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Foreign investment in Arab states drops 8% last year

[KUWAIT CITY] Foreign direct investment into Arab states dropped 8.0 per cent last year with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia attracting close to half the total funds, a report said Sunday.

Arab states attracted FDI worth US$43.9 billion in 2014 compared with US$47.5 billion the previous year, the Kuwait-based Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corp said in its report.

The figure is still way below the US$66.2 billion attracted in 2010 before the start of the Arab Spring uprisings in several countries.

UAE topped the list of countries receiving FDI with US$10.1 billion - 23 per cent of the total - followed by Saudi Arabia with US$8 billion, or 18.3 per cent. Egypt came third with US$4.8 billion.

The report covered 20 out of the 22 Arab League states, excluding war-torn Syria and tiny Comoros. FDI dropped in 15 of them.

The six energy-rich states of the Gulf Cooperation Council drew in the most investment, accounting 49.7 per cent of the Arab world's total FDI, according to the report.

The report said that total FDI in the Arab world reached US$789 billion by the end of 2014, just 4.0 per cent of the world's total of US$26 trillion. Saudi Arabia came on top with US$216 billion followed by UAE with US$116 billion and Egypt with US$88 billion.

Outflows of Arab investments into other countries last year dropped 10 per cent to US$33.4 billion, with Kuwait topping the list with US$13 billion or 39.2 per cent of the total, the report said.