The Delegates Programme is operational in all UNIDO ITPO offices and represents an essential tool supporting promotional activities. Not only did it prove to be an efficient means of obtaining the support of local Institutions, but it also helped to promote bilateral cooperation between Developing Countries and Italy, and at times, even South-South collaboration, as Delegates from several developing countries can meet, interact, learn from each other, and collaborate at ITPO Italy in Rome.
Thus the Delegates form a link between the economic system of their home country and Italy. They assist Italian companies and those from their own countries in the development of collaboration agreements through the promotion of Investment opportunities and by facilitating the search for potential partners.
Coming from public institutions, banks, or the industrial associations of developing countries, the Delegates are posted usually for short-term periods, varying from 1 to 3 or more months, at UNIDO ITPO Italy. They bring from their home countries, and present to Italian companies, a portfolio of selected investment opportunities. In this way, they help disseminate information about their respective countries, bringing to the attention of Italian entrepreneurs and investors the opportunities available in their countries. They inform potential Italian investors/partners about legal and economic conditions and rules and regulations in their countries. Delegates, together with UNIDO ITPO Italy staff, also assist, free of charge, any Italian companies that may be involved in following-up on any investment or technology partnership in the country involved. They may also sometimes organize meetings and accompany Italian firms in visits to their countries. They serve as interpreters and with ITPO staff, sometimes act as “honest brokers”.
The Delegates Programme is relevant in terms of Investment Promotion (Delegates must come with a portfolio of projects), Capacity Building (delegates become familiar with ITPO procedures and UNIDO methodology, and learn about the Italian working environment), and transfer of knowledge, as Delegates return home with prized new knowledge and experience for use in their home countries.
After their experience at the ITPO, Delegates return to their home countries, creating an international network of human resources and important contacts for UNIDO ITPO Italy and Italian industries. And good partnership/investment, or commercial opportunities can arise from these efforts. Their improved knowledge also becomes a resource to their own institutions and for SMEs that they assist.
Fifty-three Delegates worked with UNIDO ITPO Italy between 1989 and 2011. They came from Latin America, the Far East, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. During 2011, ITPO Italy hosted representatives from the Senegal, Mozambique and Morocco.