June 2013: Reinforcing ties with Asia
Dear Valued Investors,
The 2013 edition of the World Investment Report (WIR) by UNCTAD confirms the persistent negative mood in global foreign direct investment which dropped by 18% to reach USD 1.35 trillion in 2012.
Despite such a difficult international context, Mauritius successfully managed to improve its flow of foreign investments. According to WIR, FDI inflows in Mauritius increased from USD 273 million in 2011 to USD 361 million in 2012, representing an increase of 32%. In fact, UNCTAD places Mauritius in the top five in the SIDS (Small Island Developing States) category which regroups 29 countries, both in terms of FDI inflows and outflows. The UN agency also acknowledges the successful diversification of the Mauritian economy from agriculture and manufacturing towards financial services, business process outsourcing, luxury real estate and medical tourism.
Global trends in FDI performance support the strategy of the Mauritian Government to diversify its market focus from traditional to the rapidly growing Asian economies. While established markets are slowing down in outward FDI stocks, Asian economies have positioned themselves as the leaders in outward investment. With USD 123 billion and USD 84 billion of outward FDI, respectively, Japan and China have joined the league of the top three countries in the world.
To leverage such massive flows, the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Honourable Xavier-Luc Duval, announced in the 2013 National Budget that the Board of Investment needed to have a special focus on Asia. In this context, BOI has engaged in a series of promotional initiatives to increase our visibility in targeted Asian markets comprising India, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and China.
To affirm his conviction regarding the potential of the Asian market, Honourable Duval led an important investment promotion mission at the head of a strong Mauritian private sector delegation to Beijing, Qingdao and Shanghai from 24th to 28th June 2013.
In line with the strategy of the Government to further promote Mauritius as the bridge to Africa, Honourable Duval held important discussions on the importance of nurturing business relations between the two nations, especially with respect to the use of Mauritius as an investment and trading platform within the ‘Golden Triangle’ linking Asia, Middle East and Africa.
During interactions with senior ministers and officials as well as with the business community at large, the Vice Prime Minister announced measures which will enhance the position of the Mauritian seaport as a centre of distribution for the region. Furthermore, in view of boosting connectivity between Asia and Africa, Chinese shipping companies have been invited to use Mauritius as a port of call while serving the route to Africa.
Chinese companies find in Mauritius an ideal business platform to access countries of the region. The ratification of the agreement between the Government of the Republic of Congo and the Government of the Republic of Mauritius regarding the protection of investments by both States will serve to increase the confidence of investors in our financial centre. This agreement will certainly add to the benefits that can be accrued to Chinese companies which are investing in Africa.
Given the significant level of interest from the Asian market, we are committed to further intensifying our presence and activities across these countries. With nearly 37% of FDI flows for the first quarter of 2013 originating from the Asian region, we firmly believe that we are pursuing the right strategy.
BOI has established very close contacts with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). We wish to place on record our appreciation for the extensive support we have received from the Council for the joint organisation of investment seminars in Beijing and Shanghai during the ministerial mission.
In this issue, we have also tried to give you an overview of the potential of the ICT/BPO industry. The International ICT-BPO Investment Forum 2013 attracted about 150 delegates and the performance of the sector was acclaimed by attendees.
We look forward to your feedback.