Global FDI Trends in 2023

Africa and Nigeria Experience Varied FDI Trends Amid Global Decline

In 2023, Africa experienced a mixed landscape in foreign direct investment (FDI), according to the World Investment Report 2024 by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The continent saw a 3% decline in FDI inflows, amounting to $53 billion, amid a slight global decrease in FDI.

Despite the overall decline, Africa witnessed a 7% increase in greenfield projects, with over 800 new initiatives announced, potentially creating 200,000 jobs. Nigeria, a significant player in the region, saw its FDI rise to $1.87 billion in 2023, up from $895 million in 2022, although still below the $3.3 billion recorded in previous years.

Nigeria’s Renewable Energy Initiatives

Nigeria’s government focused on attracting greenfield investments, particularly in renewable energy. New fiscal and non-fiscal incentives were introduced, aligning with similar efforts in countries like Italy and South Africa. Notable projects included a $34 billion green hydrogen initiative in Mauritania and green ammonia and hydrogen projects in Egypt worth $10.8 billion. Additionally, South Africa announced green hydrogen projects totaling $7.1 billion, while Morocco drew significant investments in the same sector.

Regional Trends and Challenges

While the value of announced greenfield projects in Africa fell to $175 billion from $196 billion in 2022, significant increases were observed in specific sectors. The chemical industry saw project values rise to $13 billion, and electronics reached $7.6 billion. Conversely, electricity and gas supply projects experienced a $33 billion decline, contributing to the overall reduction in greenfield values.

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) Investment Protocol, adopted in 2023, is anticipated to boost intraregional FDI. The protocol’s impact is already visible, with 20% of projects in services and selected manufacturing industries originating from African investors, compared to 13% in resource-based processing industries.

Global FDI Context

Globally, FDI decreased by 2% to $1.3 trillion in 2023, influenced by significant fluctuations in financial flows through European conduit economies. Excluding these conduits, global FDI flows were more than 10% lower than in 2022. International project finance and cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&As) were notably weak, with M&A values dropping by 46% and project finance declining by 26%.

Despite these challenges, multinational enterprises (MNEs) maintained high profit levels, and financing conditions showed signs of easing. The increase in greenfield project announcements in 2023 suggests potential positive impacts on FDI, with modest growth anticipated for the full year.

Conclusion

Africa’s FDI landscape in 2023 reflected both opportunities and challenges. While overall inflows declined, the rise in greenfield projects and the focus on renewable energy investments highlighted the continent’s potential for growth. The AfCFTA Investment Protocol is expected to further enhance intraregional investments, positioning Africa as a significant destination for international project finance deals despite the global economic uncertainties.