Malaysia is ahead of China in terms of the size of its direct foreign investment (FDI) into Africa and the gap is widening, according to United Nations data published on Monday.
A survey of foreign investment into and out of the five BRICS countries, published on the eve of their summit in South Africa and while new Chinese President Xi Jinping visits the continent, revealed that China's march into Africa has lagged behind the flow of cash from Kuala Lumpur.
FDI, which includes crossborder mergers and acquisitions and investments in startup projects abroad, can give clues about economic confidence and future trade flows. For Malaysia, the big spenders in Africa include firms such as Petronas and Sime Darby.
Malaysia was the third biggest investor in Africa in 2011, the latest year for which data is available, behind France and the United States, pushing China and India into fourth and fifth positions.
France and the United States also have the largest historical stock of investments in Africa, with Britain in third place and Malaysia in fourth, followed by South Africa, China and India.