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Finance Minister Xavier Duval yesterday launched the Mauritius-Africa Fund with a seed capital of Rs 500 million, to encourage local enterprises to invest in Africa. The Mauritius-Africa Fund, put in place as part of government initiatives under Budget 2014, will be chaired by Financial Secretary Dev Manraj, and has a two-fold objective.

First, it will participate in the equity financing of businesses, investing in viable projects in any African country, to be capped at 10 per cent of the share capital of the enterprise.

Secondly, the fund will offer fee paying consultancy services on the continent to government and public sector companies, in fields where the country has a competitive advantage. This will have the added benefit of providing jobs to Mauritian professionals and consultants.

At the launch of the fund, Duval noted that Mauritius is intensifying its efforts to provide support to local investors for forays into the African continent, which represents tremendous investment opportunities.

Mauritius is now a key player on the African Growth agenda following the creation of the Africa strategy, he noted.

The newly created Africa Centre for Business Excellence, a Board of Investment (BOI) initiative, has further helped position the country as a gateway to Africa by identifying business and employment opportunities for Mauritians, he observed.

Africa is an emerging market, he added, and is projected to register an annual growth of 6% over the next decade according to the International Monetary Fund.

He went on to highlight several spheres where Mauritius can strengthen economic cooperation with the African continent such as financial services, medical facilities, education sector and the ocean strategy, among others.

Duval also spoke of upcoming strategies to increase the country’s visibility on the African continent.

The export to Africa strategy where the government will assist Mauritian exports enterprises eying the African markets, and the Export Credit Guarantee Insurance where the government will provide a 50 per cent subsidy on the cost of Credit Guarantee Insurance for exports to Africa, were some of the schemes highlighted.

Mauritius will further cement its position as the gateway to Africa by organizing six high level conferences under the BOI across the continent to showcase Mauritius as a trusted partner, he added.

Moreover, the BOI will host in June 2014 an annual conference of Chief Executive Officers of all Investment Promotion Agencies in Africa, to establish greater cooperation at the institutional level, share experience, encourage best practices and increase networking, he concluded.

Image (via GIS): The Mauritius-Africa Fund with a seed capital of Rs 500 million, aims at encouraging local enterprises to invest in Africa.

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