Cairo was the standout African destination for foreign business services investments in 2018, according to greenfield investment monitor fDi Markets.

The city received 10 foreign investment projects, representing a 233% increase on 2017. Cairo’s performance in 2018 was the strongest recorded since 2012, with just 19 such projects noted during the 2013-17 period.

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In 2018, 286 jobs were created related to such investments – the highest number posted since 2014 and a 138.33% increase on 2017. Capital expenditure was $177m, a 317.45% increase on 2017 and the highest total recorded since 2012.

There is no clear distinction over the main source countries of investment. Companies from the UAE made the most business services-related investments with two, while companies from France, Germany, the UK, Russia, Switzerland, Japan and Italy all made one investment apiece. For example, Italy-based Prometeia, a risk management consultancy firm, opened a new office in Cairo to serve the Levant region, while UK-based Alta Semper Capital, a private equity firm, opened a new office to serve the domestic market and Africa.

The next closest city to Cairo in performance was Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), which received eight projects. Abidjan was followed by Johannesburg (South Africa), Nairobi (Kenya), and Cape Town (South Africa), all of whom attracted seven projects apiece.

The Cairo trend is set to be reflected in the total for  2019; as of September 2019, Cairo had attracted 16 inwards business services projects. This compares to Casablanca with seven and Johannesburg with five. Signals suggest that Cairo’s current 2019 figure would rise before the year end, with several investments to be implemented in the city.