Today, barriers exist for investors seeking to develop and scale projects in emerging markets. These barriers are the result of high-risk investment environments, investment gaps as well as a lack of strategic and financial infrastructure. While a number of factors hold back investment inflows in developing and middle-income countries, the main challenge is for investors to find bankable and investment-ready projects.
This is why UNIDO developed the Computer Model for Feasibility Analysis and Reporting (COMFAR). COMFAR complements investment-profiling efforts and offer feasibility analysis support of large infrastructure or Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects through the blending finance mechanism to develop bankable projects.
Further, COMFAR facilitates short and long-term analysis of financial and economic consequences for industrial and non-industrial projects.
COMFAR is accompanied by manuals, teaching materials and interlinked software for project identification and preparation. COMFAR also offers specialized modules, for example on Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and on Environmental Management Accounting.
There are currently over 11,000 COMFAR users in 160 countries. In over 30 years of COMFAR development, two main development impacts were recorded: classic investment benefits, such as increased employment, technology spillovers/innovation and better environmental performance, and improved institutional capabilities to ensure the feasibility and economic benefits of investments in developing countries.
The latest version of the software, COMFAR III Expert permits the user to simulate the short- and long-term financial and economic situation of investment projects. The software facilitates the analysis of industrial as well as non-industrial projects, whether new investments, rehabilitations, expansions, joint venture or privatization projects.
The COMFAR program was started in 1981 and the first version of COMFAR I was launched in 1983. This version covered the analysis at the enterprise level, financial analysis as well as the analysis of industrial projects. However, COMFAR I had a number of limitations. It was only released in one language –English, had low temporal capacity (8 years construction,15 years production), low product analysis potential (only two products) and supported only one currency with the limitation of only two loans to be taken in one project document. The next generation of COMFAR, COMFAR II, was launched in 1986 with slightly enhanced features. It supported four different languages, two currencies and functionality for economic analysis. Both COMFAR I and COMFAR II supported the hardware and software environment of Apple II and IBM PC/XT respectively.
COMFAR III Suite was launched in 1995 and continues to be sold and used to this day. COMFAR III Expert offers a host of services like financial analysis, economic analysis both shadow pricing and national value-added methods, six types of projects (Industrial, Agriculture, Tourism, Mini, Infrastructure and Environment Accounting), Joint Venture Analysis, 19 Languages, long temporal capacity (10 years construction and 50 years production), 20 Products in a project, 20 currencies.
Today, the COMFAR III Suite includes three products –COMFAR III Expert, COMFAR III Mini Expert (a version without economic analysis) and COMFAR III Business Planner (Micro Level Business Plans). Currently COMFAR III expert has around 11,000 users.
COMFAR 4 is currently in development and will provide a cloud based service with many additional features.