Investment into Africa booming

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Growing confidence in African economies has more than doubled foreign direct investment into the continent over the last decade, said a survey released Thursday.

“Growing optimism and confidence among international and African investors has led to significant inward investment into Africa over the last decade,” according the accounting firm Ernst & Young.Investment from across the world surged from 339 projects in 2003 to 857 in 2011. Growth in intra-African investment was being led by the regional powerhouses of Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

It also noted that Africans were becoming wealthier, with a spending power of nearly one trillion dollars.

“We remain excited and very positive about Africa. We are optimists, but we are realistic optimists, our perspective is deliberately a glass half full rather than half empty one,” said Ajen Sita, the firms area managing partner for Africa.

“While perceptions of Africas attractiveness are improving when compared with other regions, Africa still has much ground to make up relative to other parts of the world,” said the survey.

“There is no disputing the fact that corruption remains a big challenge”.

South Africa, the continents largest economy, emerged as the biggest destination for foreign direct investment, with 827 new projects between 2003 and 2011, followed by Egypt, Morocco and Algeria.Botswana, the worlds leading diamond producer, recorded only 80 investment projects in the same period.Leading the top 20 investors into Africa were Banco BPI the Portuguese Investment Bank, EcoBank Transitional, BNP Paribas, Tata Group, IBM, Nestle, and SAB Miller.

“African countries must position themselves appropriately in this shifting landscape to attract a greater proportion of the investment that will accelerate growth and development,” said Mark Otty, Ernst & Young managing partner.According to business executives surveyed, “Africa is poised to enter the premier league of investment destinations”.

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