Throughout 2017, BOI organised several roadshows and promotional missions as well as participated in Government initiatives to achieve its targets.
Some of the key projects facilitated and major initiatives to improve the product offering are summarized in this section.
Promotion and facilitation
The ICT/BPO sector is reinventing itself, and BOI has played an intrinsic role in attracting new players into the market as well as assisting existing companies to expand their activities. Convergys (customer relationship management), Vanuatu Services (Fintech), Mascareignes Connect (IOT services), CMKG (legal BPO services), Vandatel (call centre activities) and Stratalis (Web analytics) have set up operations while Allianz, VWR, Orange Business Services, Ceridian, SD Worx, Accenture, Outremer Telecom and Euro CRM have expanded their activities.
During the year, there has been the establishment of an in-lagoon aquaculture project, the registration of 9 new long line fishing vessels as well as the establishment of the Bourbon Group with future operations in the oil and gas support sector specialised in vessel operations (ROVs, search vessels, drill vessels). On the other hand, contracts for exploration of the maritime zone (JMA and EEZ) for hydrocarbons have been provided to 7 respondents following the Expression of Interest launched by the Government.
5 new renewable energy projects secured an Energy Purchase Agreement and are under pre-implementation phases. In addition, BOI is involved in the facilitation for licenses for the Deep Ocean Water Application project, which is at the EIA stage.
3 smart city projects, namely Uniciti, Cap Tamarin and Mon Tresor, have been granted all the necessary permits and clearances. On the other hand, 5 companies have started construction under the Property Development Scheme.
Furthermore, there are 40 manufacturing and warehousing project proposals for implementation within the Riche Terre Business and Industrial Park following the launch of an expression of interest in February 2017 by BOI.
12 projects, representing a total Qualified Production Expenditure of MUR 927.9 million, were realised under the Film Rebate Scheme in 2017. An estimated number of 720 local crew and 400 local cast (supporting and leading cast & extras) have been employed on the production set. One of the major projects included the shooting of the movie ‘Serenity’ which is being produced by IM Global, the leading Hollywood film finance and production company.
Meanwhile, Light and Light, a full-fledged Film Production equipment company, established its operations in Mauritius in February 2017 and has since serviced some 10 productions while Collective Dreams Studios, a South African company, invested in the setting up of a film studio. The studio will handle post production of feature films and TV serial production.
Investment has been mainly from local sources, amounting to approximately MUR 200 million, and primarily in residential care home/nursing home projects such as Les Nenuphars and Nemorin Residential Care Home. In addition, Axonova, a biotech company involved in research and pre-clinical trials, is currently setting-up at Ferney.
Middlesex University Mauritius Branch Campus has partnered with Medine Group to construct a state-of-the-art university campus within Medine Smart City at Flic-en-Flac, accommodating up to 1,400 students. The African Leadership College has set up a private tertiary educational institution at Beau-Plan Business Park, in collaboration Glasgow Caledonian University from UK, to offer undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. The African Leadership College is also constructing a residential campus in Pamplemousses.
Moreover, the American Campus, the first university offering American degrees in Mauritius, is operational since March 2017.
During the year 2017, several important manufacturing projects in the areas of adhesives, specialty nets, construction bars (steel & aluminum), stationery, textiles (uniform & workwear) and flexible packaging have been materialised. Empak and Optsun are some of those companies that have opted to establish their operations in Mauritius.
BOI facilitated the setting up of Mauristea Investment Co. Ltd, a major stakeholder in the tea sector, which has also acquired the ex-Dubreuil tea factory.
On the local front, BOI has been involved in the organization of several workshops aimed at developing new sectors of activity for the economy. Workshops on the Ocean economy in collaboration with the World Bank, on Marine Biotechnology with the US Embassy and on the setting up of a Fintech Association were organized during the year. BOI also organized the very first edition of the Mauritius Cinema Week in October 2017 which has witnessed the visit of several celebrities from Bollywood, Hollywood and elsewhere, promoting Mauritius as a film shooting destination of choice.
Driving the innovation agenda
Following proclamation of the legislation by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development in October 2016, the Board of Investment published the Guidelines of the Regulatory Sandbox License, which include information pertaining to the submission procedure, required documents, license request evaluation, project monitoring and other relevant information.
Five (5) Regulatory Sandbox projects have already been approved by BOI, namely:
Fundkiss Technologies Limited for an online peer-to-peer lending platform;
Laboratoire International de Bio Analyse (LIBA) for manufacturing of patient-specific AutoRegenic cells and preparation and delivery of spinal cord Autoregenic cells implantation package;
ITOO Film Services Ltd for issuance of film completion guarantee bonds;
Salt Lending Technologies for a platform allowing blockchain-based assets as collateral; and
Selfkey Foundation for distributed ledger based identification system.
BOI is also in receipt of several projects in Fintech, life sciences, renewable energy and cleantech, amongst others, which are currently under consideration for a Regulatory Sandbox License.
Mauritius witnessed a fall in ranking in the 2017 World Bank Doing Business Report. BOI has since been engaged in a series of high level initiatives at the national level in order to improve the ranking of Mauritius in the 2018 Report. The numerous reforms undertaken have indeed resulted in a major accomplishment, with Mauritius being ranked 25th in the world in terms of the ease of doing business, representing a significant leap of 24 places in the rankings. The following actions have contributed to this improvement:
The Board of Investment has actively engaged with the World Bank team on the Doing Business aspect, following which the World Bank has recognized 4 reforms and corrections in 8 indicators.
The Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2017 was enacted in May 2017 and brought amendments to no less than 26 legislations.
In addition, the Global Competitiveness Index 2016-2017 ranked Mauritius 45th out of 138 economies.
Other initiatives have been launched in a bid to improve visibility for investors. The Doing Business page on BOI’s website has been revamped with a focus on the lifecycle of a company from the start of its operations to exit procedures. The webpage provides comprehensive information on all doing business aspects, including indicative costs for companies.
The BOI has also been spearheading the e-licensing project, which aims at connecting all regulatory agencies on a single platform for the application of different licenses, thus reducing the need for agency hopping.
The Africa Centre of Excellence has also been involved in a number of initiatives to position Mauritius as a hub for the region. 4 companies have set up their Regional Headquarters in Mauritius while 1 has set up a manufacturing plant in Mauritius. In addition, following the missions organized with the private sector, 4 projects were secured by local companies.