The first edition of the Mauritius International Investment Forum 2011 which is being held at Intercontinental Resort hotel, Balaclava represents an opportunity for local and international businessmen to assess investment opportunities offered in the country.
In his opening speech, the Prime Minister, Dr Navin Ramgoolam paid his respect to his former lecturer Lord Desai who taught him Economics at the London school of Economics.
“I never thought that one day I will be speaking and he will be listening,” he said.
Ramgoolam who officially opened the session shared his vision of taking Mauritius from the status of an upper middle income class to that of a developed nation. This vision can be turned into reality by creating a business-friendly environment for investors.
“During the last five years, Mauritius had attracted FDI inflows of some Rs 53 billion. This is more than the total of all FDI during the previous four decades,” said Ramgoolam.
Last year, Mauritius attracted the highest level of FDI in its history, nearly Rs 14 billion. The trend is continuing mainly due to the political stability and democracy in the country.
He found the figures encouraging as it bears out the success of the openness policy adopted by the country.
Around 60 per cent of the foreign investments are devoted to non-traditional industries compared to 30 per cent in previous years. The sugar industry now contributes only 1.2 per cent of gross domestic product, 5 per cent for textiles and 7 per cent for tourism.
The four pillars of the economy namely sugar, textiles, tourism and the financial sector are contributing only around 22 per cent of GDP. However, other fast emerging sectors act as essential players. During the past four years, the average annual growth of the ICT/BPO sector was around 15 per cent, the seafood hub around 10 per cent and the health sector 7 per cent.
He highlighted facilities being offered to encourage FDI.