To be able to increase intra-COMESA trade and thus deepen integration between COMESA Member States, making the region an attractive investment destination and attracting investment in all sectors are crucial. It is with the latter in mind that COMESA set-up its investment promotion arm, the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA). Movements in investment flows occur as a result of a large array of factors which work together over variable periods of time. COMESA Regional Investment Agency plays its part; indeed, its activities serve as enablers which have direct and indirect impacts on the generation of investments in the region and the ability of Member States to generate investments.

Since its inception in 2006, RIA has been focusing on two main pillars of operations:

  • Promoting the COMESA region as an attractive investment destination;
  • Improving the business and investment climates of Member States, namely through capacity-building programs targeting Member States Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) and relevant Government Officials.
Promoting the COMESA region as an attractive investment destination

The first way COMESA RIA serves as a driver of investment into the region is through its promotional activities. Examples include: the organization high-level International COMESA investment forums and ministerial road shows, the participation to key events and support to Member States’ events, the development of an investor portal now attracting over 200,000 visitors a year, various country-level and regional investors’ guides and other promotional tools, the promotion of specific investment opportunities and projects, as well as the dissemination of positive news and information about facilities, regulatory frameworks, incentives and procedures.

To be considered are also the multiple meetings which have been organised at COMESA RIA’s premises with various companies looking to invest and do business in the COMESA region. These meetings serve as vehicles through which COMESA RIA has been promoting the COMESA region as an attractive investment destination.
Promotional efforts have succeeded in reducing the gap between perceptions and reality with regard to doing business in the COMESA region and Africa, and raising the profile and image of the COMESA region as a whole and of its Member States as destinations, where not only is it easier to do investment but where returns on investments are higher than anywhere else in the world.