February 2014: Celebrating 46 Years of Economic Progress
Dear Valued Investors,
As our investors of Chinese origin have rightly pointed out, this new year of the galloping horse heralds an era of long-standing projects coming to fruition.
The Fast-Track Committee, as announced in the 2014 National Budget, held its first sitting under the chairmanship of the Financial Secretary. It has demonstrated its effectiveness to potentially unlock investments in areas as varied as education, renewable energy, healthcare, property development and hospitality. This committee will be of a great assistance for the prompt implementation of investment projects.
The month of February has also seen the launch of the Mauritius Africa Fund which will provide seed capital to local investors seeking to expand their economic activities towards the continent. This is expected to boost outward investment projects, thereby not only increasing the island’s economic space but also further forging links between Mauritian businesses and their African counterparts. The network created through the Africa Centre of Excellence is strengthening Mauritius as the platform to invest in Africa. In March, BOI expects to be in Gabon and, in April, host in collaboration with the renowned Financial Times, an investor forum in Lagos.
The ocean economy is another area where Mauritius is making giant strides since the elaboration of a roadmap last October and the setting up of a National Taskforce under the chairmanship of the Secretary to Cabinet in December 2013. This issue of our monthly newsletter brings to you an overview of the opportunities in seven priority areas identified in the roadmap. The drive to project Mauritius as an Ocean State is already in gear. The cohesive approach undertaken by all relevant ministries and agencies is a clear demonstration of the economic power that can be unleashed through joint public/private sector efforts. The liberalisation of bunkering activities, the launching of the first upstream Deep Ocean Water Application project in the region, the positioning of Mauritius as an international ship registration centre with a full ecosystem of services, cruise activities and various actions to explore our seabed for minerals and hydrocarbons are all far-ranging initiatives that have been triggered since January 2014.
Another good piece of news is the complete removal of trade barriers within the SADC community. Since January, imports and exports, even of sensitive products, to member states are exempt of customs duty for goods bearing a valid SADC certificate of origin.
It is, therefore, no surprise that the level of business confidence, as perceived by captains of the industry and measured by MCCI, has shot up significantly this year. And, more recently, IMF’s Press Release of February 05 states that Mauritius maintains a stable macroeconomic environment despite difficult external developments. It projects economic growth at 3.7 % in 2014. Supported by higher external demand, this should be fuelled by strong activity in the seafood, the ICT and financial services sectors. This growth rate is expected to further improve with investments in the private and public sectors.
This issue also contains the findings of a survey of the ICT-BPO sector as well as an interview of Mr. D. Manraj, Financial Secretary.
Finally, the whole nation awaits the National Day celebrations of 12th of March. Mauritius will have reached its 46th year of peaceful independence sustained by political, economic and social stability: a global reference of multi-ethnic and multi-cultural harmony. After last year’s fruitful visit of the President of India, this year Mauritius further enhances its Asia connections with the presence of the Malaysian Prime Minister as the Chief Guest for the celebrations. In the context of his visit, BOI will host a business meet with the Malaysian captains of industry accompanying the Honourable Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak.
We thank you for your continued trust and we look forward to further informing you of investment opportunities in our next issue.
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