82nd International Atlantic Economic Conference

October 13 - 16, 2016 | Washington, USA

Investigating the value chain dimension of FDI in and outflows of the agro-industrial sector of South Africa

Saturday, October 15, 2016: 2:35 PM
Henri Bezuidenhout, Ph.D. , School of Economics, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Sonja Grater, Ph.D. , North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Ewert PJ Kleynhans, Ph.D. , School of Economics, Risk Management and International Trade, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
In 2014 foreign direct investment (FDI) to Africa increased 64%. The integration of Africa into the global trade and global production networks, especially in the argo-industrial sector is changing the traditional way of doing business in Africa. Long term pressure tends towards more transparency and best principle practices. One of the major questions that will need to be addressed by African policy makers is integration into global value chains and sustainable investment options. Furthermore foreign direct investment has become part of the center stage in the foreign landowner debate throughout Africa, but especially in the growing uneasiness in the South African policy sphere. Efforts are underway to tighten regulations for foreign landownership and agricultural activity. South Africa is leading recipient of FDI in the argo-industrial sector on the continent, but also one of the largest suppliers of FDI to the rest of the continent. This study evaluates the nature and dimensions of the different sub-sectors that receive investment in South Africa and also looks at the South African investment pattern in Africa. We use qualitative visual techniques to disambiguate the linkages in in FDI patterns. We find that the USA, United Kingdom and the Netherlands are the largest investors in South Africa, with a strong focus on agricultural input production and subsequent agro-processing industries. South African investment in Africa follows a similar albeit narrower more focused pattern. We conclude that foreign multi-national enterprises (MNEs) are busy with global value chain expansion and South African firms are following suit. The lack of FDI in actual agricultural crop production shows that the landownership question is driven by politics and ideology and has no grounding in the data.