Growth Impact and Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment into South Africa, 1956-2003

19 September 2012
Publication Type: Working Paper

The paper is concerned with the growth impact and the determinants of foreign direct investment in South Africa. Estimation is in terms of a standard spill-over model of investment, and in terms of a new model of locational choice in FDI between domestic and foreign alternatives. We find complementarity of foreign and domestic capital in the long run, implying a positive technological spill-over from foreign to domestic capital. While there is a crowd-out of domestic investment from foreign direct investment, this impact is restricted to the short run. Further we find that foreign direct investment in South Africa has tended to be capital intensive, suggesting that foreign direct investment has been horizontal rather than vertical. Determinants of foreign direct investment in South Africa lie in the net rate of return, as well as the risk profile of the foreign direct investment liabilities. Policy handles are both direct and powerful. Reducing political risk, ensuring property rights, most importantly bolstering growth in the market size, as well as wage moderation, lowering corporate tax rates, and ensuring full integration of the South African economy into the world economy all follow as policy prescriptions from our empirical findings.

Working Paper 012
1 December 2004