More than Rs30 billion has been poured into the shopping malls, also called “mixed use development projects”, around the country from May 2010 till now. And there’s more to come.
According to the Finance and Economic Development Minister, Mr Pravind Jugnauth, Rs40 billion will be invested in real estate projects over the next four years. The minister made the statement during the presentation of the First Mauritius International Investment Forum which will be organised by the Board of Investment from June 15-16.
According to Mr Jugnauth, the construction industry is not the only sector of the economy which will receive high investments. The health sector is also the target of some major developments in the future as the government strives to set up a medical hub in Mauritius.
“There will be investments of around Rs1.8 billion over the next three years in the field of plastic surgery and pharmaceutical projects,” said the minister. A number of foreign investors have expressed their interest in investing in Mauritius following two official trips he made with the BOI to Paris and in London.
The main sectors of interest are renewable energy, information and communication technology, integrated schemes/residential resorts schemes, medical tourism, knowledge hub and financial services. Mr Jugnauth said proper follow-up of the two official trips can help Mauritius aim for a high level of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2011.
FDI has reached a record-breaking Rs14 billion in 2010. “We are very demanding of the BOI as we have set the benchmark very high this year. We want to attain an even higher level of FDI this year. And we will not be satisfied with a marginal increase,” said Mr Jugnauth.
Local investments have not been neglected in the quest for higher levels of FDI. Mr Jugnauth believes that it is important to encourage both local and foreign investments to create more jobs and to accomplish an “economic miracle” like the one which Mauritius experienced in the past.
However, the task is not easy. As Mr Jugnauth puts it, there is “ferocious competition” from other areas such as neighboring Seychelles and emerging African economies.
The minister nevertheless pointed out that the success of Mauritius will lie in its ability to innovate and also to capitalise on “our assets”.
“We have an edge over other countries as we offer a system which is politically stable and which is entrenched in the ideals of democracy. There is liberty of expression in our country and private investments are protected.”
The June forum will showcase the various investment opportunities that Mauritius offers to the global business community. It will also promote Mauritius as a platform for investing in the emerging economies of Africa. Chief guest will be Lord Meghnad Desai, member of the House of Lords in the UK.
By Nilen Kattany