The relationship between foreign direct investment (FDI) and manufacturing exports and imports in South Africa

Opperman, Pieter (2012-12)

Thesis (MDF)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.


In recent years South Africa has started to embark on policies to increase FDI and boost the country’s manufacturing sector. FDI inflows are important for their perceived role of bridging the savings-investment gap, while increasing the country’s manufacturing capacity will help diversify the economy and could contribute towards job creation. The literature has revealed that the debate on causality between FDI and trade has not yet been resolved. Furthermore, the FDI/trade relationship has not been adequately addressed in African literature. The research study has investigated the causal link between FDI and manufacturing exports and FDI and manufacturing imports in South Africa for the period 1994 – 2011. Unit root tests of stationarity were performed on the respective time series and it was found that the included variables are non-stationary at their levels, but stationary at first differences. Tests of cointegration revealed that FDI and manufacturing exports as well as FDI and manufacturing imports and vice versa were cointegrated, implying a long-run relationship between the two sets of variables. The study then utilised causality tests based on the significance of the ECM coefficient as well simple Granger causality tests in a bivariate setting. The results indicate one-way causality from manufacturing exports to FDI and from manufacturing imports to FDI. These results suggest that exports and imports of the manufacturing sector matter in the locational inflows of FDI in South Africa. It is recommended that the South African government should encourage FDI policies that have an export component or export strategy. This could attract more FDI inflows that would close the investment gap in the manufacturing sector.

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