The FDI report for 2020 and COVID-19 reflections

A closer look at the figures in our 2019  fDi  Report suggests that a rebalancing of global FDI was already happening. As much as Covid-19 accelerates the decline of legacy industries, it may well end up bolstering those that showed fresh dynamism in 2019.

Southern Africa: Foreign Direct Investment in South Africa increased by 10528 ZAR Billion in the fourth quarter of 2019.  Foreign Direct Investment in Botswana increased by 430.04 BWP Million in the third quarter of 2019. Foreign Direct Investment in Angola increased by 6245.65 USD Million in 2019. After reaching USD 1.1 billion in 2017, FDI flows in Zambia significantly decreased to USD 569 million in 2018. According to UNCTAD’s 2019 World Investment Report, total FDI stock is estimated at nearly USD 20.4 billion, equal to 81.2% of the country’s GDP.

West Africa: Nigeria’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) registered a growth equal to 0.4 % of the country’s Nominal GDP in Dec 2019, compared with a growth equal to 0.4 % in the previous quarter. According to the UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2019, FDI flows in Ghana decreased from 3.2 million to USD 2.9 million between 2017 and 2018. The FDI stock reached USD 36 million in 2018 and stood at the 55.4% of GDP. Mining and oil exploration are the main sectors that attract most of the FDI.

East Africa : According to the figures from UNCTAD’s 2019 World Investment Report, in 2018 the FDI influx to Kenya raised significantly to USD 1.6 billion (from USD 1.2 billion in 2017). Foreign Direct Investment in Rwanda increased by 305.50 USD Million in 2018. Although FDI stocks have increased in recent years due to Rwanda’s political stability and measures focused on improving the business climate, FDI flows still remain rather weak, at USD 356 million in 2017 and USD 398 million in 2018 (UNCTAD 2019 World Investment Report). Uganda is one of the countries that attract the most FDI in East Africa. FDI flows to Uganda accounted for USD 1.3 billion in 2018, an increase from USD 803 million in 2017. FDI stock also grew to USD 13.333 billion in 2018 (estimated at 47.4% of the GDP) (UNCTAD’S 2019 World Investment Report).

In 2019, greenfield FDI remained stationary with the number of FDI projects reaching 15,558, compared to the 15,561 recorded in 2018. Capital investment declined 15% to $795.7bn, but remained above the 2017 total of $651.1bn. Job creation declined 5% to 2.2 million.

The US replaced China as the highest ranked country for inward FDI by capital investment, with $92.2bn recorded. The US was also the highest ranked country for FDI by number of projects, recording 1832, compared with the UK’s 1271 and China’s 771. Western Europe was the leading destination region for FDI in 2019 by number of projects with 4789 announcements. Asia Pacific received the largest amount of capital investment in 2019, with $255.9bn-worth of FDI recorded. Western Europe was the leading source region for FDI in 2019, with 7210 FDI projects recorded. This accounted for 46% of all FDI globally and $300.5bn in capital investment.

Key trends in 2019 include:

  • FDI into Africa by number of projects grew 49% to 998, compared with a 12% increase between 2017 and 2018.
  • Despite a 9% decline in the number of FDI projects into India in 2019, figures remain above the 2017 level of 642 projects, with 655 projects recorded in 2019.
  • The UK was the top destination for FDI in Europe, with a total of 1271 projects in 2019, an overall market share of 20% and a 1% decrease on the number of projects in 2018. Capital investment declined to $32.3bn.
  • The number of FDI projects from China into the US declined by 51% and capital investment dropped 58.3% to $2.62bn.

The  fDi  Report brings to light those trends that were already changing the landscape of global FDI. As Dr Henry Loewendahl, a creator of the  fDi  database in its original inception, argues,  investment promotion agencies and economic development organisations must focus on their existing investors and do all they can to retain their investment to weather the storm in the short term. In the long term, they will have to start over from these trends to shape up a much-needed new FDI agenda for their communities and, eventually, for the whole global economy.

Miyelani Mkhabela is a Director and Transaction Advisory Support head for Infrastructure and Industrial Development at Antswisa  Transaction Advisory Services, contactable at :  and visit our services and industries pages: