What is FDI?
FDI is when investors from one country, in this case the United States, invest in firms that are based abroad. Often investors do this to earn higher returns due to a risk premium. They will seek markets where default risk is higher. If their investments mature, the returns are higher than they would be in a place with less risk.
Effects of FDI
The United States has higher FDI outflows than any other country, in large part because its economy is so large. In addition to seeking higher returns, some investors are interested in cultivating international relationships. This could be an effort to expand the consumer base, shore up supply chains, or for humanitarian or cultural reasons. For the receiving country, FDI means an increase in capital. For emerging markets, this can be critical. When the number of banks per country is low, capital access becomes difficult.