A record 170 manufacturing FDI projects were announced across sub-Saharan Africa in 2019, according to greenfield investment monitor fDi Markets. This follows an upward trend since 2016 and markedly exceeds the annual average of 109 projects announced in the previous decade. 

Estimated capital expenditure related to these greenfield projects jumped from $15.69bn to $26.48bn, while the estimated number of jobs created rose by 92% to 33,855 compared with a year earlier, finds fDi Markets.


Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Togo, Lesotho and Malawi all reported record greenfield manufacturing in 2019, while 10 out of 46 sub-Saharan countries posted growth the same year. Angola, Uganda, Cameroon and Senegal all saw growth in project numbers of 250% or more. Côte d’Ivoire and Gabon, meanwhile, equalled their record numbers of manufacturing projects in 2019, at eight and four, respectively.

By comparison, the north African Maghreb region and Egypt attracted the lowest share (28.9%) of Africa’s manufacturing projects since records began in 2003. While announced foreign manufacturing projects in Tunisia and Algeria fell by 43% and 71%, respectively, Morocco and Egypt still ranked first and second across the continent.

The agribusiness cluster was the most active for manufacturing projects across sub-Saharan Africa in 2019, accounting for 29% of the total. Meanwhile, the automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM), pharmaceutical and consumer products sectors all posted a record number of projects.

The most active investors in manufacturing across sub-Saharan Africa in 2019 were Japan-based carmaker Toyota and China-based fish farming specialist Hainan Qinfu Foods, which both announced four separate greenfield projects. Hainan Qinfu Foods announced an investment of $450m to establish an aquaculture industrial park across 5000 acres in Uganda, according to local media.

East African countries were the largest recipients of food and beverages-related FDI. Ethiopia and Kenya both recorded six projects a piece in the sector. Meanwhile, South Africa attracted the most automotive OEM projects at four, with a total estimated investment of more than $600m.