Rand Merchant Bank’s Where to invest in Africa report names Egypt as Africa's top investment country – beating South Africa.
This is due to “its superior economic activity score and sluggish growth rates in South Africa”, according to a media statement. It is the first time South Africa is not in the top spot since the report was initiated seven years ago. The country ranks second, and Morocco third. Nigeria for the first time doesn't feature in the Top 10 due to the erosion of its short-term investment appeal by recessionary conditions. RMB's rating is based on economic activity, market growth and business environment.
According to the report’s authors, Celeste Fauconnier and Neville Mandimika, South Africa has held its position as President Cyril Ramaphosa is intent upon attractive foreign direct investment. “The country’s currency and capital markets remain a cut above the rest of the African countries,” says Fauconnier. However, subdued economic growth and the 2019 elections could hamper policymaking at a crucial time.
The report says Egypt is attractive as it is the largest African market in GDP terms, boasting the largest consumer market in the Middle East and North Africa. Morocco is Africa’s fifth-largest market, with a growth rate of 4% expected in the medium term.
Ethiopia is expected to be the fastest-growing economy in Africa, averaging 8.2% for the next six years, thanks to its resolution of the conflict with Eritrea, its improved macroeconomic policies and higher government investment in local industries and human capital.
Kenya and Rwanda are also expected to attract significant investment.
The report suggests that efficient infrastructure is what will truly unlock Africa’s growth potential. According to the World Bank, a lack of such infrastructure currently shaves up to 2.6% off Africa’s average per-capita growth rate.