Why is it so Difficult to Attract FDI to the MENA Countries?
Partha Gangopadhyay and Mohamed Elafif
DOI : 10.3844/ajassp.2016.969.975
American Journal of Applied Sciences
Volume 13, Issue 9
In this study we constructively argue that the relationship between FDI flows and the per capita GDP for the MENA countries has a novel feature-hitherto unrecognised-which can partially explain the great difficulty of the MENA region in attracting FDI. We show the existence of a separatrix, or trap, in terms of the per capita GDP: To the left of the trap, the change in the flow of FDI as a percentage of GDP declines as the per capita GDP rises. To the right of the trap, the change in the flow of FDI as a percentage of GDP rises with an increase in per capita GDP. Thus, in order to attract FDI, as our results show, the MENA countries must achieve a critical level of economic development in terms of the per capita GDP-otherwise FDI flows will be extremely sluggish. From the dataset available for 16 countries during 1996-2013, we find the per capita income trap is at US$ 10,000. In other words, the FDI to GDP ratio is a non-linear function of the per capita GDP for the MENA region. In fact, we find the function to be inverse S-shaped: For per capita incomes less than $10,000, the function is concave-as per capita GDP rises, FDI as a percentage of GDP rises at a declining rate. Beyond this critical value of per capita GDP (trap/separatrix), the function becomes convex: As per capita GDP rises above the trap, FDI as a percentage of GDP then rises at an increasing rate.
© 2016 Partha Gangopadhyay and Mohamed Elafif. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.