion agencies in the region to request information and assistance.
The average Global Investment Promotion Benchmarking score of 35 percent for Pacific countries reflects weak investment facilitation services, indicating that investors find it difficult to access good information on investment opportunities in what are often weak investment climates. This puts countries at a serious disadvantage in the international competition for foreign direct investment.
The workshop, which begins today, will seek to improve services offered by investment promotion agencies and enable their countries to attract more investors and a bigger share of the trillion-dollar global market for foreign direct investment.
"While most regions saw FDI inflows decline in 2009, the Pacific saw an all-time high of nearly $900 million. However, FDI flows to the region have been historically erratic," said Robert Whyte, Global Product Specialist for Investment Policy and Promotion, World Bank Group. "Only eight years ago, FDI was almost negligible at $61 million, and without competitive investment facilitation, levels could fall again."
"Good facilitation must start with a strong understanding of investors, how they make investment decisions, and how they compare the relative advantages of one country to another," said Patrick Martin, Investment Promotion Manager, Pacific Trade and Invest. "Then, we can begin to compete harder on the terms that matter and attract the levels of FDI needed for lasting economic transformation.”
Sponsored by the European Commission's Pro€Invest program, the workshop will host about 20 public officers from investment promotion agencies in the Pacific, who will build their capacity for investment facilitation and develop institution-specific action plans for stronger inquiry-handling and Web sites.
The workshop is designed to transfer international best practices as well as promote regional cooperation, bringing together representatives from Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
For more information on the 2009 Global Investment Promotion Benchmarking report, please visit www.globalinvestmentpromotion.org .
About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org , www.miga.org , and www.ifc.org .
About Pro€Invest
ProInvest is a programme of the Group of ACP states and the European Commission for the promotion of investment and technology transfer to the ACP countries and operates through the strengthening of ACP intermediary and professional organisations in support to the development of company partnerships. Its management has been entrusted to a Management Unit within the Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE) under the supervision of the EuropeAid Office of the European Commission. For more information, please visit www.proinvest-eu.org .