On 1 December, the OECD, the EU and the government of Mongolia, organised a virtual capacity building to support the investment promotion activities of Mongolia as it seeks to attract new and retain current investment, and to share experiences with peers from Eurasia and OECD countries.
The webinar was an opportunity to discuss the recommendations of the OECD’s Investment Promotion in Eurasia: A Mapping of Investment Promotion Agencies (2020), based on the successful experience of Business France, the French investment promotion agency.
The webinar was opened by Mr William Tompson, Head of the Eurasia Division at the OECD, highlighting that one of Mongolia’s most urgent priorities was to help investors to take risks, create jobs and contribute to the government’s diversification agenda. He added that the COVID-19 crisis reinforced the need for more targeted investment promotion efforts.
The director of the National Development Agency of Mongolia, Mr Batjargal Khandjav, stressed that investment attraction was a policy priority following the pandemic. Indeed, his agency adjusted its investment promotion strategy, speeding up the use of online levers. He also expressed its hope to see this capacity building start a long-term cooperation with the OECD in this area. Mr Ulziisaikhan Ganbold, Director General of the Trade and Economic Cooperation Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, stressed the importance of investment attraction as a long-term development strategy that will be included as an amendment to the current investment law. Finally, Mr Marco Ferri, Deputy Head of Mission in the European Union Delegation called on Mongolia to take heed of the growing interest in sustainable investment and to foster a transparent and fair legal framework for foreign investors. He reiterated EU’s support for the diversification of Mongolia’s economy through investment attraction policy.
The first session offered the opportunity to Mr Philippe Yvergniaux, Director of International Cooperation at Business France, to present the foundations for a successful investment promotion agency in a post-COVID world. Drawing on the experience of Business France, he described key legal, policy and institutional challenges to address in expanding Invest Mongolia’s service offer in the context of the recovery. No-one-size-fits-all solution exists when it comes to an IPA’s organisational model, and missions should follow the priorities set by the agency. A comprehensive monitoring cycle should therefore be an integral part of an adequate strategy, allowing for feedback and adjustment.
During the second session, Mr Salim Saifi, Project director at Business France, discussed retention of, and aftercare for, incumbent investors. He observed that 40-60% of new FDI projects come from foreign companies already present in a country. Satisfied investors can therefore become the best ambassadors, making the case for aftercare as a crucial component of an investment attraction strategy. He then detailed the different ways in which Invest Mongolia could expand these services to investors, from assistance during project implementation to encouragement of re-investment.
The two sessions led to a lively Q&A, during which Mr Saifi reminded that depending on the level of resources of Invest Mongolia, investor segmentation and prioritisation could help provide more tailored aftercare services to existing investors.
The session was concluded by Mr Tompson underlining the importance of collaboration with the OECD and the EU in improving Mongolia’s attractiveness for foreign investors. He noted that another webinar would be organised with Mongolia on public private partnerships as it was a topic of interest during the discussion.