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September 2012: Exploring the emerging potential of Africa

Dear Valued investors,Ken En

The fast evolving world economic order driven by the vicissitudes of market forces and preferences is pointing to the rise and potential of Africa as a new investment frontier.

As testified by some of the leading global investors, with its long experience as an internationally recognized investment platform, Mauritius is well poised to serve as the strongest bridge linking Africa to the world.

In this context, the Board of Investment organized the second edition of the Private Equity Mauritius 2012 conference in mid-September to showcase why Mauritius has become the preferred jurisdiction and home for Africa-targeting Private Equity funds. The two-day conference attracted over 350 delegates from the private equity world from 33 countries and had an impressive line-up of some of the world's most respected speakers as well as senior ministers from Congo, Gabon and South Africa.

As the PE industry undergoes its own expansion and diversification, Africa will be attracting more investments particularly in the area of infrastructure, telecommunications, financial services, banking and consumables. Reiterating his conviction about Africa' s future, in his official launching address, Honourable Xavier-Luc Duval, GCSK, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, reaffirmed the vision and determination to enhance the position of Mauritius as the natural gateway for Africa, while maintaining compliance with internationally recognized best practices and standards. He invited Private Equity operators to further explore the vast benefits that our jurisdiction offers.

With growing intra-Africa investment, the continent also represents a huge potential for Mauritius in terms of FDI. Our ­on-going efforts to further attract quality foreign direct investment into Mauritius from a diversified market base have seen a rise of nearly 20 % in FDI for the first six months of 2012, reaching MUR 4 billion (USD133 M) from MUR 3.4 billion a year ago. For the first semester of 2012, South Africa has been the leading contributor with some MUR 1.3 billion.

On the trade front, the growing China-Africa trade corridor represents enormous prospects, with the forecast that bilateral trade between the two regions will double in the next four years to reach USD 300 billion. Currently, over USD 100 billion of China's trade with Africa transit through the Indian Ocean annually. Leveraging on this potential, BOI led a road show to China and Hong Kong in late September to promote the preferred market access which Mauritius enjoys in Africa as well as the exceptional benefits that its secure freeport trading and logistics platform offers in this trade corridor.

I wish you all an enjoyable read and assure you of our best support.

Ken Poonoosamy

Managing Director