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Agencies win awards for promoting investment in the energy transition

16 October 2023

The 8th World Investment Forum unveils the winners of the UN Investment Promotion Awards 2023, celebrating their success in supercharging climate action.

© Shutterstock/Richard Bradford | Suzhou Industrial Park, located in eastern China’s Jiangsu Province, is among the recipients of the UN Investment Promotion Awards 2023.

Ten investment promotion agencies and special economic zones landed the annual UN Investment Promotion Awards on 16 October at UNCTAD’s World Investment Forum 2023.

The winners hail from Brazil, China, Egypt, France, India, Namibia, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, Türkiye and the United Arab Emirates. The agencies from Brazil, India and the Republic of Korea received a special distinction from the jury.

This year’s awards spotlighted the work of the agencies in attracting investment to accelerate the transition to clean, sustainable energy aimed at curbing climate change, while recognizing innovative approaches to investment promotion, finance and partnerships.

While international investment in renewable energy has nearly tripled since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015, much of the growth has been concentrated in developed countries.

According to UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2023, developing countries need renewable energy investments of about $1.7 trillion annually but attracted only $544 billion in 2022.

Excellence in scaling up energy transition investments

The UN Investment Promotion Awards 2023 went to:

Brazil’s Invest Minas for its role in the Sol de Minas campaign to attract large-scale clean energy-generating projects to Minas Gerais State, which led to 37 new solar and wind energy projects between 2021 and June 2023.

China’s Suzhou Industrial Park Administrative Committee for pursuing a strategic response to climate change and manufacturing core components for alternative energy vehicles and autonomous driving.

Egypt’s General Authority for Investment and Free Zones for promoting and facilitating investment in the production of green hydrogen, in particular the Egypt Green Hydrogen project implemented by a consortium of leading companies from North America, the Middle East and North Africa.

France’s ONLYLYON INVEST for supporting projects advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and particularly attracting investment to support the development and production of innovative sustainable material with a low CO2 footprint for the automotive industry.

India’s Guidance Tamil Nadu for facilitating the First Solar investment project with a fully vertical integrated photovoltaic thin film solar module manufacturing facility, notably through green incentives and higher training incentives for women. This project will facilitate access to low-cost solar panels and contribute to more sustainable cities in India.

The Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board for supporting an investment project by Kelp Blue, an innovative start-up managing large-scale seaweed cultivation off the Namibian coast. Kelp cultivation improves crop yields, absorbs carbon from the atmosphere, boosts fish stocks and increases biodiversity.

Invest KOREA from the Republic of Korea for its support to the city of Ulsan in its transformation to a green hydrogen city. It supported efforts to expand the city’s renewable energy infrastructure and facilitated an investment project to establish a hydrogen production plant.

South Africa’s InvestSA for promoting and facilitating a large energy project that includes foreign investment for the construction of the country's largest renewable energy project, expected provide clean energy to 200,000 households.

Türkiye’s Investment Office of the Presidency for targeting investment using a comprehensive SDG scoring mechanism and facilitating a large wind farm project that will produce 1,000 megawatts of energy.

The United Arab Emirates’ Khalifa Economic Zones Abu Dhabi for being a leading hub for sustainable investment in the Middle East and facilitating the Star Paper Mill project, which produced recycled paper using an eco-friendly process, including recycling and reusing wastewater.

Investment promotion and facilitation in focus at forum

The awards are part of events on investment promotion and facilitation at the 8th World Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi, running through 20 October.

In line with the awards’ theme, the Global Investment Promotion Conference on 17 October will also focus on the energy transition.

It will bring together stakeholders from the public and private sectors to agree on actions to channel finance where it is needed the most and ensure the voice of the investment promotion community is heard at the upcoming UN climate change conference COP28 negotiations.

Other related events will cover investment promotion in the blue economy, the impact of investment promotion on gender equality and investment facilitation in the education sector.

Sessions organized with the UNCTAD-led Global Alliance of Special Economic Zones will include announcements of key initiatives of the alliance, notably the launch of one to identify 50 SDG model zones.