De quelle innovation ou création peut-on se prévaloir au niveau des IDE ?

What innovation or creation can we claim at the level of FDI?

83 billion dollars is the volume of foreign direct investment (FDI) recorded in 2021 at the level of African countries. A record level compared to 2020 which recorded 39 billion, an increase of 113%.

This is the third strongest development after those recorded in Europe (+171%) and North America (+145%), according to the 2022 edition of the report on investment in the world published Thursday, June 9, by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The distribution of FDI flows by sub-region shows that Southern Africa, East Africa and West Africa have seen their investment flows increase during the past year. In Central Africa, flows remained stable, while North Africa recorded a decline of 5% (9.3 billion dollars).

Shade

What about the case of our country? Morocco is one of the countries where investment flows increased by 52% to $2.2 billion in 2021, while Egypt saw its FDI decline by 12% to $5.1 billion.

However, Hicham Attouch, professor of economics at the Mohammed V University in Rabat, believes that the figures in relation to Morocco should be qualified, in particular those relating to the increase in FDI. “If these figures show that Morocco remains advantaged despite a context of crisis, this does not mean that there is an effective increase in the volume of FDI intended for our country”, he decides. And to continue: “We can rather speak of a return to normal or to pre-Covid-19 levels. And this means that our country remains attractive thanks to the major projects launched since the beginning of the 2000s and our good neighborly relations with the Gulf countries and those of the EU, in particular France and Spain”.

Our interlocutor considers, moreover, that any reading of these figures remains incomplete as long as it is limited to analyzing only the statistics relating to incoming FDI. “The decryption of the outgoing ones gives a clearer idea on the evolution of these FDIs”, he noted. And to explain: “The analysis of the latter indicates that there is no recovery and that they remain strongly linked to incoming FDI. We are faced with a sender/receiver dynamic”.

Indeed and in detail, the volume of inward FDI fell from 2.1 billion dollars in 2016 to 2.6 in 2017 and 3.5 in 2018 before falling again to 1.7 billion dollars in 2019 and to 1.4 in 2020. The year 2021 recorded an estimated recovery of $2.1 billion. The evolution of outgoing FDI has been strongly impacted by this dynamic. They went from 580 million dollars in 2016 to 1.02 billion in 2017, to 782 million in 2018 and to 893 million in 2019. A drop was noted in 2020 and 2021 with respectively 458 and 506 million dollars.

Classic

What can be said of these foreign investments in Morocco? For Hicham Attouch, we are still in the classic pattern given the nature of these FDIs, the target sectors, the geographical distribution and the amounts invested. “At the sector level, these FDI still target those in the automotive, tourism and construction industries.

It should also be noted that these investment projects remain poorly distributed at the level of the national territory since they are concentrated at the level of the Tangier-Casa axis”, he told us. And to emphasize that “these FDI always fall within the framework of the strategies already in place with traditional investors. In short, there is nothing new either in terms of the nature of investments or in terms of investors. They are purely and simply classic IDEs”.

According to UNCTAD, the largest holders of foreign assets in Africa are European investors, led by those from the United Kingdom ($65 billion) and France ($60 billion).

Globally, foreign direct investment stood at 1.580 billion dollars last year, up 64% from the previous year. The United States ($367 billion), China including Hong Kong ($322 billion), Singapore ($99 billion), Canada ($60 billion) and Brazil ($50 billion) were the top five destinations for investors strangers.

Negative

In this regard, our source said that the government’s record in terms of FDI remains negative since the Executive has not made significant efforts to attract investment and its touch is non-existent. “We are in the continuity of the process initiated by the previous governments since we have not exceeded 2 billion dollars and we are still and always in the perspective of global trades in Morocco”, she noted. And to conclude: “We are far from innovation and creation. In other words, we are far from the dynamics of transformation of the world economy in search of new territories and new products”.

Threat

It should be noted that UNCTAD maintains, however, that the war in Ukraine and the evolution of China towards a more autocratic regime could slow down the resumption of FDI in the world. “The war in Ukraine – in addition to the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic – is causing a triple food, energy and financial crisis in many countries around the world. The resulting investor uncertainty could put strong downward pressure on global FDI in 2022,” she warned.

Rising Covid-19 cases in China, with new lockdowns in areas that play a major role in global value chains, could further reduce new creative investment in labor-intensive industries .
In addition, the interest rate hikes expected in industrialized countries in a context marked by soaring inflation should slow the M&A market and curb the growth of international project financing. At best, global FDI flows will remain stable in 2022. At worst, they will decline.

Hassan Bentaleb

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