Supporting UK foreign direct investment in Africa in 2021

Sherillyn Raga and Dirk Willem te Veldde, January 2021


The UK aims to be Africa’s partner of choice, by growing investment relationships to deliver more exports, jobs and economic growth that benefit both African and British businesses as well as to help African countries recover and build back from the Covid-19 pandemic. The recent second UK–Africa summit aimed to revive foreign direct investment (FDI) to African countries, in a context in which the pandemic has already led to sharp declines in overall FDI flows (-28%), mergers and acquisitions (-44%) and greenfield projects announcements (-66%) in Africa during the first half of 2020 alone.

This note aims to present the trends in UK FDI in Africa, how UK investors compare with other major investors (i.e. China and the US) in the continent and insights on constraints and recommendations to boost the role of UK in bringing quality FDI to Africa.

Photo: UK-Africa Investment summit. Graham Carlow/FCDO. Licence: (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)