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Africa’s share of FDI ‘increases’

Africa’s share of global foreign direct investment (FDI) has grown over the past five years, highlighting the growing interest from foreign investors, according to international accounting firm Ernst & Young’s third Africa Attractiveness Survey, released on Monday.

The continent’s global share of FDI has also grown from 3.2% in 2007 to 5.6% in 2012, the survey shows.

The report combines an analysis of international investment into Africa over the past five years with a 2013 survey of over 500 global business leaders about their views on the potential of the African market.

The latest data shows that despite a fall in project numbers from 867 in 2011 to 764 in 2012 – in line with the global trend – project numbers are still significantly higher than anything that preceded the peak of 2008.

Commenting on the rise in the continent’s share of FDI, Mark Otty, Ernst & Young’s EMEIA Managing Partner, said “A process of democratisation that has taken root across much of the continent; ongoing improvements to the business environment; exponential growth in trade and investment and substantial improvements in the quality of human life have provided a platform for the economic growth that a large number of African economies have experienced over the past decade.”

Despite the impact of the ongoing global economic situation, the size of the African economy has more than tripled since 2000.

The outlook also appears positive, with the region as a whole expected to grow by 4% for 2013 and 4.6% for 2014.

A number of African economies are predicted to remain among the fastest growing in the world for the foreseeable future.

According to the survey, eighty-six percent of those with an established presence on the continent believe that Africa’s attractiveness as a place to do business will continue to improve. Those surveyed rank Africa as the second most attractive regional investment destination in the world after Asia.

Meanwhile, although FDI projects from the UK grew (by 9% year-on-year), those from the US and France – the other two leading developed market investors in Africa – were considerably down.

In contrast investments from emerging markets into Africa grew again in 2012, continuing the trend over the past three years.

In the period since 2007, the rate of FDI projects from emerging markets into Africa has grown at a healthy compound rate of over 21%. In comparison investment from developed markets has grown at only 8%.

The top contributors from the emerging markets are India (237), South Africa (235), the UAE (210), China (152), Kenya (113), Nigeria (78), Saudi Arabia (56) and South Korea (57) all among the top 20 investors over that period.

Intra-African investment has been particularly impressive during the same period, growing at 33% compound rate.

South Africa has been at the forefront of growth in intra-African trade and broader emerging market investment.

Kenya and Nigeria have also invested heavily but it is expected that others such as Angola, for example, with a US$5 billion sovereign wealth fund, will become increasingly prominent investors across the continent over the next few years.

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