UNCTAD: Africa Saw A Major Leap In Greenfield Project Announcements in 2022

The total number of greenfield announcements last year was 766.

By Liz Bains on
3rd August 2023

The value of greenfield project announcements in Africa almost quadrupled last year to reach a record US$195 billion, according to UNCTAD’s 2023 World Investment Report, published in July. This compares with US$52 billion in 2021.

The total number of greenfield projects announced last year was 766.

The most active sectors for greenfield project announcements were energy and gas supply (US$120 billion), construction (US$24 billion) and the extractive industries (US$21 billion). The ICT sector registered the highest number of projects. 

The value of announced greenfield projects for energy and gas supply increased by 400% from US$24 billion in 2021.

Six of the world’s top 15 greenfield megaprojects announced in 2022 were in Africa.

The third-largest greenfield project globally in 2022 was The Parks real estate development in South Africa, a US$20 billion project announced by the UAE’s URB.

Two large greenfield projects were announced in Uganda by France’s TotalEnergies: the US$6.5 billion development of the Lake Albert oil field and the US$3.5 billion construction of the 1,440km East African Crude Oil Pipeline.

In Nigeria, major greenfield projects announced last year included a US$731 million data centre in Lekki by Airtel Nigeria and a 936MW solar plant with a 443MWh battery storage facility by the US’ Sun Africa and the local Niger Delta Power Holding, representing a US$1.8 billion investment.

In Senegal, announced greenfield project values more than doubled to US$1.4 billion, while the value of international project finance deals rose to US$1.2 billion, with the largest deal being for a 300,000m3/day reverse osmosis plant worth US$671 million, sponsored by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and the National Water Company of Senegal. This year, the UAE’s DP World has already committed US$1.1 billion for port construction in Senegal.

Within North Africa, the number of announced greenfield projects in Egypt more than doubled to 161, while the total value in Morocco quadrupled to US$15 billion, thanks to plans by Total Eren from Luxembourg to build a US$10 billion hydrogen and green ammonia production plant.

In contrast, international project finance deals in Africa fell by 47% in value last year to US$74 billion. This compares with US$140 billion in 2021. However, the number of deals financed increased by 15% to 157. Decreases in values were registered in renewables, mining and power.

FDI flows to Africa totalled US$45 billion in 2022, according to UNCTAD. European investors are the largest holders of FDI stock in Africa, led by the UK (US$60 billion), France (US$54 billion) and the Netherlands (US$54 billion).

Africa FDI Flows
Africa FDI Flows
Source: UNCTAD

FDI into the world’s least developed countries (LDCs) amounted to US$22 billion last year, with 70% of flows concentrated among five recipients: Ethiopia, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Senegal and Mozambique, in that order. 

Among the LDCs, the top recipients for international project finance were Cambodia, Niger, Lao, Tanzania and Sudan. For greenfield projects, the top recipients were Tanzania, Bangladesh, Senegal, Cambodia and Rwanda. 

Photo: Construction site (© Cornelius20 | Dreamstime)

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