As a member of the World Bank Group, MIGA's mission is to promote foreign direct investment (FDI) into developing countries to help support economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve people's lives.
The development needs today are stark. Billions of people live without access to safe drinking water or sewage treatment. Children can't attend school because there's no electricity to light classrooms in some countries, and no roads to get to school in others. The list goes on. Developing country governments cannot shoulder the burden—financially or technically—of addressing these needs alone.
Foreign direct investors can play a critical role in reducing poverty, by building roads, for example, providing clean water and electricity, and above all, providing jobs. By taking on these tasks, the private sector can help economies grow and avert the need for governments to use funds better spent on acute social needs, while taking advantage of the opportunity to make profitable investments.
MIGA and FDI
Concerns about investment environments and perceptions of political risk often inhibit foreign direct investment, with the majority of flows going to just a handful of countries and leaving the world's poorest economies largely ignored. MIGA addresses these concerns by providing three key services: political risk insurance for foreign investments in developing countries, technical assistance to improve investment climates and promote investment opportunities in developing countries, and dispute mediation services, to remove possible obstacles to future investment.
MIGA's operational strategy plays to our foremost strength in the marketplace—attracting investors and private insurers into difficult operating environments. The agency's strategy focuses on specific areas where we can make the greatest difference:
Infrastructure development is an important priority for MIGA, given the estimated need for $230 billion a year solely for new investment to deal with the rapidly growing urban centers and underserved rural populations in developing countries.
Frontier markets—high-risk and/or low-income countries and markets—represent both a challenge and an opportunity for the agency. These markets typically have the most need and stand to benefit the most from foreign investment, but are not well served by the private market.
Investment into conflict-affected countries is another operational priority for the agency. While these countries tend to attract considerable donor goodwill once conflict ends, aid flows eventually start to decline, making private investment critical for reconstruction and growth. With many investors wary of potential risks, political risk insurance becomes essential to moving investments forward.
South-South investments (investments between developing countries) are contributing a greater proportion of FDI flows. But the private insurance market in these countries is not always sufficiently developed and national export credit agencies often lack the ability and capacity to offer political risk insurance.
MIGA offers comparative advantages in all of these areas—from our unique package of products and ability to restore the business community's confidence, to our ongoing collaboration with the public and private insurance market to increase the amount of insurance available to investors.
Our added value
Confidence, security, and credibility. MIGA gives private investors the confidence and comfort they need to make sustainable investments in developing countries. As part of the World Bank Group, and having as our shareholders both host countries and investor countries, MIGA brings security and credibility to an investment that is unmatched. Our presence in a potential investment can literally transform a "no-go" into a "go." We act as a potent deterrent against government actions that may adversely affect investments. And even if disputes do arise, our leverage with host governments frequently enables us to resolve differences to the mutual satisfaction of all parties.
Market leader. MIGA is a leader when it comes to assessing and managing political risks, developing new products and services, and finding innovative ways to meet client needs. But we don't stop there. We also provide expert advice to help countries attract and retain quality foreign investment, and a host of online services to make sure investors know about business opportunities in our developing member countries.
Complex deals. MIGA can be the difference between make or break, by providing that all-critical lynchpin that enables a complex transaction to go ahead. MIGA offers innovative coverage of the nontraditional sub-sovereign risks that often accompany water and other infrastructure projects. We can also cover interest rate hedging instruments, as we did for a power project in Vietnam, as well as provide capital markets guarantees, which we recently did for residential mortgage-backed securities in Latvia.
PRI market. MIGA complements the activities of other investment insurers and works with partners through its coinsurance and reinsurance programs. By doing so, we are able to expand the capacity of the political risk insurance industry to insure investments, as well as to encourage private sector insurers into transactions they would not have otherwise undertaken.
Our development impact and priorities
Since its inception in 1988, MIGA has issued nearly 900 guarantees worth more than $17.4 billion for projects in 96 developing countries. MIGA is committed to promoting socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable projects that are above all, developmentally responsible. They have widespread benefits, for example, generating jobs and taxes, and transferring skills and know-how. Local communities often receive significant secondary benefits through improved infrastructure. Projects encourage similar local investments and spur the growth of local businesses. We ensure that projects are aligned with World Bank Group country assistance strategies, and integrate the best environmental, social, and governance practices into our work.
MIGA specializes in facilitating investments in high-risk, low-income countries—such as in Africa and conflict-affected areas. By partnering with the World Bank and others, MIGA is able to leverage finance for guarantee trust funds in these difficult or frontier markets. The agency also focuses on supporting complex infrastructure projects and promoting investments between developing countries.
MIGA's technical assistance services also play an integral role in catalyzing foreign direct investment by helping developing countries define and implement strategies to promote investment. MIGA develops and deploys tools and technologies to support the spread of information on investment opportunities. Thousands of users take advantage of our suite of online investment information services, which complement country-based capacity-building work.
The agency uses its legal services to further smooth possible impediments to investment. Through its dispute mediation program, MIGA helps governments and investors resolve their differences, and ultimately improve the country's investment climate.