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December 2012: Retrospect 2012 & Prospect 2013

Dear Valued investors,Ken En

It is time to wrap up 2012. So, welcome to this end-of-year edition of our newsletter.

Against a backdrop of unceasing economic uncertainty, turmoil in financial markets and slow growth affecting even the strongest economic power houses, countries worldwide continued to liberalize and promote foreign investment as a means to support economic growth and development.

The year has had its up and down times.

But as affirmed by Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, at the ceremony for the IMF’s new training institute for the Sub-Saharan African region in Mauritius, our economy has witnessed “remarkable success despite challenging environments in Europe and the USA”.  Mrs. Christine Lagarde commended the endogenous capacity of Mauritius along with the development strategy devised by our Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, with the support of our Prime Minister, based on “reinforcing infrastructures and developing Mauritius as a platform for training and technology”.    

In retrospect, we have been challenged to review and streamline our internal processes while intensifying our efforts to enhance the position of Mauritius as a business-friendly investment destination.

The clouds that momentarily eclipsed our endeavours were finally chased away by our relentless efforts to improve the investment climate and streamline our system for business facilitation. This was crowned by the announcement of the ranking of Mauritius in the 19th position globally in the Doing Business Report.

Overall, we have been on target regarding our investment promotion programme. All missions which were conducted and all conferences that were programmed have had the expected positive outcome. New projects were implemented and expansion projects promptly initiated.

The first meeting of the International Advisory Board last May led to the launching of the Africa Centre of Excellence for Business as part of our strategy to act as bridge to the African continent.

When we compare committed FDI with realised FDI, we see that there have been inward FDI flows in various sectors, namely Hospitality & Property Development, Healthcare, Education, Agro-industry, Seafood, Freeport and Financial Services. However, the most important flows have been in Manufacturing, Freeport, Healthcare and Financial Services & Research.  Investment in the Mauritian economy remains highly significant with an estimated average output multiplier of 1.5.

We shall spotlight some achievements. In 2012 alone, the ICT sector welcomed over 100 new companies, creating some 1,000 jobs representing an increase of 5.3% in terms of employment.  The recent report published by the Everest Group confirms that Mauritius remains a preferred destination for ICT-related activities. The island is 30 to 40% more competitive than Eastern Europe and 10 to 20% more competitive than Northern Africa, with a distinctive advantage  in bilingual activities. 

Furthermore, in spite of stagnation in high-end tourism, regarding the medical tourism segment, the number of foreign patients travelling to Mauritius for treatment passed the 20,000 mark. This represents a 70% increase compared to 2011.

While building and maintaining a generally favourable investment climate, we have identified current and future industry trends which point to strong economic impetus and career opportunities.

Africa has been very high on our agenda in 2012. It will remain so, for global investors increasingly look at exploring unprecedented opportunities that this last investment frontier offers.  We are firmly
optimistic about the pivotal role that Mauritius is being called upon to play in this process as the leading investment, business and trading platform of choice for Africa. 

The launch of the Africa Center of Excellence for Business supports our strategy to further put Mauritius at the forefront of investing into Africa.  Not only have we witnessed increasing interest in the use of our investment platform, as confirmed by over 50% of all new global structures created in Mauritius targeting Africa, but we also see more MNCs actively looking at Mauritius as their regional base of operation.

Looking ahead, we shall highlight trends and activate change makers. For instance, through measures announced in the 2013 National Budget pertaining to Freeport status being granted to those manufacturing companies targeting the African market and the introduction of Regional Head Quarters and Regional Treasury Centre, we expect to gather significant interest from global and regional operators across various sectors to set up base in Mauritius in 2013. 

To this end, we remain committed to gearing up our marketing campaigns and efforts in new and upcoming markets like China, India, the Far East and the Middle East as well as Africa, while further consolidating our traditional markets in the West.

With expectancy we look forward to an even more challenging but productive and fulfilling year in 2013.

Therefore, on behalf of our Chairman, our Board of Directors and the entire BOI team, I wish to take this opportunity to wish to all our investors and stakeholders a very prosperous New Year 2013. 

We look forward to collaborating and serving you with renewed dedication.

Ken Poonoosamy Managing Director