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Investigating geography and institutions as determinants of foreign direct investment in Africa using panel data

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This article uses a cross-country econometric approach to identify the determinants for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa. The contribution is 3-fold. Firstly, we recognize that the estimation techniques used elsewhere, such as ordinary least squares, may be flawed. We therefore use a dynamic one-step generalized method of moments (GMM) estimator due to Arellano and Bond (1991). The GMM-estimates identified a number of robust determinants of FDI, namely government consumption, inflation rate, investment, governance (political stability, accountability, regulatory burden, rule of law) and initial literacy. It is concluded that geography does not seem to have a direct influence on FDI flows to Africa. Neither market-seeking nor re-exporting motives of FDI seem to dominate, with different policy instruments being significant in the different specifications. This does not discount the importance of good policies, but probably indicates the importance of good policies made by good institutions. Institutions, in the form of political stability showed up as a significant determinant of FDI.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: UNU-WIDER, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Publication date: 2007-06-01

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