Reinforcing its status as the gateway of choice for private equities dedicated to Africa, Mauritius is currently hosting the 4th annual edition of the Private Equity Mauritius Conference, organized by the Board of Investment (BOI), the island’s premier investment promotion agency.

More than 250 professionals in the private equity sphere from over 20 countries are attending the two-day event, held over 25 and 26 September, 2014, at the Westin Turtle Bay in Balaclava, northern Mauritius.

Distinguished high-level speakers from Commonwealth Development Corporation, African Development Bank and European Investment Bank are gracing the event, where the opening address was delivered by Mauritius International Trade Minister Arvin Boolell.

Boolell said yesterday, at the event themed “Capitalising on Africa’s Growth,” that the emerging continent of Africa is the current frontier of growth, and offers growing investment opportunities to global Private Equity (PE) firms.

The minister stressed that Africa is rising and opening up tremendous opportunities for the rest of the world, noting the increasing trend of big private equity firms eying the African market to capitalize on the great potential offered by the continent.

He observed that the contribution of PE firms goes beyond merely providing capital, with their involvement leading to learning best practices, wider networking opportunities and improvements in environmental, social and corporate governance policies.

Finally, their investment in the continent also culminates in poverty alleviation through proliferation of employment opportunities.

The minister next spoke of how Mauritius, as a regional financial hub, was well positioned to be the platform for such investments in Africa and across the region.

In this context, he highlighted that the island boasts world-class financial center, state-of-the art infrastructure, business-friendly jurisdiction, as well as stable political and financial environment and finally, a strategic geographical location in the Indian Ocean to better serve as the gateway to Africa.

Mauritius remains a service centre of choice for doing business with Africa, he noted, adding that the island economy is now going beyond that status and putting in concerted efforts achieve a deeper and more meaningful regional integration in Africa.

According to him, for intra-Africa investment to prosper, business representatives and investors must have facility to move around easily, and Mauritius has done a lot in that context by abolishing visa requirements for as many as 48 African countries prior to travelling to the island.

Next up, BOI Managing Director Ken Poonoosamy said that the main aim of the conference is to provide useful information to potential investors on Mauritius as an investment platform for Africa.

Since 2012, companies from Mauritius have invested in high value projects worth USD3.5 billion in Africa, he noted, showcasing how the island is uniquely positioned to serve the continent’s growth needs by providing necessary investments for infrastructure.

He concluded on the note that the prosperity and growth of Mauritius is intrinsically linked with the economic and technological advancement of the continent, as the continent becomes the global magnet for massive investments.

All in all, the event provides participating organizations with the opportunity to catch up with the latest regional Private Equity investment trends and developments; explore, discuss and invest in key projects in African countries; discuss latest regulatory trends with respect to Private Equity; learn the benefits of Mauritius as the regional financial and investment platform; and discuss the potential of the blue economy for diversification of Private Equity investments.

Besides, this year’s conference has a special focus on the strategy of Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) for Africa, the increasing role of private equity funds in socio-economic development and their impact on investment across the continent.

The conference boasts an impressive line-up, featuring Martyn Davies, CEO of Frontier Advisory as keynote speaker; Terry Smith, the founder and CEO of Fundsmith; Nainesh Jaisingh, Managing Director and Global Co-Head of Standard Chartered Private Equity; Line Picard, Chief Private Equity Officer of the African Development Bank (AfDB); Peter Ballinger, Managing Director of US agency Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC); Ashvin Roy, Head of Private Equity at State General Reserve Fund, Government of the Sultanate of Oman, and Patience Matshe, Director of Funds Management and Mauritus Office, PTA Bank, among others.

Image (Cecilia Samoisi, File Photo): BOI Managing Director Ken Poonoosamy said that the main aim of the conference is to provide useful information to potential investors on Mauritius as an investment platform for Africa.

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