In line with the government strategy to promote Mauritius as a reputed and effective trade and investment platform for the continent, the Economic Development Board is working towards reinforcing economic collaboration with African States to leverage on the geostrategic position of Mauritius to drive investment into the continent.
Africa is full of promise and untapped riches. It has approximately 30 percent of the earth's remaining mineral resources, nearly 60 percent (over 200 million hectares) of the world available arable land and 13 percent of the world population. To that end, the Government is implementing pro-African policies to improve the investment climate and market access conditions to make Mauritius a relevant platform for Africa.
The government has already embarked on several initiatives to cement our relations with most African States, including:
- Setting up of Permanent Joint Commissions with South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya & Ghana to explore avenues of cooperation and enhance economic diplomacy. Joint Commissions are mutually beneficial to both countries and provides the mechanism for promoting trade and investment through the removal of trade barriers, sharing of technology, improving the business environment and formulating necessary structures for common projects.
- Development of Special Economic Zones in Senegal, Ghana, Madagascar and Cote d’Ivoire to create a conducive environment for local operators to tap on business opportunities in these countries and develop business corridors.
- Signature of bilateral agreements (Double Taxation Treaties & Investment Promotion & Protection Agreements), sectoral agreements in targeted countries and Bilateral Air Services Agreements and Maritime Agreements to enhance both air and sea connectivity with the continent.
- With 21 Double Taxation Avoidance Treaties (DTAs) and 23 Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs) already signed with African states, Mauritius can offer investors a conducive environment for doing business. In addition, the membership to the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) to promote investment across the continent reinforces the position of Mauritius as a regional hub.
- In addition, as a member of regional economic blocs such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and as member of the African Union (AU), Mauritius is constantly playing an active role in enhancing and fostering diplomatic and economic cooperation within African countries.
- More recently, to further boost intra-regional African trade and investment, Mauritius supported the Tripartite Agreement between SADC, COMESA and the EAC. Mauritius was also among the 44 countries out of the 55 Member States of the African Union to have signed the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).
- Promote Mauritius as a trusted international financial jurisdiction. The emergence of FinTech represents an opportunity for Mauritius and the setting up of the FinTech Association will give the impetus to position Mauritius as a Regional Hub in the industry.
- Promote Mauritius as a regional hub for professional services: financial services, arbitration, education, healthcare, ICT and business services.
Mauritius has forged a reputation as a safe, trusted and competitive financial centre. Mauritius has been at the forefront of driving quality investments into Africa. The international investing community chose Mauritius as its hub of choice for its Africa-bound operations and investments notably because the country has established itself as a robust, transparent and reliable business-friendly jurisdiction.
As a member of regional economic blocs such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), as well as being a founding member of the African Union (AU), Mauritius is constantly playing an active role in enhancing and fostering diplomatic and economic cooperation within African countries.
Africa’s population is expected to double by 2050 to reach nearly 2 billion, making it one of the largest markets in the world. Besides, the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) will boost trade prospects within the continent. Spending by African households is estimated to rise from USD 840 billion in 2008 to USD 1.4 trillion in 2020. With rapid urbanization, projected to reach 50 percent by 2035, 700 million housing units will be required within the next 30 years. The World Bank estimates the finance gap for Africa to reach its full potential is around USD 130-180 billion annually over the next decade.
This is evident with the growing relevance of the Mauritius International Financial Centre (MIFC) in directing Private Equity funds onto the continent. For the year 2016, total inbound investments in Africa stood at USD 59 billion, out of which nearly 50% went through Mauritius. Besides, more than 450 private equity funds are domiciled in the Mauritius IFC and investing in the African continent. Last year, nearly USD 30 billion investments directed to Africa were structured through Mauritius.
Moreover, the country is on the OECD "white list" of jurisdictions that have substantially implemented internationally agreed tax standards and has also been adhering to compliance regulations. To that end, Mauritius has recently signed the Multilateral Instrument (MLI) developed by the OECD to implement tax treaty related measures aimed at tax avoidance mechanisms and transparency. Besides, Mauritius (BAA1) is among the few African States classified as investment grade country according to Moody’s rating, thus establishing a creditable ecosystem and providing more confidence to the investor.
Mauritius is seen as a model of stability and economic prosperity in the region and envisions to consolidate its position as a regional platform. The consolidation of the Mauritius International Financial Centre (MIFC), the advanced logistics network and ensuring adherence to global best practices in doing business remain the key objectives of the EDB.
As an African country, Mauritius has and continues to be a strategic development partner, in and for, the Continent. The EDB is also expanding its network across the continent through MoU’s with African Investment Promotion Agencies (IPA’s) and positioning Economic Counsellors in selected capitals on the continent. The EDB also holds the directorate for Sub-Saharan Africa with the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA).