The provincial government is pouring $75 million into an Investment and Growth Strategy (IGS), intended to promote economic diversification as part of its recovery plan during the pandemic.
Aside from promoting emerging sectors like technology, the IGS is intended to build on “existing strengths,” including energy, tourism and agriculture.
“The Investment and Growth Strategy will build on these sectors by attracting investment from outside Alberta, having an aggressive approach in pursuing investors in key markets,” said Justin Brattinga, Ministry of Jobs press secretary.
“These strategies will market the sectors to investors around the world, and will be unveiled through the fall and into the winter months.
“They will market Alberta’s advantages in our tax base and high standard of living, as well as providing infrastructure and incentives for industries to grow.”
Brattinga said the IGS may create more jobs in energy and agriculture, possibly by ensuring agricultural products are processed in Alberta and energy products have new markets.
The provincial recovery plan states the government is focusing on communications in capital markets such as London, New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Toronto and Houston.
According to the plan, Alberta’s agri-food sector currently contributes $8.5 billion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provides employment for approximately 73,000 people.
“Alberta has thrived in key areas like energy tourism and agriculture, and we have to keep focus on those fundamental areas while developing technology and other sectors to properly diversify our economy,” said John Liston, Alberta Enterprise Group president.
Of the $75 million budget over the next three years, $6 million will go annually to support the operations of the new Invest Alberta Corporation.
The remainder will support “investment attraction efforts,” including an international office network, Brattinga said.
The Alberta government created the Invest Alberta Corporation this summer to engage investors nationally and internationally, according to the province.
According to the provincial government, the IGS builds on Alberta’s recovery plan to diversify the economy, unveiled in June.
According to the plan, immediate relief and supports during the pandemic included $20 million for masks and $170 million for emergency isolation payments and shelters.
The plan goes on to lay out intentions for an Innovation Employment Grant to companies investing in research and development in new industries.
The grant program will target smaller companies, according to the plan.
The plan further highlights funding of $10 billion toward infrastructure projects throughout the province, creating 50,000 jobs.
Funding was provided through the Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program, Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership and other programs.
Additionally, the provincial government invested $1.5 billion into the Keystone XL pipeline, with ground broken last spring and a projected completion in the spring of 2023.
According to the plan, private sector forecasts indicate oil-and-gas prices will rise to $60 per barrel after the pandemic and supply shortages will increase prices in 2023, so Alberta can profit from the Keystone XL pipeline.
Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News