The Board of Investment (BOI), Mauritius’ premier investment promotion agency, has taken yet another pioneering step by organising the first ever Conference of Chief Executive Officers of Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) of Africa.

The Mauritius Africa Partnership Conference 2014 was held at the Le Maritim hotel, Balaclava from June 25-26, 2014.

The objective of this conference was to establish greater cooperation at an institutional level and to provide a platform to share experiences, encourage best practices and increase networking across the region.

The event brought together eminent speakers from diverse backgrounds who shared their knowledge, key skills and expertise to ensure that everyone across the continent strives for Africa’s sustainable growth.

In his welcome address, the Chairman of the Board of Investment, Maurice Lam, said that Mauritius is looking at Africa as its next growth frontier, even as it eyes Brazil, and the Latin American region as a whole, to offer opportunities of growth as well.

He added that Mauritius needs a new kind of leadership to face globalisation issues such as the increasing divide between the poor and the rich, and constraint of water resources.

“Leaders of today need to have self-knowledge, resilience and a sense of purpose in order to improve the life of their country’s citizens,” he noted.

In his keynote address, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Utilities, Rashid Beebeejaun, said that this conference forms an integral part of the Mauritius-Africa strategy to reinforce relations and that he anticipates that the recent high-growth rate in the continent will be sustained as Africa is embracing much-needed change.

“Today’s dialogue among us, as African leaders, is less about debt relief, and more about stimulating trade, sustainable growth, job creation, and economic transformation to ensure that wealth is generated and prosperity is enjoyed by our people,” he highlighted.

According to the Deputy Prime Minister, Africa must improve its economic indices and this can be achieved with regional collaboration and economic diversification.

The latter concluded on the note that there are five core elements to be developed in Mauritius’ partnership with Africa: human resource capacity building, accelerating the rise of corporations, promoting investment in Africa, easing visa entry for business people, and opportunities for global business.

Larry Farrell, founder of the California-based residential contractor firm Farrell Company, spoke on entrepreneurship in economy and society. He demonstrated that the driving force behind successful firms, and indeed, successful economies, is entrepreneurship.

“What I want to tell my Mauritian friends is that just because you live on a small island, it does not mean that you cannot give rise entrepreneurs of great vision,” he said.

He concluded on the benefits of creating an entrepreneurial economy as a way alleviate poverty, create prosperity for all, enjoy self-sustaining growth, and attract more foreign direct investment (FDI).

Sridhar Nagarajan, Chief Executive Officer at Standard Chartered Bank, Mauritius, presented on “Why Mauritius for Africa?”

Sridhar Nagarajan highlighted the fact that Mauritius is a facilitator for Africa due to its location, legislation, regulation, and connection to different parts of the world.

“Africa has done very well in transforming itself into an attractive investment destination for FDI. The FDI flows to the continent have actually grown significantly and we are really proud to be a facilitator for investment into Africa,” he said.

Besides, the signing ceremony took place for an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) between Mauritius, as represented by senior advisor to the Prime Minister, Dev Manraj, and Egypt, as represented by the Chairman General Authority for Investment and Free Zones, Hassan Mohamed.

Furthermore, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by BOI Managing Director, Ken Poonoosamy, on behalf of BOI, and by Marthe Minja on behalf of the Investment Promotion Agency of Cameroon (API).

– By Marie-Lorry Coret and Cecilia Samoisi

Image (Cecilia Samoisi): A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by BOI Managing Director, Ken Poonoosamy, on behalf of BOI, and by Marthe Minja on behalf of the Investment Promotion Agency of Cameroon (API).

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