The Middle East was the second fastest growing region in the world in terms of FDI, with increases of 90% in projects created, 131% in capital invested and 162% in new jobs created. The 969 FDI projects that were established in the Middle East during 2008 represented a substantial increase on the previous annual average of 471 projects. The typical project in the Middle East during 2008 represented a $159m investment and created of 340 new jobs.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) continued to hold the top spot in 2008 and outstripped all of its Middle East rivals by accounting for 50% of total projects, 23% of total capital investment and 37% of jobs created.


Saudi Arabia took second position, although it experienced a mixed story with a doubling in number of projects it attracted and a 39% increase in terms of jobs created but also a 20% decline in capital investment compared with 2007.

Oman, Kuwait and Iraq all had substantial gains in terms of number of inbound projects with annual increases of 279%, 250% and 750%, respectively, on their 2007 figures. However, Iraq still received a relatively low number of projects compared with 2003 when it was in third position in the Middle East.

Only Lebanon had a decline in terms of projects recorded and although this only represented one project less than 2007 figures, the wider picture shows an average decline of 11% a year since 2004. Yet although Lebanon had a weak year in terms of new projects established, those that did were of much higher value than previous years, generating $104m in investment and creating 331 jobs per project, compared with the previous average for the country of $87m and 261 jobs per project. In terms of jobs created, Iran was the only country that had negative growth, with 34% fewer jobs created than in 2007.

Dubai excels

Dubai was the top destination city in the Middle East, attracting 35% of total projects, 14% of capital investment and 25% of jobs created through FDI during 2008. The number of FDI projects set up in Dubai grew by 59% on 2007 figures and capital investment soared from $9bn to $21bn between 2007 and 2008, a growth of 123%.

Riyadh was ranked as the fourth most popular city in the Middle East for FDI during 2008. It displayed positive growth in both the number of projects and jobs created but notably attracted less capital investment than during 2007, one of the few cities that showed a decline in capital investment.

Manama experienced significant growth on 2007 figures, with Suhar, Ajman and Kuwait City also displaying positive growth. In contrast, the number of new jobs created in Jeddah declined by 30%.

African indicators

FDI into Africa had a record year in 2008, with the region showing the strongest growth of all world regions. It achieved above-average growth in terms of project numbers (114%), capital investment (136%) and jobs created (101%). The 820 FDI projects that were established in Africa during 2008 represented a doubling of 2007 figures and smashed the average annual number of FDI projects in Africa, which was previously about 453 projects a year.

The top five destination countries in Africa received 50% of total projects, 55% of capital investment and 57% of jobs created through FDI in the region. South Africa received 14% of projects in the region in 2008 and regained its lead as the top destination country in terms of project numbers, growing by an impressive 104% on 2007 figures. However, South Africa did not make it into the top five countries in terms of capital investment.

Of the top 20 destination countries in Africa, each country showed an annual growth in project numbers, with only Ethiopia displaying no growth. Although there were many winners in the region, the big winners in terms of projects were Uganda (486%), Ghana (400%) and Mozambique (360%).

Nigeria’s staggering rise

Nigeria led the league table in terms of capital investment, growing by a staggering 743% on 2007 figures and accounting for 16% of total investment into Africa. Other countries that had notably high growth rates in capital investment were Mozambique (459%), Libya (411%), Morocco (269%) and South Africa (173%). Some countries, such as Ethiopia (69%), Madagascar (61%), Senegal (57%), and Zimbabwe (52%), attracted less capital investment than in 2007.

Morocco retained its position as the leading country for jobs created with a year-on-year growth rate of 80%, accounting for 15% of jobs created in the region during 2008.

Cairo leads the way

Cairo remained the top destination city in Africa during 2008, attracting 29 projects, $8bn in capital investment and 15,494 new jobs. However, the annual growth in project numbers and capital investment was below the average for the region, which attracted only six more projects and $750m more investment than 2007. In contrast, the number of new jobs created grew by 153% on 2007 figures and the city took the top spot in the league table, up from fifth position in 2007.

Johannesburg showed significant growth during 2008, with an annual increase of 108% in project numbers – up from 13 to 27 between 2007 and 2008. However it did not appear in the top five cities for either capital investment or jobs created despite positive growth in both categories.

Tunis was the top destination city for capital expenditure in 2008, retaining its title from 2007, although declining by 10% between the two years. Tunis alone accounted for 7% of total capital expenditure in the region.

Growth Comparisons: Countries in the Middle East

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Growth Comparisons: Cities in the Middle East

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Growth Comparisons: Countries in Africa

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Growth Comparisons: Cities in Africa

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