The World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA)’s 27th annual flagship event, the World Investment Conference (WIC), will take place in New Delhi, India, from December 11-14, 2023. One of the largest global investment conferences, WIC witnesses a gathering of multilateral organizations, business leaders, and over 100 IPAs from across the world to discuss the economic and social issues that may affect global investment flows.
After 30 years at Intel as a global business and technology leader, Ms. Nivruti Rai recently took the helm of Invest India, the National Investment Facilitation and Promotion Agency (IPA) of the Government of India. We recently had an opportunity to interview Ms. Rai about Invest India and the upcoming conference:
What exactly is the mission of Invest India and how does your role contribute to it?
Invest India is the advisor, guide, and facilitator to every investor, trading and R&D partner looking to engage with India. As India’s national Investment Promotion Agency, our role involves guiding and assisting both domestic and global investors, strategic planning and execution of policies and initiatives that foster investment, streamline business processes, and support investors throughout their business lifecycle. In my role as the MD and CEO, I focus on three key areas: facilitating investments, facilitating trade growth, and identifying and enabling research and development collaborations.
How does Invest India help international investors interested in the Indian market?
Invest India acts as the first point of contact for potential investors. We offer sector-specific insights, incentives provided by central and state levels, identifying ecosystem and partnership opportunities, and help with receiving regulatory approvals and clearances. Our team facilitates meetings with relevant stakeholders to ensure a seamless investment journey. We do not follow a one-size-fits-all approach while dealing with the investors, as each investor is unique.
Through our various initiatives, we have a presence in 99% of the geographical territory of India. Additionally, we also work closely with over 130 global partners, including WAIPA, Multilateral Agencies, MoU Partners, Foreign & Indian Missions, Global Chambers, and Industry Associations. Since our inception, we have secured over $200 billion in indicated investment in facilitation and over $33 billion in actual investment in facilitation.
We have established a system where each investor is assigned a dedicated SPOC, who will work closely with sector and state teams of the organization to ensure there is no delay. Similarly, our initiative, the National Single Window System (NSWS), acts as a one-stop digital platform for all investor approvals and offers a GIS-enabled repository of industrial-grade land available for investors. Similarly, our initiative, India Investment Grid (IIG), showcases opportunities from all states and sectors. Our Project Monitoring Group expedites the resolution of bottlenecks in infrastructure projects above $60 million. Invest India is also the execution agency for the Government of India’s Startup India initiatives.
What future initiatives or projects can we expect from Invest India?
Apart from working on the existing sectors, we are expanding our focus on the promotion of trade and investments in sunrise sectors like critical and emerging technologies, electric vehicles, renewable energy, artificial intelligence, etc. We remain focused on the work of enhancing the ease of doing business.
We are convinced that India has the wherewithal to realize its economic vision, and we want to ensure that anyone looking for investment, trade and R&D collaboration opportunities in any sector should at least consider India.
What message would you like to share with potential investors considering India as their investment destination?
India offers the ideal blend of innovation, talent, financial, and renewable resources. The Government of India, under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is committed to creating a conducive environment for investors. With a young workforce, strong consumer base, and supportive policies, India is poised for significant economic growth. We at Invest India are here to ensure your journey in this vibrant economy is smooth and successful.
On the back of solid policy reforms and macroeconomic stability, India’s growth has been constant. We currently have over $3 trillion in GDP, ambitiously aiming to have $5 trillion in GDP by 2025.
To promote Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), our Government has put in place an investor-friendly policy wherein most activities, including MSMEs, except certain strategically important sectors, are open for 100 per cent FDI under the automatic route, subject to sectoral laws. The country is focusing on strengthening the manufacturing sector with the goal of manufacturing in India for the world. Initiatives like Start-up India, Make in India, and production-linked Incentives schemes for 14 critical sectors have given impetus to domestic manufacturing. These schemes not only created domestic champions but also attracted global companies like Apple to manufacture in India. As per the reports, the iPhone 17 will be manufactured in India. Same is the case with pharma and drug manufacturing, research and other sectors.
The Government has consistently shown its intent to streamline the process and make it more business friendly. In the Ease of Doing index, India has jumped 79 positions over 5 years, and has been in the top 3 improvers list consecutively for 3 years.
The 27th World Investment Conference by WAIPA is upcoming in New Delhi. Why should global investors consider attending?
WAIPA is the nodal agency for over 130 Investment Promotion Agencies representing around 110 countries in the world. The organization represents around 56% of the World Geography, 50% of World FDI and 70% of world data. The World Investment Conference is a unique annual gathering that brings together investment promotion agencies, multilateral agencies, policymakers, investors, start-ups, and business leaders from across the globe. It’s an important platform for investors who are looking to explore and understand the diverse and dynamic investment landscape in India and other participating countries.
This year, over 60 IPAs from G20 and other countries are participating to discuss the future strategy and showcase the opportunities and share the incentives being offered by the governments for investors.
What makes this conference a can’t-miss event for investors?
Our world is at a critical juncture of economic transformation. The conference will highlight this transformation, focusing on aspects of technology, manufacturing, and services. The conference will focus on six sectors this year: Energy & Infrastructure, ICT & Technology, Agri & Food Processing, Automotive and Machinery, Life Sciences and Tourism. Aside from dedicated sessions for pitching opportunities in these sectors, the conference will also offer insights into global policies, supply chain considerations and incentives, which is an essential consideration for global investors. For the first time, startups will be participating in the conference to pitch their work to investors for additional funding and scaling up.
Additionally, we are also looking forward to launching a pilot exhibit titled India Experience Centre, showcasing the best of India’s offerings across services, technology, and products.
Could you elaborate on the benefits for international investors, particularly at this conference?
The World Investment Conference essentially brings together some of the best in the world of investment on a single platform. Investors can interact with Investment Promotion Agencies of over 60 countries and senior members of leading multilaterals in one place. As for India, investors can avail a one-time opportunity to engage with India’s central and state departments and investment promotion agencies at both levels in one place.
Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with start-ups, high-level government officials, subject matter experts and business leaders, creating dialogues that can lead to potential partnerships. The conference will also shed light on India’s startup ecosystem, which is the third largest and one of the fastest growing in the world, and on the sustainable investing landscape, which is increasingly important.
How does Invest India plan to engage with participants at the conference?
Invest India will serve as a bridge between the government and the investor community. We will provide detailed information on the Indian market, offer one-on-one consultation sessions and one-on-one bilateral meetings with Indian States, and help facilitate connections with other stakeholders. Our aim is to ensure that every investor leaves with a clear roadmap for their investment strategy in India.
In light of the current global economic climate, what message do you have for investors who may be hesitant to explore new markets?
There has never been a better time in history to talk about investments and innovation leading economic recovery than today. The global economy is indeed facing challenges, but with challenges come opportunities. India presents a resilient and burgeoning market with a young demographic, a growing middle class, and a strong digital infrastructure. We welcome investors to come, see the opportunities for themselves, and leverage the potential for long-term growth.
Lastly, what do you think will be the key takeaways from the WAIPA conference this year?
I think it is of utmost importance to understand that the future seeks investments not only from countries and governments but from each one of us as stakeholders. Our collective future must be built on ideas of inclusivity, equality, and equity. Arduous times of climate change, natural calamities, and economic volatility must also be seen as an opportunity for redefining the very principles of investments. We need to aim for growth that does not only enrich our present but ensures the protection of our future. The World Investment Conference will provide ample opportunity to all our participants, ranging from government representatives, IPAs, investors, start-ups, and academicians, to discuss and forge new partnerships and ideas to design inclusive and sustainable economies of tomorrow.
One of the key takeaways will also be the understanding that India is not just a market to invest in; it’s a place to innovate, collaborate, and build. The WAIPA conference will demonstrate India’s commitment to building a supportive ecosystem for investors and will highlight the nation’s role as a key player in the global economy.
The theme for this year’s WIC is Empowering Investors: Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) Pioneering Future Growth. I believe every participant, especially investors, will leave with a heightened understanding of global markets, supply chains, and ecosystems and be empowered to embark on new investment journeys.