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A new report by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales reveals Africa is getting more external financial flows from China than from western countries. According to the report which also draws on estimates prepared by the World Bank, the total level of external financial inflows into Africa has increased from $40.4bn in 2000 to $192bn in 2013. And this is largely attributed to the inward FDI from China with investment mainly going into primary resource sectors and infrastructure.

According to Michael Armstrong, Regional Director, ICAEW Middle East, Africa and South Asia, China has approached African economies in a very different way to Europe, focusing less on official aid and engaging more aggressively through foreign direct investment and trade. This has been a game changer for the development industry, forcing European countries to rethink their strategy of connecting with the continent

The report Economic Insight: Africa Q3 2015, ), provides a snapshot of the region’s economic performance focusing specifically on Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, South Africa and Angola.

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Despite this low level of investment overall, Nairobi still tops the list as Africa’s most attractive destination for FDI. This is predominantly motivated by the fast-growing middle class that is setting the stage for a booming consumer market. Furthermore, in addition to a growing entertainment and media industry, Kenya is also emerging as a global leader in the financial services sector thanks to mobile money systems such as MPESA.

Thanks to resource wealth, West Africa and Southern Africa are leading the way, attracting the majority of FDI; although East Africa is catching up. While the latter region currently has the lowest level of African foreign development investment inflows at $6.8bn, its share grew at a rate of 11% between 2013 and 2014. This is partly thanks to efforts for closer regional integration in the East African Community (EAC), which has involved harmonising investment regulations across the region and reducing red tape.

Danae Kyriakopoulou, ICAEW economic adviser says while economic development naturally varies across the continent, Africa’s regional outlook as a whole remains bright with a number of projects expected to bolster growth.

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