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Mauritius offers Africa investment route for Indian firms

NEW DELHI: Having been a preferred route for foreign investors coming to India for a long time, Mauritius now wants Indian companies to use its platform for their outward investments to Africa.

Presenting it as a 'gateway to Africa' for investments in various sectors, a high-level delegation from Mauritius, comprising policymakers and industry players, has come here to meet industry bodies and other stakeholders to apprise them about the benefits of the Indian Ocean island nation.

"We have recently seen an enormous increase in the number of global business companies being incorporated in Mauritius and targeting Africa," Mauritius' integrated financial sector regulator FSC (Financial Services Commission) Chairman Marc Hein told PTI here.

Hein, who is part of this delegation, said "this increase demonstrates clearly the reality that Mauritius is now truly an important gateway to investments into Anglophone and Francophone Africa."

The term 'Anglophone Africa' is used for African countries with large English-speaking population and these include Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, and Nigeria.

The Francophone Africa is a contiguous area in West Africa and Central Africa, as also Madagascar and Djibouti, where French-speaking population is high.

Mauritius itself is a multi-lingual country with a large part of its working population speaking English, French and Hindi among other languages.

Hein said outward FDIs by Indian companies into Africa, by using Mauritius, would be a natural progression for the age-old ties between the two countries, which have shared very close economic ties for many years.

The Mauritius government's investment promotion agency, Board of Investments (BOI) Director Shamima Mallam Hassam also said that there were immense opportunities for Indian companies in Africa.

"As Africa continues to attract attention of global investors, traders and private equities, we see an increasingly important role for Mauritius to play as the ideal and preferred gateway and access centre to the continent," she said.

"To boost the attractiveness of Mauritius as a manufacturing and trading platform for Africa, the government has introduced a new measure whereby manufacturing companies which are producing in Mauritius for exports to Africa can enjoy Freeport Company status, thus benefit of the duty free and quota free market access to Africa," Hassam added.

According to Mauritius officials and industry leaders, the country can become a stepping stone for Indian corporates into Africa, as it offers global investors an enabling business and international climate to both manage risks and optimise returns.

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