On May 24, 2021, the Islamic Organization for Food Security gathered an experts meeting to address ‘Projects in Food Industry: Perspectives and Problems of Attracting Investments to OIC Countries’. The meeting was organized under the ‘National Food Sectors Development in Cooperation with State Investment Agenciesprogramme to bring attention to the investment projects in the food and agriculture sector, find ways to improve the investment climate and develop conceptual proposals to encourage investments in agri-food industry. The meeting also provided a platform for sharing country and regional experience and making its first steps towards developing the OIC directory on food-related investment priorities and mapping the respective institutional investors. The investment promotion agencies (IPAs) are vital for such activities as they often represent the governments aiming to promote economic and social development through interstate investments.

The meeting was started with a few welcoming remarks from the Director-General of IOFS H.E. Mr. Yerlan Baidaulet. He noted that according to UNCTAD, foreign direct investment in 2020 decreased by 42% from 1.5 trillion in 2019 to about 859 billion dollars. The number of new industrial projects in 2020 is 35% lower than in 2019, so the markets are not very optimistic about the investments in industrial sectors in 2021. 

The Director-General of International IFPA H.E. Sheikh Bilal Khan presented the brief overview of the organization as a full subsidiary organ of IOFS. IFPA plays an important role for IOFS by promoting investment and trade in the agricultural and industrial sectors and focusing on establishing and supporting food clusters in IOFS member countries via investment promotion agencies and international associations such as WAIPA and Aman Union.

Investment promoting agencies as Kazakh Invest, Dubai FDI and AZPROMO also spoke at the event, sharing their experience in the field. It’s worth noting that IOFS signed the MoU and Action Plan with Kazakh Invest to support the development of agroindustry and agricultural technologies through investment projects. Such a bilateral cooperation scheme would be repeated in the future with other leading investment promoting agencies with state support from member countries. The meeting was also attended by the representatives of other OIC bodies, including the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), Islamic Centre for Development of Trade (ICDT).

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