Regional Partnership to Promote Trade & Investment

To trade, countries need the productive capacity to produce goods and services that are in demand and that can be competitive in world markets. Countries of the sub-Saharan region are particularly handicapped because of a lack of productive capacity, especially outside the natural resources sector. Key to building this capacity is the creation of a vibrant enterprise sector, the bedrock of economic development. Both domestic and foreign direct investment (FDI) can play an important role in meeting this challenge, by contributing directly to the creation of productive capacity and, in the case of FDI, by serving as a catalyst for the growth of domestic enterprises.

Many sub-Saharan secondary cities, typically of medium size and severely under-resourced, are growing rapidly, including by absorbing an increasing number of people leaving the countryside. A special effort needs to be made to help these cities increase their levels of productive investment in order to put them on a sustainable development path and so they might participate in and benefit from global trade. Importantly, these secondary cities are often quite large and offer a range of commercially viable investment opportunities that need to be identified and brought to the attention of local and foreign investors — within the country, within the region and internationally.

The capacity of cities to attract investors therefore needs to be built up, so that cities can better attract and then service investors. Business linkages to existing investors also need to be strengthened for the cities/countries to benefit maximally from each investment.  To maximize this impact, the capacity of local enterprises, too, needs to be strengthened, with a special focus on providing access, opportunity and relevant training to women entrepreneurs.

Regional Partnership to Promote Trade and Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa

This program was established in April 2011 with funding from the Government of Finland and was implemented by MCI and the three participating cities, in collaboration with The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), an international research organization headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.

Click here to access the “Regional Partnership to Promote Trade and Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa: Final Narrative Report,” prepared by former MCI Senior Researcher and Advisor Dr. Karin Millett in consultation with the Millennium City Investment Teams in Kumasi, Mekelle and Tabora.

Project Goals

The project aimed to:

  1. Assist three Millennium Cities — Tabora, Tanzania; Mekelle, Ethiopia; and Kumasi, Ghana — in generating more investment (local and foreign), to build up their productive capacity and their ability to trade, thereby accelerating their progress toward achieving the MDGs; and
  2. Contribute to the global dialogue on the importance of increasing sustainable investment at the sub-national (cities/regional) level.

Outputs and Outcomes

The key deliverables of the project included:

  1. The identification of a number of significant, viable investment opportunities in and around each of the three selected cities and the production of materials for promoting and targeting these and other opportunities. These materials include:
  2. The dissemination of these materials via mail, internet and through local and international events. In addition to mailings and the websites listed above, each of the cities held an investment forum in 2013. See event programs and resources:
  3. The Regional Partnership Capstone Seminar concluded activities and provided a space for all parties to share experiences.  Materials from the event included:
  4. The strengthened capacity for local investment promotion, facilitation and trade, including also an established public-private sector dialogue mechanism;
  5. A strategy paper intended as a methodological tool enabling cities/regions to formulate their own programs to attract sustainable local and foreign investment, published as part of the Handbook for Promoting Foreign Direct Investment in Medium-Size, Low-Budget Cities in Emerging Markets (see Module IV on strategy).
  6. A guidance paper on attracting in particular sustainable FDI for the cities/regions at the sub-national level by Georgetown University Professor John Kline;
  7. A report detailing lessons learned in the course of the two-year collaborations;
  8. A substantial contribution to the international work on FDI.

In addition, a number of training materials, tools and resources were developed and identified to support learning by cities in the promotion of private sector investment, both domestic and international.