With the support of Development Partners, the Facility for Investment Climate Advisory Services (FIAS) supports projects and programs implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) that aim to develop dynamic and resilient economies that promote economic inclusion through investment, innovation, job-creation, and higher productivity. Efforts to increase the competitiveness of developing country economies support their increased participation in international markets, produce better jobs, and contribute to the World Bank Group’s overarching Twin Goals of eliminating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity and the IFC 3.0 Creating Markets Upstream strategy aimed at stimulating greater private sector and IFC investment and projects .
Through the FIAS program, managed and implemented by IFC, FIAS and its Development Partners work together facilitate investment climate reforms in developing countries to foster open, productive, and competitive markets and to unlock sustainable private investment in sectors that contribute to growth and poverty reduction.
Vision and Purpose
Achieving the World Bank Group’s Twin Goals of eliminating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity means spurring investment and creating jobs in some of the world’s Least Developed Countries, including members of the International Development Association (IDA) as well as countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV), and countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Many of these countries seek the Bank Group’s help in improving their climate for domestic and foreign investment and spurring competition and growth in the economic sectors with the greatest potential. FIAS provides essential donor partner support for IFC advisory and technical assistance projects and programs at the local, national, regional, and global level, with a focus on the most economically challenged countries. Client-facing projects are implemented by IFC Advisory Services teams; global knowledge projects encompass both IFC and World Bank expertise.
With strong development partner support, FIAS is stepping up its mission of sustaining economic growth, increasing productivity, creating jobs, and lifting incomes in developing countries through an integrated suite of financial and advisory services. The focus remains on expanding market opportunities and enabling private initiative across the developing world, particularly for the most vulnerable people. FIAS is building on three decades of experience helping developing client countries create and enhance the climate for investment, promoting trade, and fostering increasingly competitive industries. FIAS supports projects that deliver a wide array of advisory and technical services to clients and leverage all the World Bank Group’s key tools and instruments, enabling FIAS to enhance its private sector development focus.
Creating Markets Upstream
The IFC Upstream strategy shifts IFC’s investment approach from search-and-wait mode to an activist posture geared toward creating investment opportunities where they did not previously exist. This ambitious strategy seeks to stimulate investment activity to address complex development challenges. Upstream is an approach, not a single activity type. The aim is to make IFC the catalyst for billions of dollars of new private investment that generates jobs and opportunities. The initiative focuses on attracting investment in low-income and fragile countries—longstanding priority areas for FIAS. IFC Advisory Services, including those supported by FIAS, will be increasingly geared toward supporting the Upstream strategy in initiatives labeled Creating Markets Advisory.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, rising public debt, political uncertainty, trade tensions, and lower-than-expected growth in the major economies combined to flatten the growth curve of developing countries that experienced a decade of economic expansion since the global economic crisis of 2008. The pandemic threatens to erode individual living standards for years to come and reverse a decades-long trend of declining extreme poverty. Sub-Saharan Africa, a FIAS priority area, faces the sharpest contraction due to travel restrictions, border closures, national lockdowns, and collapsing commodity prices, along with a comparatively weak health care system and limited capacity to implement social distancing. The World Bank Group projects that COVID-19 could push 71 million people below the international poverty line of $1.90 per day, bringing the total of extreme poor worldwide to nearly 700 million.
These circumstances make the advisory work supported by FIAS in more than 80 developing countries all the more relevant. FIAS supports work in all six World Bank group regions with a focus on IDA, in Sub-Saharan Africa, and FCV countries. FIAS-supported projects are designed to align with other interventions by the World Bank Group, such as Development Policy Operations and IFC investments. The work continues thanks to the continued strong support of our Development Partners.