World Investment Report 2014


Chapter 2 – Regional Trends In FDI

FDI to Africa increases, sustained by growing intra-African flows

FDI inflows to Africa rose by 4 per cent to $57 billion, driven by international and regional market-seeking and infrastructure investments. Expectations for sustained growth of an emerging middle class attracted FDI in consumer-oriented industries, including food, IT, tourism, finance and retail.

The overall increase was driven by the Eastern and Southern African subregions, as others saw falling investments. In Southern Africa flows almost doubled to $13 billion, mainly due to record-high flows to South Africa and Mozambique. In both countries, infrastructure was the main attraction, with investments in the gas sector in Mozambique also playing a role. In East Africa, FDI increased by 15 per cent to $6.2 billion as a result of rising flows to Ethiopia and Kenya. Kenya is becoming a favoured business hub, not only for oil and gas exploration but also for manufacturing and transport; Ethiopian industrial strategy may attract Asian capital to develop its manufacturing base. FDI flows to North Africa decreased by 7 per cent to $15 billion. Central and West Africa saw inflows decline to $8 billion and $14 billion, respectively, in part due to political and security uncertainties.

Intra-African investments are increasing, led by South African, Kenyan, and Nigerian TNCs. Between 2009 and 2013, the share of announced cross-border greenfield investment projects originating from within Africa increased to 18 per cent, from less than 10 per cent in the preceding period. For many smaller, often landlocked or non-oil-exporting countries in Africa, intraregional FDI is a significant source of foreign capital.

Increasing intra-African FDI is in line with leaders’ efforts towards deeper regional integration. However, for most subregional groupings, intra-group FDI represent only a small share of intra-African flows. Only in two regional economic cooperation (REC) initiatives does intra-group FDI make up a significant part of intraAfrican investments – in EAC (about half) and SADC (more than 90 per cent) – largely due to investments in neighbouring countries of the dominant outward investing economies in these RECs, South Africa and Kenya. RECs have thus so far been less effective for the promotion of intraregional investment than a wider African economic cooperation initiative could be.

Intra-African projects are concentrated in manufacturing and services. Only 3 per cent of the value of announced intraregional greenfield projects is in the extractive industries, compared with 24 per cent for extra-regional greenfield projects (during 2009-2013). Intraregional investment could contribute to the buildup of regional value chains. However, so far, African global value chain (GVC) participation is still mostly limited to downstream incorporation of raw materials in the exports of developed countries.

Developing Asia remains the number one investment destination

With total FDI inflows of $426 billion in 2013, developing Asia accounted for nearly 30 per cent of the global total and remained the world’s number one recipient region.

FDI inflows to East Asia rose by 2 per cent to $221 billion. The stable performance of the subregion was driven by rising FDI inflows to China as well as to the Republic of Korea and Taiwan Province of China. With inflows at $124 billion in 2013, China again ranked second in the world. In the meantime, FDI outflows from China swelled by 15 per cent, to $101 billion, driven by a number of megadeals in developed countries. The country’s outflows are expected to surpass its inflows within two to three years. Hong Kong (China) saw its inflows rising slightly to $77 billion. The economy has been highly successful in attracting regional headquarters of TNCs, the number of which reached nearly 1,400 in 2013.

Inflows to South-East Asia increased by 7 per cent to $125 billion, with Singapore – another regional headquarters economy – attracting half. The 10 Member States of ASEAN and its 6 FTA partners (Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand) have launched negotiations for the RCEP.

In 2013, combined FDI inflows to the 16 negotiating members of RCEP amounted to $343 billion, 24 per cent of world inflows. Over the last 15 years, proactive regional investment cooperation efforts in East and South-East Asia have contributed to a rise in total and intraregional FDI in the region. FDI flows from RCEP now makes up more than 40 per cent of inflows to ASEAN, compared to 17 per cent before 2000. Intraregional FDI in infrastructure and manufacturing in particular is bringing development opportunities for low-income countries, such as the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Myanmar.

Inflows to South Asia rose by 10 per cent to $36 billion in 2013. The largest recipient of FDI in the subregion, India, experienced a 17 per cent increase in FDI inflows to $28 billion. Defying the overall trend, investment in the retail sector did not increase, despite the opening up of multi-brand retail in 2012.

Corridors linking South Asia and East and South-East Asia are being established – the Bangladesh-ChinaIndia-Myanmar Economic Corridor and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. This will help enhance connectivity between Asian subregions and provide opportunities for regional economic cooperation. The initiatives are likely to accelerate infrastructure investment and improve the overall business climate in South Asia.

FDI flows to West Asia decreased in 2013 by 9 per cent to $44 billion, failing to recover for the fifth consecutive year. Persistent regional tensions and political uncertainties are holding back investors, although there are differences between countries. In Saudi Arabia and Qatar FDI flows continue to follow a downward trend; in other countries FDI is slowly recovering, although flows remain well below earlier levels, except in Kuwait and Iraq where they reached record levels in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

FDI outflows from West Asia jumped by 64 per cent in 2013, driven by rising flows from the GCC countries. A quadrupling of outflows from Qatar and a near tripling of flows from Kuwait explained most of the increase. Outward FDI could increase further given the high levels of GCC foreign exchange reserves.

Uneven growth of FDI in Latin America and the Caribbean

FDI flows to Latin America and the Caribbean reached $292 billion in 2013. Excluding offshore financial centres, they increased by 5 per cent to $182 billion. Whereas in previous years FDI was driven largely by South America, in 2013 flows to this subregion declined by 6 per cent to $133 billion, after three consecutive years of strong growth. Among the main recipient countries, Brazil saw a slight decline by 2 per cent, despite an 86 per cent increase in flows to the primary sector. FDI in Chile and Argentina declined by 29 per cent and 25 per cent to $20 billion and $9 billion, respectively, due to lower inflows in the mining sector. Flows to Peru also decreased, by 17 per cent to $10 billion. In contrast, FDI flows to Colombia increased by 8 per cent to $17 billion, largely due to cross-border M&As in the electricity and banking industries.

Flows to Central America and the Caribbean (excluding offshore financial centres) increased by 64 per cent to $49 billion, largely due to the $18 billion acquisition of the remaining shares in Grupo Modelo by Belgian brewer AB InBev − which more than doubled inflows to Mexico to $38 billion. Other increases were registered in Panama (61 per cent), Costa Rica (14 per cent), Guatemala and Nicaragua (5 per cent each).

FDI outflows from Latin America and the Caribbean (excluding offshore financial centres) declined by 31 per cent to $33 billion, because of stalled acquisitions abroad and a surge in loan repayments to parent companies by foreign affiliates of Brazilian and Chilean TNCs.

Looking ahead, new opportunities for foreign investors in the oil and gas industry, including shale gas in Argentina and sectoral reform in Mexico, could signal positive FDI prospects. In manufacturing, automotive TNCs are also pushing investment plans in Brazil and Mexico.

The growth potential of the automotive industry appears promising in both countries, with clear differences between the two in government policies and TNC responses. This is reflected in their respective levels and forms of GVC participation. In Mexico, automotive exports are higher, with greater downstream participation, and higher imported value added. Brazil’s producers, many of which are TNCs, serve primarily the local market. Although its exports are lower, they contain a higher share of value added produced domestically, including through local content and linkages.

FDI to transition economies at record levels, but prospects uncertain

FDI inflows to transition economies increased by 28 per cent to reach $108 billion in 2013. In South-East Europe, flows increased from $2.6 billion in 2012 to $3.7 billion in 2013, driven by the privatization of remaining State-owned enterprises in the services sector. In the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the 28 per cent rise in flows was due to the significant growth of FDI to the Russian Federation. Although developed countries were the main investors, developing-economy FDI has been on the rise. Prospects for FDI to transition economies are likely to be affected by uncertainties related to regional instability.

In 2013, outward FDI from the region jumped by 84 per cent, reaching a record $99 billion. As in past years, Russian TNCs accounted for the bulk of FDI projects. The value of cross-border M&A purchases by TNCs from the region rose more than six-fold, and announced greenfield investments rose by 87 per cent to $19 billion.

Over the past decade, transition economies have been the fastest-growing host and home region for FDI. EU countries have been the most important partners in this rapid FDI growth, both as investors and recipients. The EU has the largest share of inward FDI stock in the region, with more than two thirds of the total. In the CIS, most of their investment went to natural resources, consumer sectors, and other selected industries as they were liberalized or privatized. In South-East Europe, EU investments have also been driven by privatizations and by a combination of low production costs and the prospect of association with, or membership of the EU. In the same way, the bulk of outward FDI stock from transition economies, mainly from the Russian Federation, is in EU countries. Investors look for strategic assets in EU markets, including downstream activities in the energy industry and value added production activities in manufacturing.

Inflows to developed countries resume growth

After a sharp fall in 2012, inflows to developed economies recovered in 2013 to $566 billion, a 9 per cent increase. Inflows to the European Union were $246 billion (up 14 per cent), less than 30 per cent of their 2007 peak. Among the major economies, inflows to Germany – which had recorded an exceptionally low volume in 2012 – rebounded sharply, but France and the United Kingdom saw a steep decline. In many cases, large swings in intra-company loans were a significant contributing factor. Inflows to Italy and Spain rebounded sharply with the latter becoming the largest European recipient in 2013. Inflows to North America recovered to $250 billion, with the United States – the world’s largest recipient – recording a 17 per cent increase to $188 billion.

Outflows from developed countries were $857 billion in 2013 – virtually unchanged from a year earlier. A recovery in Europe and the continued expansion of investment from Japan were weighed down by a contraction of outflows from North America. Outflows from Europe increased by 10 per cent to $329 billion. Switzerland became Europe’s largest direct investor. Against the European trend, France, Germany and the United Kingdom registered a large decline in outward FDI. Outflows from North America shed another 10 per cent to $381 billion, partly because United States TNCs transferred funds from Europe, raised in local bond markets, back to the United States. Outflows from Japan grew for the third successive year, rising to $136 billion.

Both inflows and outflows remained at barely half the peak level seen in 2007. In terms of global share, developed countries accounted for 39 per cent of total inflows and 61 per cent of total outflows – both historically low levels.

Although the share of transatlantic FDI flows has declined in recent years, the EU and the United States are important investment partners – much more so than implied by the size of their economies or by volumes of bilateral trade. For the United States, 62 per cent of inward FDI stock is held by EU countries and 50 per cent of outward stock is located in the EU. For the EU, the United States accounts for one third of FDI flows into the region from non-EU countries.

FDI inflows to LDCs up, but LLDCs and SIDS down

FDI inflows to least developed countries (LDCs) rose to $28 billion, an increase of 14 per cent. While inflows to some larger host LDCs fell or stagnated, rising inflows were recorded elsewhere. A nearly $3 billion reduction in divestment in Angola contributed most, followed by gains in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Myanmar, the Sudan and Yemen. The share of inflows to LDCs in global inflows remains small at 2 per cent.

The number of announced greenfield investment projects in LDCs reached a record high, and in value terms they reached the highest level in three years. The services sector, driven by large-scale energy projects, contributed 70 per cent of the value of announced greenfield projects. External sources of finance constitute a major part of the funding behind a growing number of infrastructure projects in LDCs. However, a substantial portion of announced investments has so far not generated FDI inflows, which can be due to structured finance solutions that do not translate into FDI, long gestation periods spreading outlays over many years, or actual project delays or cancellations.

FDI flows to the landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) in 2013 fell by 11 per cent to $29.7 billion. The Asian group of LLDCs experienced the largest fall in FDI flows of nearly 50 per cent, mainly due to a decline in investment in Mongolia. Despite a mixed picture for African LLDCs, 8 of the 15 LLDC economies increased their FDI inflows, with Zambia attracting most at $1.8 billion.

FDI remains a relatively more important factor in capital formation and growth for LLDCs than developing countries as a whole. In developing economies the size of FDI flows relative to gross fixed capital formation has averaged 11 per cent over the past decade but in the LLDCs it has averaged almost twice this, at 21 per cent.

FDI inflows to the small island developing States (SIDS) declined by 16 per cent to $5.7 billion in 2013, putting an end to two years of recovery. Mineral extraction and downstream-related activities, business and finance, and tourism are the main target industries for FDI in SIDS. Tourism is attracting increasing interest by foreign investors, while manufacturing industries − such as apparel and processed fish − that used to be a non-negligible target for FDI, have been negatively affected by erosion of trade preferences.