EY has released its long awaited attractiveness survey for 2014, providing a key source of insight into levels of foreign direct investment (FDI).
In Africa, where a common perception is of it being an emerging market, the stats always make for interesting reading and this year is no different.
EY bases its findings on a two-step methodology which takes into account both the reality and perception of FDI in a respective country or region, before producing findings based on the insight of a representative panel of international and local opinion leaders and decision makers.
In this Top 10, we begin with the basics and count down the countries which saw the most FDI projects in 2013.
Uganda is one of only two new entrants to enter the top 10 list, hosting 21 FDI projects on its shores in 2013, compared to 17 a year previously.
The country is seen as one of the emerging hotspots for foreign investment, and is one of a cluster of countries to grow at a CAGR of more than 20 percent since 2007.
Tanzania is another one included in this cluster despite it losing ground on its 2012 figures, with a 25 percent decrease in FDI projects.
The 24 which did take place in 2013 is still more than enough to keep the country in the upper echelons of the global business community’s thoughts.
Zambia is the leading newcomer in the latest list, beating Uganda to the coveted accolade virtue of its 31.6 percent increase in projects in just one year.
Countries such as Zambia have been pinpointed as key reasons behind the general rise of FDI projects on the continent, labelled as an emerging high-growth economy.
Mozambique is mentioned in this very same breath, having become a more permanent fixture on investors’ radars in recent years.
The country’s rapid growth in the sector is epitomised by its rise from just four projects per year, on average, between 2003 and 2007, to 33 in 2013; a 32 percent increase even on 2012.
Morocco saw the largest year-on-year percentage drop between 2012 and 2013; a fall from grace which also sees the country descend four places in the countdown from its runner-up position two years ago.
Morocco’s slide is indicative of a general North African FDI trend which saw Tunisia fall out of the top 10 entirely in 2013.
Another of North Africa’s fallen giants, Egypt’s near 27 percent decrease in FDI projects in 2013 saw the country return to levels even less than were seen on average between 2003 and 2007.
Political and social unrest has largely been attributed as the reason behind waning FDI interest in the north of the continent, but there are signs that a resurgence may be on the cards over the next one or two years.
Claiming the prize of the highest percentage increase between 2012 and 2013 on the list, Ghana’s leap from 39 to 58 projects in the space of a year is one of the continent’s success stories.
Contrary to North Africa’s fortunes, West Africa is now perceived as arguably the most prosperous area of the continent now, and complimenting number three on this list, Ghana is thriving as an economy off the back of its abundance of natural resources and its stable democracy.
Topping Ghana in the West African stakes is unsurprisingly the only country to now challenge South Africa as the continent’s leading economy.
Nigeria maintained its spot in the top three of the list despite a minor decrease in FDI projects taking place in 2013. The country’s size alone ensures that it will remain an attractive proposition for investors over the coming years.
Splitting the continent’s two biggest economies, Kenya flies the flag for East Africa in taking runner-up spot in 2013’s list of FDI projects.
As a regional hub, the country’s success is perhaps not surprising, and it is precisely for that reason that analysts believe Kenya is such an attractive proposition for investors. With only Tanzania in the vicinity in that region of Africa, East Africa has become largely reliant on Kenya’s influence, especially in attracting interest from other African countries.
1. South Africa
At the top of the 2013 FDI project numbers countdown is South Africa, still widely regarded as the continent’s most influential economy and still seen as a gateway to Africa in general.
As a consequence, the country’s lead over the rest of the top 10 is actually increasing as trends fluctuate between the North and West of the continent year on year.
Consistency in South Africa’s appeal to foreign investors also traditionally makes the country a first port of call for investors looking to enter an African market, despite the growing successes of those seen elsewhere on the list.
Not only did South Africa’s 142 FDI projects prove far superior to the rest of the African contingent – second placed Kenya saw 68 projects in 2013 – but Africa’s leading investment prospect is also outperforming countries such as India, Brazil, Russia and China in terms of global FDI inflow growth.