Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) globally are focusing more heavily on the health sector as part of their investment promotion, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is according to the recent issue of UNCTAD’s IPA Observer – Investment Promotion and Facilitation Monitor titled, ‘Promoting Investment in Health Post-Pandemic: A Global Trend?’
A survey conducted by UNCTAD revealed that all 53 respondent IPAs were promoting investment in health in some way. However, among the 188 IPAs that had their online activities reviewed, only half of them featured the health sector as a priority for investment.
The report further indicated that IPA’s health investment promotion usually comprised a range of subsectors including manufacturing of medical devices, digital health, medical tourism, biotechnology and the production of personal protective equipment.
It was also noted that IPAs in developing countries were more likely to highlight their needs for health infrastructure and medical services as drivers for growth, while IPAs in developed countries highlighted as part of their value proposition, the impact of digitisation in opening new market segments in the health sector.
To attract investment in the sector, IPAs often provide fiscal, financial and other types of incentives such as tax reductions, exemptions, government loans, private-public partnerships or increase FDI investment caps for hospital construction and insurance sectors.
The report further stated that IPAs will need to identify, prioritise and promote investment projects in health, facilitate multi-stakeholder investment partnerships and engage in policy advocacy to strengthen the enabling environment for investment in health.
As part of Barbados’ suite of invest opportunities prior to COVID-19, the jurisdiction’s IPA – Invest Barbados, has promoted and continues to promote the health subsectors of medical tourism, medical schools, pharmaceuticals, medicinal cannabis and niche manufacturing of medical supplies and optical devices.