EghtesadOnline: An entity established by Iran's private sector for attracting foreign investments mainly by identifying and introducing feasible projects has begun its work in earnest in recent months.
The Center of Investment and Consultancy Services (CIC) was established more than three years ago, but only started to produce tangible results in the final months of the last Iranian year that ended on March 20, 2018. It was conceived and founded by Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (TCCIM), a leading private sector entity.
"Over 2,000 pages of documents detailing feasibility studies have been gathered from various industries and provinces by the center and during initial reviews, dozens of projects have been processed based on the set criteria," CIC said in a written statement to Financial Tribune.
At present, the center's website has listed close to 150 projects approved across Iran in agriculture, infrastructure, oil and gas, mining, industry, health and tourism sectors, and is eying ventures related to renewable energies, water, insurance and stocks.
According to Ferial Mostofi, the head of CIC, the center takes feasibility studies and other criteria concerning its projects very seriously, as they must be able to attract foreign investors and bring money into Iran's economic cycle.
"The culture of investment has yet to become entrenched in the country, therefore we are also holding educational courses and seminars in Iran for those wishing to introduce their projects," the prominent businesswoman and senior TCCIMA member said.
For instance, the project for constructing a five-star hotel in the historical and touristic region of Alamut in the northwestern Qazvin Province is one of the successfully negotiated efforts of CIC. Spread over 2 hectares, the project's construction will take three years and create 110 and 160 direct and indirect jobs respectively.
The center notes that the project has undergone a feasibility study, secured the required land, obtained legal permits (for construction, foreign currency quota, environment, etc), set up infrastructural utilities (electricity, water, telecommunications, fuel, road, etc.), and defined the list of know-how, machinery, equipment and seller/builder companies.
These have helped the center sign partnership and finance agreements with foreign investors, CIC records show.
CIC Roadmap, Events
CIC's roadmap to realize its short- and long-term goals entails holding expert investment seminars on the local and international scale, preparing the groundwork to absorb investments, removing investment hurdles and boosting the know-how of executives and businesses concerning foreign investments.
According to the center's statement, there is "no limitations in establishing connections with local and international entities" and it currently has active agreements and memoranda of understanding with well-known companies, including but not limited to Roland Berger (global strategy consulting firm headquartered in Munich), the European House–Ambrosetti (Milan-based professional consulting group), Deloitte (UK-incorporated multinational professional services network), Ernst & Young (multinational professional services firm headquartered in London) and DLA Piper (London-based multinational law firm).
"At the local level, the center cooperates with the Organization for Investment, Economic and Technical Assistance of Iran [the nation's main negotiator of foreign finance and investment deals], provincial chambers of commerce and industrial parks, among others," CIC added.
The center has so far participated in a slew of seminar and conferences with the aim of attracting foreign investments to Iran. They include conferences organized by the London-based Frontier Exchange and London's Focus, the Horasis meeting in Liverpool, the annual Silk Road Conference in Chicago, a conference organized by Financial Times and a Deloitte-organized conference in Turkey about doing business in Iran.
An insurance summit held by Italy's SACE and an Iran-Italy economic seminar co-organized by Ambrosetti were two other events in which CIC participated.
The center also held several meetings, including one attended by Canada's Fraser Institute, a joint Iran-Oman meeting attended by the Arab country's finance minister, and an expert meeting with representatives of the Stuttgart-based engineering and electronics company, Bosch.
For the foreseeable future, the CIC pursues two local and international goals.
Within Iran, it aims to "identify the problems and obstacles of businesses having the potential to attract investments and find solutions" with the help of the state-owned investment organization and provincial chambers of commerce.
Beyond Iran's borders, the center will "identify potential investors interested in the Iranian market and invest in local projects" and promises to work as a provider of "strategic management" from the beginning until the end of the project.