Foreign Direct Investment into Africa by-passes Zimbabwe

 John Mangudya and Patrick Chinamasa

RBZ governor John Mangudya and Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa

FOREIGN Direct Investment into Africa grew by 64 percent to US$87 billion in 2014, but largely bypassed Zimbabwe, reflecting worries over President Robert Mugabe’s policies and the risk of investing in the southern African country, latest data has shown.

Zimbabwe’s foreign direct investment grew slightly to US$545 million in 2014 – less than five percent of the country’s GDP — from US$400 million in the previous year, driven by interest in mining, infrastructure and services but still lagged regional rivals by some margin, according to a recent United Nations report.

By comparison, a report by FDi Intelligence – a United Kingdom publication — Zambia was ranked number eight among the Top 10 FDI destinations in Africa by capital investment with US$3 billion in FDI recorded in 2014. Ironically, its elevation was aided by Zimbabwe-based Green Fuel’s plans to establish a US$500 million ethanol project in that country.

Angola, Africa’s second biggest oil producer, saw over US$16 billion flow into the country while Mozambique attracted US$8,8 billion worth of investment.

South Africa attracted US$3,8 billion while US$2,2 billion flowed into Kenya, fDi Intelligence said.

France was the top FDI source country for investment into Africa at US$18,3 billion for 2014 while

Belgium recorded the highest increase in capital investment into Africa at US$5,2 billion – most of it by commercial real estate developer, Pylos, which announced plans to build 16 shopping malls in that country.

Investments by Zimbabwean companies created the second most employment opportunities on the continent at 5,429, second only to South Africa, which was the top job creator for intra-African investment at 6 964 jobs.

Turkish companies created the most jobs in Africa at 16 593 jobs.

Zimbabwe has lagged regional peers in attracting FDI due to poor rankings on the ease of doing business and structural issues in the economy.

A local ownership law championed by Mugabe’s government, which requires 51 percent control of all major businesses by local blacks, has also been cited as an impediment to foreign investment.- The Source