Dear Members of the World Investment Network (WIN),

It is my pleasure to share with you the special issue of UNCTAD's Global Investment Trend Monitor which focuses on BRICS FDI and Africa. This special edition is launched on the occasion of the 5th BRICS Summit on 26 and 27 March in Durban, South Africa, with the theme “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for development, integration, and industrialization.” The key findings are as follows:

BRICS have emerged as major recipients of FDI and important outward investors. Over the past decade, FDI inflows to BRICS tripled to US$263 billion in 2012. Their share in world FDI flows kept rising even during the crisis, reaching 20% in 2012, up from 6% in 2000. BRICS countries have also become important investors: their outward FDI has risen from US$7 billion in 2000 to US$126 billion in 2012, or 9% of world flows - ten years ago, their share was only 1%.  

Overseas investment by BRICS countries is mainly in search of markets in developed countries or in the context of regional value chains. 42% of BRICS outward FDI stock is in developed countries, with 34% in the EU alone. Some 43% of BRICS outward FDI stock is in respective neighbouring countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, East Asia, South Asia and transition economies.

FDI linkages between BRICS countries themselves are still limited, although intra-BRICS FDI has grown faster than flows to non-BRICS over the past decade. The share of BRICS partners in the combined outward FDI stock of the BRICS grouping increased from 0.1% to 2.5%. Among BRICS countries, South Africa shows the largest share of intra-BRICS investment. In 2011, one fifth of the outward investment stock of  South Africa was concentrated in other BRICS countries, mainly China.

BRICS countries are becoming significant investors in Africa, including in manufacturing and services. Although Africa accounts for only 4% of BRICS FDI outflows, BRICS countries have joined the ranks of top investing countries in Africa. In 2010, the share of BRICS in FDI inward stock to Africa reached 14% and their share in inflows reached 25%. The share of BRICS in Africa’s total value of greenfield projects rose from 19% in 2003 to almost one quarter in 2012. Most BRICS FDI projects in Africa are in manufacturing and services. 26% of the value of projects and 10% of the number of projects is in the primary sector.

James Zhan
Investment and Enterprise Division
Palais des Nations, Geneva