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Foreign Direct Investment by African Countries

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Written by Sheila Page, Dirk Willem te Velde

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from developing countries has risen sharply over the past two decades. This has been noted by several authors since the early 1980s (Lall, 1983; Kumar, 1995; Page 1998; Aykut and Ratha, 2003, and UNCTAD, 2004). Most FDI has been by Asian firms establishing footholds in other Asian countries but there has also been investment in developed countries such as the EU. Total investment by developing countries began to rise from about 1% of total foreign investment flows in the late 1970s to 4% in the mid 1980s and 6% by 1990, and after a peak in the 1990s before the Asian crisis, has remained around 6-7% of the total. The rise coincided with the reduction in the large differential between developing and developed country growth found in the 1970s and with a reduction, in some cases a reversal, of relative protection in developed and developing countries (revival of protection in the developed countries; liberalisation in the developing). It also coincided with some reduction in the growth of outflows to developing countries, suggesting that the same influences were affecting flows in both directions. South-South flows are estimated (as a residual, and noting challenges regarding data and methodology) to have risen from 5% in 1994 to 30% in 2000 of the total FDI inflows to developing countries, see Aykut and Ratha (2003).
Sheila Page and Dirk Willem te Velde