End Of Commodity ‘Super-Cycle’ Cut FDI Flow To Africa By 31% In 2015 – UNCTAD

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Written by Kevin Mwanza

Foreign direct investments (FDI) to Africa dropped last year, reflecting the plummeting prices of the region’s principal commodities exports, according to a new report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released last week.

The Global Investment Trend Monitor report showed that while FDI inflows to other regions was on the rise, that of Africa fell by 31 percent in 2015 to an estimated $38 billion, due largely due to a decline of FDI in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Central Africa and Southern Africa saw the largest declines in FDI,” UNCTAD said. “The end of the commodity ‘super-cycle’ had an impact on resource-seeking FDI.”

Flows to North African countries reversed their downwards trend as Egypt saw a rebound of investment from US$4.3 billion in 2014 to an estimated US$6.7 billion in 2015.

FDI into South Africa, the continent’s second largest economy and the most industrialized, plunged 74 percent to $1.5 billion, while Nigeria — Africa’s largest economy and leading oil producer — saw its flows decline by 27 percent to an estimated $3.4 billion after it was “hit hard” by the drop in oil prices.

Flows into Mozambique were down 21 percent but still notable at an estimated US$3.8 billion.

UNCTAD said it expected the decline in FDI into Africa to continue this year due to a slowdown in the Chinese economy, the continent’s largest commodities buyer.

“Barring another wave of M&A deals and corporate reconfigurations, FDI flows are expected to decline in 2016, reflecting the fragility of the global economy, volatility of global financial markets, weak aggregate demand and a significant deceleration in some large emerging market economies. Elevated geopolitical risks and regional tensions could further amplify these economic challenges,” UNCTAD said.