The United Nations’ ‘World Investment Report’ has revealed that foreign direct investment in Nigeria has dropped by 43 per cent to $2bn.
That was desire the rise in foreign investment in sub-Saharan Africa by 13 per cent in 2018 to $32bn, negating a global downward trend and reversing two years of decline.
With Nigeria out of the top spots, it leaves Ghana, which is in the midst of an oil and gas boom and saw inflows of $3bn, as West Africa’s leading destination for foreign investment. Italy’s Eni Group was behind Ghana’s largest greenfield investment project.
According to the report, the development of new mining and oil projects, a new US development-finance institution and the ratification of an agreement to create a continent-wide free-trade area could further boost foreign direct investment in 2019.
It noted that some African countries fared better than others, such as the Southern Africa region, which took in FDI of nearly $4.2bn, up from $925m in 2017. Particularly in South Africa, foreign investment has more than doubled to $5.3bn.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, who took office last year pledging to revive the economy, is seeking to attract $100bn in FDI to Africa’s most developed economy by 2023.
Though much of the South African jump came from intracompany loans, new investments included a $750m Beijing Automotive Group plant and a $186m wind farm being built by the Irish company Mainstream Renewable Energy.
In East Africa, Ethiopia remained the leading op recipient of FDI at $3.3bn, despite an 18 per cent drop compared with the year before.
Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania all saw increases in FDI inflows. Foreign investment in Uganda jumped 67 per cent to a record $1.3bn, boosted by the oil and gas development of a consortium that includes France’s Total, CNOOC of China and London-listed Tullow Oil.
The creation of the US International Development Finance Corporation could help support FDI inflows this year. A replacement for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, it will be have a budget of $60bn and a mandate to make equity investments.
“The ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement could also have a positive effect on FDI, especially in the manufacturing and services sectors,” the report said.
Recall that many investors were put off by a dispute between the government and South African telecom giant MTN over repatriated profits, leading the closure of Banks HSBC and UBS in 2018.