Dear Valued Investors,
January 2012 was marked by the release of the tracking by The Heritage Foundation, in partnership with the Wall Street Journal, of the march of economic freedom around the world. The influential Index of Economic Freedom lists Mauritius in its top 10 global league. This is a first for a Sub-Saharan African country.
Furthermore, the newly released Economist Intelligence Unit's Index of Democracy places Mauritius among the world’s first twenty-five “full democracies”.
These reports are indeed a good encouragement. Their ratings confirm our efforts to improve the overall investment climate and to continually ensure that all odds are on our side, be it in terms of ease of doing business, good governance, or investment incentives.
As a small open economy, Mauritius banks on its international visibility. The global situation seems, unfortunately, blurred for the moment. On the basis of the publication of various reports, it is foreseen that the world economic growth will hardly rise above 2.6 per cent. The horizon waxes even dimmer for Europe with a prolonged crisis and an ominous recession. UNCTAD’s latest outlook highlights the negative impact of these factors on FDI, pointing out uncertainties about global FDI availability, flows and growth in 2012.
The current situation on the Old Continent, however, presents some opportunities for Mauritius. BOI was there this month on an investment promotion mission headed by the Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Honourable Xavier-Luc Duval. Our road shows in London, Paris, Brussels and Milan were engineered to boost our drive to position Mauritius as an emerging outward investment destination for the European business community.
On the regional level, BOI will be directly involved in the organisation of two business meetings next month in New Delhi and Mumbai during the State Visit of Dr. the Honourable Prime Minister to India.
Also, Mauritius is consolidating its privileged economic ties with the United States. This month, a high-level delegation led by Mr. Demetrios Marantis, Deputy US Trade Representative, was in Mauritius for the 5th Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Council meeting between our two countries. The discussions fired up the momentum to enhance our trade and investment links, especially through a Bilateral Investment Agreement. The signals from the US side indicating a possible extension of the third country fabric provision under AGOA boosted the morale of our textile firms currently exporting to the US.
In a broad way, BOI's strategy in 2012 will be extensively driven by the promotion of services-oriented industries. The choice of the knowledge sector for our first event of the year, the Mauritius International Knowledge Investment Forum (MIKIF) 2012, is a clear determination of our engagement in the development of high-multiplier sectors. The attendance of internationally renowned learning institutions, high-calibre experts and important foreign investors at MIKIF 2012 serve as a signpost to the ambition of Mauritius as a regional knowledge hub.
Mauritius honours its pledge of openness to foreign investors. The possibility for them to gain permanent residence and eventually acquire an apartment for their personal residence is now a reality. Applications to the relevant authorities can be submitted as from this month. This is an implementation of our policy aimed at boosting confidence and assuring investors of the permanence of their presence in Mauritius.
This newsletter contains a special feature on our manufacturing sector, the highest contributor to our GDP. It is an energetic plea for the renewed vitality of this industry now geared towards high-tech manufacturing.
Finally, giving honour where it is due, we commit to your consideration our Chairman's analysis and challenge as he opens the window wider on Africa and evokes the strategic role that Mauritius is called to assume most proactively in a scenario of intensifying south-south business between Asia and Africa.
On this note, I wish to reassure you of our full commitment to serve you to the best of our ability. We wish you all an enjoyable read.