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February 2013: Celebrating 45 years of sustained Economic Progress

Dear Valued investors,Ken En

A warm welcome to this edition of our newsletter. The short month of February has indeed been rich with activities.

In line with our strategy to further promote our emerging sectors, BOI organized the Mauritius International Knowledge Investment Forum (MIKIF) 2013, its first local event for this year.  This high level conference has successfully galvanized support from investors as well as international education providers in placing Mauritius as a credible location for higher education. Although certain challenges still exist on the path to positioning Mauritius as a knowledge centre of excellence, MIKIF 2013 has shed light on the enormous potential that this emerging sector holds for the Mauritian Economy, especially with the growing interest of the private sector to invest. A total of MUR 5 billion of investment is projected in this sector for the next 3-year horizon. Furthermore, after having welcomed more than 1,200 foreign students last year, we expect that the enrolment of international students will hit the 2,000 mark this year.

Regarding our African strategy, the partnership sealed in early February between the Government of Gabon, through the Fonds Gabonnais D’Investissements Strategiques(FGIS), and the Ireland Blyth Limited Group for the development of the Gabonese seafood industry augurs well. It bears testimony to the capacity of Mauritian corporate groups to participate actively in the growth and development of the African continent.

This issue of our newsletter, therefore, features an interesting article on this transfer of know-how and expertise which ushers in new avenues of cooperation. Such opportunities confirm that our promotional campaigns on the African continent must be stepped up and sustained. In this context, BOI has been active in enhancing visibility for intra-Africa investment, trade and business services by leading a road show to Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa as well as participating in the Mining Indaba in South Africa in early February.

As presented in our January newsletter, our strategy for the year comprises a special focus on consolidating our traditional sectors as well as further leveraging emerging markets.  To this end, we were present in India, in view of highlighting the potential of Mauritius as a location for Indian textile manufacturers wishing to tap the promising African market by establishing a base in the Freeport. The "India-Mauritius-South Africa Textile Corridor" can become a reality very soon. The materialization of this project will be the immediate outcome of the various advantages that can be drawn upon by manufacturing companies operating in the Freeport. In fact, Freeport companies exporting their manufactured goods principally to Africa can capitalize on the benefits accruing through the “two-stage” transformation process that confers duty-free access under the SADC protocol. The mission led by the Honourable Minister of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection received a very positive response in the area of bilateral trade and investment relations between India and Mauritius.

Finally, the signing of the framework agreement on trade and economic cooperation between Turkey and Mauritius is a very encouraging move that will provide further market access to our exporters and investors.

As we prepare to celebrate 45 years of sustained economic progress, I wish to reiterate our full commitment for the prompt and successful materialization of all your projects.

Ken Poonoosamy

Managing Director