Private investment in the Middle East and North Africa has continued its upward trend, thanks to increasing liberalisation, new emphasis on private markets to provide goods and services, and renewed growth in several economies, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) says.

In a new report, Trends in Private Investment in Developing Countries 1994, the World Bank’s private-sector arm cites notable examples of what it calls the liberalisation/market emphasis including Pakistan, Turkey and Morocco. But results are mixed. Analysis of 1992 investment trends shows expansion in Iran, Morocco and Pakistan. Turkey’s investment ratio fell in 1992, the IFC says, although it was still nearly 50 per cent higher than in 1982. Egypt’s private investment remained considerably below that of other regional countries, the IFC says.

Foreign direct investment flows have shown rapid growth in liberalising economies, the IFC says. But foreign direct investment remains at relatively low levels in the Middle East and North Africa. After the Gulf conflict, private investment in the region recovered to reach the 1990 level, which had been a decade-long high.

Globally, public investment remains at low levels compared with the late 1970s and even the mid-1980s, the IFC says. But there are some exceptions, and Iran and Morocco are again among the recipients, the report shows.