Pandemic redraws FDI outperformers map

According to the seventh edition of the Greenfield FDI Performance Index, Costa Rica has entrenched its global leadership as the country that attracts the most foreign direct investment (FDI) relative to the size of its economy, thus proving the resilience of its investment proposition in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The UAE and North Macedonia also showed their strength, coming in second and third respectively. 

The pandemic redrew the map of the world’s best FDI outperformers relative to the size of their global gross domestic product (GDP). In this respect, Costa Rica is both an outperformer and an outlier as the only Latin American country in the top 10, which is dominated by major business hubs such as the UAE and Singapore, and countries in emerging Europe. On the other hand, African countries paid the highest price as investment flew back to the safety of OECD countries. In 2019, as many as five African countries featured in the top 10; two years later, none of them made it. 

Of the 84 countries recording more than 10 FDI projects in 2021 and thus being considered for the 2021 index, 68 have an index score greater than 1.0, indicating a larger share of investment projects relative to its share of GDP. The remaining 16 have a score less than 1.0, indicating a smaller share of projects relative to GDP. 

Costa Rica’s 2021 score stands at 15.5. This suggests that, given the size of its economy, it attracts 15.5 times more projects than the size of its GDP would suggest.  

The 2021 index contains nine African countries, and continues a trend that has seen African nations appear less in the index compared to the previous edition – only countries with 10 or more FDI projects in the full year are considered. Of those included, only Egypt (1.0) and Tanzania (1.4) saw their scores increase from 2020.

South Africa had an unfortunate year in that while FDI increased, its economic growth outpaced investment, resulting in a drop in this year’s index.

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Source: fDi Intelligence, 17 August 2022

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