A May 2009 report by the World Bank Group finds that over 70 percent of government investment-promotion agencies miss out on investment and job-creating opportunities by failing to provide accurate and timely information to potential investors.
Global Investment Promotion Benchmarking 2009 shows how effectively government agencies are promoting their countries to foreign investors. The report examines the ability of 181 countries to influence foreign investors' site-selection process. It assesses the response of these agencies to two potential projects - a software developer and a beverage-manufacturing company seeking to expand operations in each country. According to the report, only 10 out of 181 countries followed up with potential investors to secure projects.
"If country information is hard to obtain, investors will simply go elsewhere," said Cecilia Sager, a manager for the World Bank Group's Investment Climate Advisory Services. She also noted that in the global slowdown, foreign direct investment offers prospects for growth and employment. Attracting investment, however, requires professional facilitation, which, unfortunately, many countries do not provide.
The Austrian Business Agency emerged as number one worldwide, based on the report's rankings. Middle-income countries are showing immense progress in competing for mobile investment, particularly Brazil, Botswana, Colombia, Lithuania, and Turkey. Lower-income countries like Honduras and Sri Lanka, which offer strong facilitation services, are evidence that a country's income is not linked to performance.