The findings were presented at the annual World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies in Geneva in March.

This is the third such survey, evaluating 178 IPAs from around the world – 76 from developed countries and 102 from emerging markets (the latter being part-sponsored by MIGA to participate).

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The purpose of the survey, says GDP Global, was to determine the international benchmark for IPA performance in two key agency task areas: the handling of investment project enquiries and e-communications capabilities. All participating agencies were assessed on project enquiries, but only those representing developed countries were also assessed on e-communications.

According to the results, Invest in Sweden Agency and the City of Melbourne are “world leading” IPAs with scores over 75% in the combined general evaluation (enquiry/project handling) and e-communications evaluation. Several agencies did well in each separate evaluation, says the post-survey report, but only these two agencies posted high marks in both areas.

Those rated “world class” IPAs, with overall scores between 70%-75%, include Austrian Business Agency, Invest Victoria (Australia), Industrial Investment Council (Germany), Liverpool Business Centre (UK) and Invest Northern Ireland.

The report applauds developed country IPAs for improvements in marketing, service and content but says that still two-thirds of them remain uncompetitive.

The benchmark for developing world IPAs is obviously lower, so those scoring over the 50% mark get a mention in the report. “By achieving an overall score of 50% or greater, these agencies are likely to be international contenders for global investment opportunities,” the report says.

In sub-Saharan Africa, agencies scoring above 50%, with a particular competency in call centre operations, are GEDA (South Africa), BEDIA (Botswana), Namibia Investment Centre and APIX (Senegal). EPZA (Kenya) was singled out for garment assembly and ECDC (South Africa) for computer products assembly.

In Asia, XIPA (Xiamen, China) performs well in the computer products assembly sector, as does, in Europe, LAA (Latvia), BFIA (Bulgaria), LDA (Lithuania) and TIPO (Slovenia).

In Central Asia, ADA (Armenia) and AIPAF (Azerbaijan) are recognised for garment manufacturing.

In the Middle East and North Africa region, IDAL (Lebanon) was deemed well suited for call centre investments and OCIPED is commended (Oman) for shared services.