IPAs (Investment Promotion Agencies) surveyed this year identified the most promising industries for attracting FDI to their country. There are differences between regions and – mirroring the MNE survey – extractive industries do not appear among the most promising in any region. Information and communication is identified as one of the top most promising industries in three regions – developed countries, developing Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean (figure). The industries regarded as most promising by IPAs in each region reflect the regional level of development, economic endowments and specialization. Thus, in addition to information and communication, IPAs in developed countries also select professional services and computers and electronics as being among the most promising for attracting FDI, while for developing and transition regions, industries most commonly chosen by IPAs are agriculture, food and beverages, and utilities.

For a large, middle-income region such as Latin America and the Caribbean, it is not surprising that food and beverages are deemed a promising industry; but the selection of “other manufacturing” by local IPAs, which includes everything from jewelry to medical equipment, indicates that there is a degree of niche specialization in the region. Developing Asia includes a very large number of countries, with vastly different endowments, from least developed countries to highly advanced economies. The most promising industries in this region reflect this diversity: agriculture, utilities, food and beverages and information and communication.

Figure: IPAs’ selection of most promising industries for attracting FDI in their own economy, by region (Per cent of IPAs responding) (Source: ©UNCTAD business survey)

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