Ismail Ersahin

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE WORLD ASSOCIATION
OF INVESTMENT PROMOTION AGENCIES (WAIPA)

Greece 2022  I  Economy  I  Interview

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_BIOGRAPHY He is a 20-years expert in international relations, investment promotion and business development. He has held various leadership positions for the private sector as well as the government. He has been on assignment to more than 70 countries in his career. He has studied International Relations, International Business Administration and General Management. He speaks English, French and Turkish.

“WE SIMPLIFIED REGULATION AND WE MADE SURE THAT THE VARIOUS COGS IN THE ENTREPRENEURIAL ECOSYSTEM COOPERATED IN A MORE CONSTRUCTIVE WAY.”

WAIPA PLACES INVESTORS IN THE CENTER OF ITS ACTIVITIES. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR MOST RECENT ACHIEVEMENTS AND MAIN PRIORITIES FOR 2022/23?

 

Indeed, one of the main aims of WAIPA is to include the private sector in our discussions. Whether it is in capacity-building programs and workshops or in larger events such as our upcoming 26th WAIPA World Investment Conference in Geneva on 13-14 September, investors are a key part. The main reason for this is as investors are clients of investment promotion agencies (IPAs) to a large degree, they need to be able to understand their counterparts in the best way possible to provide excellent services. Moreover, from an institutional standpoint WAIPA launched a Business Advisory Board recently.

 

We are currently in the phase of engaging with private sector representatives to join the board. The idea is to on the one hand to advise the IPAs as well as policy makers in respective countries on the elaboration of international best practices and standards in investment promotion, facilitation and aftercare, and on the other to assist member IPAs with the implementation of best practices in FDI and standards through high-level consultative meetings.

 

WAIPA HAS LAUNCHED A CAPACITY-BUILDING PROJECT TOGETHER WITH EIF FOCUSED ON LDCS BASED ASIA AND AFRICA. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THIS PROJECT AND ITS EXPECTED RESULTS?

 

For us, as an organization, this project was a milestone. Discussions of this closer engagement with IPAs from LDCs to work together with them on enhancing their capacities started already in 2016 at an LDC Private Sector Forum in Antalya, Turkey. Together with the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) of the WTO and their great support, we have then started said project then in 2020. The aim of this project was basically to improve the capacities and skills of IPAs as well as other government officials in the LDCs on investment promotion and leveraging investment in trade priority sectors as well as to improve the institutionalization of IPAs in LDCs and regional and global networking coordination and advocacy. As such these should then also contribute to an improvement in the business climate and investment conditions to attract sustainable investment and leverage additional resources to development sectors to meet the SDG targets.

 

ANOTHER IMPORTANT PROJECT IS FRANCOPHONE LDC COUNTRIES WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE IN 2022 AND 2023. WHY THIS PROJECT HAS BEEN CREATED AND WHAT ARE YOUR PROJECTIONS?

 

The “Strengthening Investment Promotion Capacity in Francophone Least Developed Countries” project is closely influenced by the first project. As you know many of the LDCs are francophone countries. These are hence IPAs that speak French daily with investors. As WAIPA is a demand-driven organization we have listened to the LDCs to offer them a program in French. We are delighted that next to the EIF also the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) is supporting us in this project. The main aim of this project will also be to improve coordination not only within governments but also on a regional level. IPAs should be able to work in a sound environment within their governmental structure, as it is essential for their effectiveness if they have good ties with other Ministries or agencies, but also they should be able to do this on a regional level. Hence, we are hopeful to engage with then specific discussions on how to improve these factors.

 

 

“TOGETHER WITH OUR PARTNERS WE LOOK

FORWARD TO PROMOTING AND FOSTERING

THIS IMPORTANT NETWORK AND OPPORTUNITIES

THEREOF FOR A GREATER

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IMPACT. ”

 

 

THE WORLD INVESTMENT FOR DEVELOPMENT ALLIANCE HAS RECENTLY BEEN LAUNCHED AT THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THE IDEA BEHIND THIS ORGANIZATION, ITS KEY MEMBERS, AND ITS MAIN OBJECTIVES?

 

The World Investment for Development Alliance (WIDA) has the mission to promote sustainable and inclusive investment through an open and structured network of 10 international organizations drawn from the investment-for-development community. WIDA pursues this overarching objective by creating synergies and maximizing impact through joint advocacy, joint organization, and joint actions among participating organizations.

 

We are very proud to be a founding member among international organizations such as UNCTAD, OECD, the World Bank Group, the World Economic Forum and others. As an umbrella organization representing IPAs around the world, we are fully committed to WIDA’s objectives and its principles of co-creation, co-development, and co-implementation. IPAs hold key roles in attracting sustainable investments as well as reaching the SDGs and thus in creating more inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Together with our partners we look forward to promoting and fostering this important network and opportunities thereof for a greater sustainable development impact.

 

THE 26TH WAIPA WORLD INVESTMENT CONFERENCE WILL BE HELD IN SEPTEMBER. WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED FROM THIS YEAR’S EDITION?

 

The 26th WAIPA World Investment Conference will be held on 13-14 September in Geneva and is a forum where IPAs convene to address current economic and social issues that may affect global investment flows and other strategic and policy considerations. The WIC includes formal panel presentations, this year we will focus for example on Digital FDI, Impact FDI and sustainability, onshoring, nearshoring, and re-shifted GVCs, as well as on Creating & crafting investable projects. It is also the first time that we organize the WIC under the new leadership of Invest India. As new Presidency of WAIPA Invest India and its CEO & MD Deepak Bagla and his team support WAIPA immensely.

 

Moreover, it includes ample networking opportunities and social events for the members. Past panelists include global and business leaders, along with other influencers like economists and members of academia. Naturally, we are also honored by the participation of state dignitaries and had the pleasure to also listen to Nobel laureates in previous years. After meeting more or less virtually the past years due to the pandemic we are now looking forward to meeting again in person. More information on the WIC and how to register is available on our website: https://waipa.org/wic/