by: Frank Sader
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During the early 1990s, the Foreign Investment Advisory Service
(FIAS), a joint facility of the World Bank and the International
Finance Corporation (IFC), found that governments and foreign investors
alike were concerned and frustrated about difficulties in successfully
implementing private infrastructure projects. Governments were trying
to attract these new types of investment without having established an
appropriate policy framework. Therefore, there were no institutional
structures to resolve impediments effectively and provide clear
guidelines for the award of such large-scale projects. Legal frameworks
tended to address traditional public-sector responsibilities and not
investor concerns. Regulatory environments either did not exist or did
not provide investors enough guarantees that their future operating
environment would be sufficiently reliable.
Consequently, FIAS has been advising many governments in the
developing world on the best way to establish a policy framework
attractive to foreign investors. FIAS typically combines its review of
the institutional, legal and regulatory environment with investor
roundtables and workshops for senior government officials to ensure
that all the major concerns of both the government and the private
sector are taken into account. Although each country has unique policy
problems, FIAS has encountered common features in key areas that pose
stumbling blocks for private infrastructure investments. This study
synthesizes this experience and derives lessons for facilitating and
encouraging foreign direct investment in infrastructure.
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