Business Diplomacy: Leverage the diplomatic network of ACP countries to promote sustainable investments

5-7 MARCH 2024, UN House, Brussels, Belgium – Over 30 diplomats from French-speaking ACP countries actively participated in the French edition of the 3-day Business Diplomacy Training organized by UNIDO and the Secretariat of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). Acknowledging the potential of business diplomacy for the economic development of countries from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific (ACP), the Training was designed with the goal to further enhance the business diplomacy functions of ACP Embassies and their technical personnel.

The 79 member states of the OACPS are facing significant challenges due to the triple crisis of food security, energy, and financial market performance, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Given investments are essential to overcome these, almost every ACP country has at least one dedicated national-level investment promotion agency (IPA) mandated to attract and facilitate inward investments. However, recent empirical evidence collected by UNIDO and the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) from IPAs in the ACP region highlighted that most of the agencies struggle with challenges in targeting efforts, confronted with costly global investment attraction activities and a marginal overseas presence under their direct control.

Hence, the diplomatic network of ACP countries, as a permanent presence in strategic market locations abroad, can significantly enhance the impact of IPAs’ efforts in attracting and facilitating foreign direct investment (FDI) aligned with the SDGs, amplify an IPA’s outreach in foreign markets, and generate leads in a cost-efficient and effective way.

The objective of the Business Diplomacy Training was to equip the technical staff of ACP Embassies with the knowledge and tools to fully harness the potential of business diplomacy in fostering sustainable investments and economic growth. In particular, it aimed to achieve an understanding of the key drivers and pitfalls of business diplomacy, investor targeting and attraction, effective communication and image building strategies, the potential of institutional (between diplomats and national IPAs), diaspora and regional cooperation in FDI promotion, as well as new topics such as impact investing and supply chain strategies.

After opening remarks given by Mr. Anthony Brand, MSME Expert, Department of Sustainable Economic Transformation and Trade of the OACPS, H.E. Mr. Thérence Ntahiraja, Ambassador of Burundi, Ms Cécile Billaux, Head of Unit E2 (Trade, Investment Climate, Entrepreneurship and Value Chains), DG INTPA, European Commission, and Mr Christophe Yvetot, UNIDO Representative, Liaison Office to the European Union, diplomats from 24 ACP countries actively participated in the training conducted by Mr. Aleksandar Medjedovic, UNIDO Senior Business Diplomacy Expert. The three days were punctuated by group exercises, concrete case studies presented by an esteemed lineup of external speakers and networking opportunities.

This French edition of the ACP Business Diplomacy Training is the second one of its kind, after a first training held in English from 22-24 January 2024.


The ACP Business Diplomacy Trainings are part of the broader “ACP Business-friendly: Supporting value chains through inclusive policies, investment promotion and alliances” Programme, funded by the European Union and the OACPS. Through this project, UNIDO is providing extensive capacity building and technical advisory support in matters related to investment facilitation and promotion to investment promotion agencies and institutions in countries in the ACP region, underpinned by the implementation of the UNIDO investment promotion toolkit, including digital tools such as the Invest-in-ACP Platform.