Mauritius attractive investment gateway to Africa: Investors

19 Sep. 2013

MAURITIUS: To tap Africa's vast growth potential, the island nation of Mauritius could provide a good platform for making investments in the region, feel experts and investors from India and other places.

Reflecting a mood of optimism amid challenging global economic conditions, participants at an international private equity conference here exchanged ideas and views on tapping Africa's growth potential.

One of the most prosperous countries in Africa, the scenic island nation has a population of about 1.3 million while the GDP per capita is estimated to be around $9,541.

Indian business conglomerate Tata group's financial services arm Tata Capital said Mauritius is always up there whenever investors look at the future prospects of Africa.

Tata Capital's Senior Vice President (Private Equity) Ashutosh Tyagi, who was here to participate in the conference, said: "For private equity funds, Mauritius makes sense."

Tata Capital is already planning to launch a $300 million Africa-focused private equity fund.

Speaking at the conference, Mauritius' Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade Arvin Boolell said that Africa holds a lot promise.

He noted that there is political will to ensure "economies of scale" in the region and there was no "one size fits all for Africa", thus underscoring the importance of Mauritius as an investment gateway.

Referring to Mauritius, a South Korean delegate at the conference opined, "(It has) beautiful people, beautiful jurisdiction... (it) can attract foreign investments".

China Africa Development Fund's Executive Director Luis Zhengyi said more and more Chinese companies are expected to utilise Mauritius as a platform for various investment activities into Africa.

"Mauritius can be the gateway for African markets," Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) Executive Director Kimihiko Inaba said.

Bringing together the diverse views and perspectives from different parts of the globe, including many African nations, the two-day private equity conference, held in this scenic coastal town from September 12-13, witnessed many voices betting on Mauritius as an attractive investment destination.

The event was organised by Board of Investment (BOI), the national investment promotion agency of Mauritius government.

BOI Managing Director Ken Poonosamy said that the board is looking to make Mauritius a platform for African markets.

About 140 foreign delegates from around 30 countries participated in the event.

Discussions focused on diverse topics including regulatory developments and challenges for private equity across Africa and on rising flow of Asian private equity investments in Africa.