Greenfield FDI projects into the Middle East and Africa increased 7% in 2018 to 1253, with capital investment increasing by 14%, according to a report from fDi Intelligence. 

FDI into the Middle East specifically remained stable by number of projects with a 2% increase to 586, while capital investment increased 64% to $61.1bn, revealed The fDi Report 2019. Meanwhile, FDI projects into Africa experienced an increase of 12% to 667 in 2018 but a 9% decline in capital investment to $74.2bn.


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) remained the top location for FDI, attracting 24% of FDI projects into the region. South Africa ranked second for FDI into the Middle East and Africa by number of projects, with a 3% increase to 103 and 33% increase in capital expenditure.

Among the growth markets, the number of FDI projects into Nigeria increased by 49%, with inward capital investment increasing by 58%. Kenya and Ethiopia both witnessed an increase in the number of FDI projects in 2018, by 14% and 21%, respectively.

Saudi Arabia experienced an increase in capital investment into the country of 124% as well as a 27% increase in overall FDI projects. France-based oil and gas giant Total has signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Aramco to develop a $9bn petrochemical complex in Jubail, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco will hold a 62.5% share in the project while Total will hold the remaining 37.5%. The complex will comprise a mixed-feed steam cracker with a capacity of 1.5 million tonnes per year of ethylene and related high-added-value petrochemical units. It will create 8000 direct and indirect jobs.

Morocco was the only location in the top 10 to witness a decrease in FDI projects into the country, with a decline of 21%. However, capital investment increased by 20%.

China-based Citic Group, a financial firm with global reach, plans to establish a new $6bn phosphate production facility in Tebessa, Algeria, as part of a 49-51 joint venture with local company Sonatrach. The plant is scheduled to go online in 2022 and will create 3000 jobs. This helped push Algeria into the top five destinations in the region for capital investment in 2018, with a 7% market share. The leader, however, was Oman, which attracted $19.5bn in announced or launched greenfield investments and captured 14% market share of FDI in the region. 

The UAE remained the largest outbound investor from the Middle East and Africa in 2018, accounting for 164 projects totalling $26.5bn.

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