Property development continued to be the main driver for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the island economy last year, even as the seafood, tourism and ICT sectors tried to give the real estate sector a run for investors’ money.

Latest figures from the Board of Investment (BOI), Mauritius’ premier investment promotion authority, showed that as many as 18 Real Estate Scheme (RES) projects representing a total investment value of Rs 5.9 billion were approved by the BOI in 2013, against Rs 1.6 billion in 2012.

Thus, the RES scheme witnessed a stellar rise, achieving an almost four-fold jump in investment inflows.

Also, with the continued development of projects under the Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS) and the Real Estate Scheme (RES),the number of residential units under construction in 2013 rose to more than 200 units in 41 projects, compared to 144 units in 22 projects in 2011.

Growth in the sector was largely driven by the construction of office buildings and luxurious residential development. Azuri IRS, La Balise Marina, Matala, Le Domaine des Alizées, Soleil Océan, Terrace de Martello and La Tourelle were some of the important projects completed last year in these categories.

Managing director Ken Poonoosamy stressed in BOI’s latest newsletter that the investment promotion authority’s marketing thrust is “gradually correcting the ‘imbalance’ in FDI inflows”, even as he noted that, despite efforts to diversify, “real estate is still the driver for FDI”.

He went on to highlight other sectors achieving robust growth in FDI, stating that the seafood sector has experienced success with teeming investment and an increase in export value. French fishing major Sapmer inaugurated a new processing plant and storage facility in November, while Xinfa Overseas Company Ltd, a Chinese integrated fishing company, started operations last month with total investments of Rs 600 million.

Also, despite the tourism sector going through a very testing season, Poonoosamy noted that it has witnessed new hotel projects with sizeable investments. The Holiday Inn Airport project entailed an investment of Rs 840 million and created some 130 jobs, the Centara Hotel involved investments of Rs 600 million and created around 120 jobs while the latest entrant in hospitality, Zilwa Attitude, which opened in December, saw investments to the tune of Rs 1.4 billion.

Finally, the ICT sector also demonstrated its robustness, hitting the 20,000-job mark, while the manufacturing sector reconnected with investment flows, he stated. For 2013, FDI in manufacturing is expected to be around Rs 200 million while 130 jobs will be created.

Meanwhile, for 2014, the objectives set would be reached through a series of targeted promotional campaigns that will include BOI’s presence at international conferences, the organisation of road shows and missions in key markets across Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe and Northern America.

Finally, in line with Budget 2014, a series of six conferences will also be organized and coordinated by BOI both locally as well as in Africa, to ensure greater visibility for Mauritius as a preferred investment destination for Africa and Asia flows.

Caption: The real estate scheme (RES) achieved an almost four-fold jump in investment inflows with Rs 5.9 billion worth of projects being approved by the BOI in 2013, compared to Rs 1.6 billion in 2012. (Image: Azuri)