Mauritius, in the southwest Indian ocean, was often used by European navigators and traders as a useful island to replenish their stores when sailing to Asia to trade for goods and spices. Today, the island plays a similar role, but this time helping Indian investors and businessmen explore the untapped business and investment potential in Africa.
The Indian President, Mrs Shrimati Pratibha Patil (right), came to Mauritius in late April on an official visit to encourage this Indo-Mauritian partnership, recognising that more and more Indians are approaching African markets through Mauritius.
The Mauritian Finance Minister, Pravind Jugnauth, told Indian investors and service providers accompanying Patil that they can use Mauritius to provide financial and legal services and structure their international investments, particularly into Africa.
"Africa offers huge investment opportunities. This continent is set to become the next pioneer market. In this regard, Mauritius has taken a number of measures to position itself as a good investment platform between Asia and Africa by signing several bilateral agreements with the main African countries, 14 double taxation avoidance treaties and 17 investment protection agreements," Jugnauth says.
Mauritians, who are 70% of Indian descent, are doing more: Industry and Commerce Minister Showkatally Soodhun said that Indians can benefit from the preferential access allowed to Mauritian goods and services as a member of SADC and Comesa to a market of more than 500m people in southern and eastern Africa.
He observed that there is wide scope in new sectors that have emerged in recent...