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Country-specific determinants of FDI inflows to the MENA region: A systematic review and future research directions

Anna Dimitrova (Department of International Studies and Business, ESSCA School of Management, Paris, France)
Tim Rogmans (College of Business, Zayed University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Dora Triki (ESCE International Business School, INSEEC U Research Center, Paris, France)

Multinational Business Review

ISSN: 1525-383X

Article publication date: 3 February 2020

Issue publication date: 15 April 2020




This paper aims to synthesize, analyze and categorize the empirical literature on country-specific factors that affect foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Identifying gaps and methodological challenges in the reviewed articles, recommendations are made to guide future research.


Applying the systematic review methodology, content analysis is conducted of 42 relevant empirical studies that explore country-specific FDI determinants in the MENA region during the period 1998–2018.


This review study identifies four main research gaps in the extant literature: a lack of consensus on a common definition of the MENA region and a weak understanding of the specificities of its investment environment; a limited set of FDI theories used and a lack of other theoretical perspectives; a recurrent focus on the direct relationship between host country–specific determinants and FDI, thus ignoring the moderating and mediating effects of some variables; and the absence of certain country-specific factors pertaining to the MENA countries.


This study contributes to the international business field by enhancing our understanding of the FDI determinants in emerging and developing markets, especially the MENA countries. It develops a typology of FDI country-specific factors in the MENA region based on four main categories: macroeconomic and financial, institutional and regulatory, natural resource endowment and socio-cultural. Paths for future research are suggested.



The authors are grateful to the anonymous reviewers and the Editor Dr Chang Hoon Oh for their constructive comments and recommendations, which helped us improve the quality of this article. An earlier draft of this paper was presented at the 2019 Academy of International Business (AIB) annual meeting, and we thank panel discussants and conference participants for their remarks and suggestions.


Dimitrova, A., Rogmans, T. and Triki, D. (2020), "Country-specific determinants of FDI inflows to the MENA region: A systematic review and future research directions", Multinational Business Review, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 1-38.



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