"Having been ignored as a hopeless continent for decades, Africa now finds itself courted by powerful economic actors, nurturing a keen interest in natural resources and untapped market," note the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union in its Economic Report on Africa 2012.
Mauritius is no exception. Several companies are already doing business in Mauritius in Africa. "The Apollo and soap noodles Mopirove are examples of trade flows from Mauritius to Africa. We also note that Mauritian firms are located in Africa to support their local activities. For example, BDO operates in East Africa, Tanzania TPC, Terra the Ivory Coast, Phoenix Beverages Madagascar, the MCB Seychelles and Mozambique, and SBM Madagascar, "says Afsar Ebrahim, a partner at BDO Mauritius and one of the founding members of the Mauritius Africa Business Club.
But has the potential to Mauritius Africa is much more massive. "Africa is a huge market first with a large mass of people - an inhabitant of the planet will be in five African in 2050," says Dr Feroz Dahoo, Economic Observer. This population represents a real opportunity for growth and development for the continent. Moreover, the continent has nothing to envy to other countries in terms of growth.
According to recent statistics, the growth in Africa has on average been more than 5% per year. Some African countries have even recorded annual growth rates between 7 and 11%. "So that worldwide, developed countries are making growth of around 1% growth in Africa will continue for several more years," emphasized Feroz Dahoo.
"More importantly, the continent has demonstrated its resilience in recovering quickly and forcefully shocks of global financial and economic crisis," says one in the Economic Report on Africa 2012.
Natural resources are not lacking in Africa. Besides oil, gas, precious stones and other raw materials, Africa has a lot of untapped land. "We need to position Africa in the agricultural sector (sugar and non-sugar) and in the energy sector," said Feroz Dahoo.
Become a platform for investment
Besides natural resources, other areas can be explored by Maurice.
"The BPO sector is emerging in Africa. Mauritius can play the card of its experience in this field, "Feroz Dahoo advance. Tourism is not negligible. "As the Chinese and Indians, Africans travel more and Mauritius is a popular destination for them.
We must capitalize on it. We must get used to having tourists blacks. We need to give them the same attention that offers visitors white "recommends our interlocutor. Dr Feroz Dahoo believes in the same breath, that the country should capitalize on the bilateral agreements it has with almost all African countries.
Who said Africa also said investment. "Today, many Africans get rich quickly. They want to invest in other countries. We need to be a stepping stone for investment in Africa and outward investment from Africa to other countries, "said Feroz Dahoo. Especially since, according to a study on the attractiveness of Africa conducted by Ernst & Young with hundreds of international policy makers, the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) on the black continent will reach $ 150 billion by 2015. Which will directly create more than 350,000 jobs.
Position the country
In Mauritius, efforts are being made to position the country as a bridge between the African continent. "The launch of the Africa Centre of Excellence for Business in 2012 supports our strategy to Mauritius at the forefront of investment in Africa. Not only do we have witnessed a growing interest in the use of our investment platform, as confirmed by more than 50% of all new global structures created Mauritius and destined for Africa, but we also see that more multinationals are actively considering Mauritius as a base for their regional activities, "says Ken Poonoosamy, Director General of Board of Investment.
He was optimistic about the central role that Mauritius has to play in this process "as a platform of choice for investment, business and trade in Africa." "For the future, we will highlight trends and enable change agents. For example, following the measures announced in Budget 2013 relating to the status "Freeport" to be granted to manufacturing companies targeting the African market, as well as the introduction of Regional Head Quarters & Regional Treasury Centre, we expect more interest from the global and regional operators that are implanted in Mauritius in 2013, "states Ken Poonoosamy. "We are on track to conquer. We must stay the course, "says Feroz Dahoo.
Problematic factors for doing business
Africa has no advantages. "There is a risk that the returns on investment are minimal. On the other hand, political instability in these countries is a problem, but this should be solved in the future. Dictators have become aware after the Arab Spring. Democracy will prevail. Maurice must be the first mover instead of waiting for everything to be stable in Africa to conquer the continent, "says Feroz Dahoo.
In a report on Africa, the Mauritius Employers' Federation lists other problematic factors for doing business in the countries of Africa: access to finance, corruption, lack of infrastructure, government bureaucracy and rates of taxes imposed.