UNCTAD-ICC Investment Guides: Process


The process established in the pilot phase of the project is being retained in the second phase. It involves the following main elements:

  1. The country in question needs to request from UNCTAD, in writing, that the project be implemented and a guide produced. The request should be addressed to the Secretary-General of UNCTAD by the appropriate official of the host-country Government.

  2. If it is agreed that the project should go ahead, an initial fact-finding mission is undertaken. Its plan includes meetings with the investment promotion agency (IPA) and other government organs whose actions affect FDI attraction or retention. It also includes meetings with the private sector, in particular major foreign investors already in the country and key business associations. In each country, UNCTAD works closely with a private-sector organization, often the local ICC affiliate. Another important purpose of this mission is to identify one or more suitable local consultants; recommendations are sought from the UNDP, the IPA, and the private sector, among others.

  3. At an early stage, there is an exchange of letters between UNCTAD and the host-country government regarding the project. This exchange sets out the work plan, the tentative schedule and the primary responsibilities of UNCTAD and the Government (in particular the IPA). The primary responsibility of the IPA is to take an active role in supplying information for the guide, securing feedback on guide drafts, facilitating the necessary contacts with other government agencies and, of course, effectively disseminating the guides.

  4. The next step is the preparation of an acceptable (if partial) draft of the guide by the local consultants. UNCTAD then produces a revised draft to circulate to participants in the first project workshop (see 5 below).

  5. It is essential to hold at least one project workshop focusing on perceptions of investment conditions and the identification of challenges and opportunities. This workshop is held four to six months after the initial mission. It includes separate sessions with the private and public sectors, as well as a joint session. The idea is to seek a candid assessment of investment conditions from the private sector (in the separate session) and to promote dialogue with a view to improving these conditions (in the joint session).

  6. Ideally, the final draft should be ready within two months after the first workshop, for review by the IPA and other organizations. The subsequent process of clearance, editing, design and typesetting, and printing can, again under ideal circumstances, be compressed into three months, with dissemination following immediately.

  7. A launching event is then normally held both in the country and in an appropriate location outside the country. The event in the country usually occurs in conjunction with a workshop on promoting the country as a location for investment.

It should be emphasized that the speed with which the project can be completed depends critically, at all stages, on the IPA. Although UNCTAD always engages the services of local consultants, the consultants´ work is never a substitute for the efforts of the IPA itself.

It should be noted that the project is implemented in close coordination both with other relevant UNCTAD projects and programmes (e.g. the investment policy reviews) and with the work of other intergovernmental agencies and the agencies of donor Governments working in the country.

Approximate schedule:

Month 1 Fact-finding mission
Month 2 Consultants engaged
Months 3-5 First draft and UNCTAD revision
Month 6 First workshop
Month 8 Complete revised draft
Month 9 Review by Government and others
final revisions made.
Months 10-12 Clearance, editing, design and typesetting  and printing
Month 12-on Launch (and possible second workshop)​

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