Mauritius positions itself as Gateway to Africa for Indian businesses

Comprehensive bilateral economic treaty will boost opportunities in a big way

NOVEMBER 22, 2021, DUBAI: Mauritius should be seen as a great gateway into the larger African continent by Indian businesses after the two countries signed an economic pact earlier this year, top government and industry officials told a bilateral business forum at the Indian pavilion in EXPO2020 Dubai on Monday.

It is expected that Africa’s economy would expand by 10 times to $30 trillion by 2050, providing huge business opportunities to Indian companies. The continent’s population is expected to reach 2.6 billion in the same period, they pointed out.

Speakers emphasized that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Cooperation Agreement (CECPA) between India and Mauritius that came into force on April 1 provided Indian investors the opportunity to consider Mauritius as a  stepping stone for Africa.

“The Government of Mauritius has come up with a lot of incentives. And they will be reaching out to the private players in India as well. I feel there is a need to look into this proposal seriously,” said Mr. Janesh Kain, India’s Deputy High Commissioner to Mauritius.

He urged Indian businesses to see Mauritius “as an opportunity for the greater African continent.”

Although India is one of the biggest trading partners of Mauritius, the bilateral trade and business potential has not been completely realised, he said, adding that there was a proposal to set up a pharma hub that would not only benefit Mauritius but also the African continent.

Secretary-General, Mauritius Chamber of Commerce Dr. Yousouf Ismael, also reiterated bilateral opportunities and in the wider African continent.

Dr. Ismael said, “If we were to look at the three important sub-themes of the actual Dubai Expo, it’s about mobility. It’s about sustainability, and it’s about the opportunity. I think the three words, as much as the overall philosophy of the Dubai Expo, is an important message for all of us present today because this is what we have to do  as members creating not only our own destiny but also our own future.”

“Mauritius is a natural gateway to Africa for trade, as it is located at a strategic geographic position in the Indian ocean. Indian companies can take advantage of this fact that Mauritius is a Free Trade Agreement member of the Common Market for Southern and Eastern Africa and the Southern African Development Community,” said Mr. Shakeel Jaulim, Pavilion Director, Mauritius Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Earlier, Ganapathi Ramachandran, Member, FICCI Africa Council & Chairman, Trigyn Technologies Limited, said, “In recent years, India has stepped up its engagement with Africa, specifically, with Mauritius, which is an important trade partner of India in the region.”

The CECPA was first trade agreement that India has signed with any African country, showing how special Mauritius is for India, he added.

“In FY20, India exported goods worth $662 million and imported commodities worth $28 million from Mauritius, which is below existing potential, but I feel it can be substantially increased now if the opportunities of the CECPA are fully utilised,” he said.

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