Foreign investment into MENA continues plunge

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Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)'s private sector declined by one fifth in the first nine months of 2012 from the same period in 2011, according to a survey on improving countries' investment climates by the World Bank.

"Once it regains political stability, the MENA region has the potential to become an attractive destination for foreign investment," the Washington-based organisation said in its report.  "Besides the ability of the region’s governments to improve the investment climate, investment promotion intermediaries can play a significant role in helping to win such investment.''

The decline follows the plummeting of FDI by about 35 percent in 2011 to around US$43bn from US$66bn, as a result of the protests that swept the Arab world and toppled the leaders of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, in addition to the global credit crisis.

While the majority of FDI received in the MENA region between 2003 and 2011 flowed into the real estate and mining sectors, about 55 percent of FDI-related jobs in the region are generated in the manufacturing sector, which attracted only about one-fifth of total FDI inflows, according to the report.

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