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Foreign investment in Arab states rises despite unrest

world Updated: Jun 18, 2013 15:47 IST

The flow of foreign direct investment into Arab states, including those hit by uprisings, rose by 9.8% last year despite the unrest but remained well below their 2010 level, a report said on Tuesday.

Arab states attracted FDI worth $47.1 billion in 2012 compared with $42.9 billion the previous year, the Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation said in its annual report.

However, the investment rate was 28.5% lower than its level of $66.2 billion in 2010, the year when the Arab Spring uprisings first erupted, said the Kuwaiti-based organisation.

The report covered 20 out of the 22-Arab League member states excluding war-torn Syria and the tiny Comoros.

And foreign direct investment inflows rose in 15 of them, including four countries -- Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen -- that witnessed violent unrest during the past three years.

OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia topped the list of FDI inflows with $12.2 billion, representing 25.8 percent of Arab total even though its share dropped by 25% from the previous year.

FDI inflows to the United Arab Emirates rose 25% last year to $9.6 billion, which is 20.8% of the total Arab investments.

Lebanon came third with 7.8% followed by Algeria with $6.2 billion, the report said.

In Egypt, the rate of FDI rose from a negative $483 million in 2011 to $2.8 billion last year, while in Tunisia it increased by 68% to $1.95 billion.

Foreign direct investment in Libya rose from a flat 2011 to $720 million last year, and in Yemen it increased from $713 million in the red to just $4 million.

All four of these nations experienced Arab Spring-related unrest.

The six energy-rich states of the Gulf Cooperation Council drew in the most investment, accounting for $26.4 billion or 56 percent of total Arab FDI, the report said.

Investment inflows into Kuwait more than doubled to about $1.9 billion.