World | Africa

September 15, 2013

Indian Banks Eye Mauritius Footprint To Tap Africa Potential

Looking to tap into the business potential offered by Africa, some Indian banks have expressed interest in setting shops in Mauritius.

The Indian Ocean island nation is one of the most prosperous nations in Africa and is being seen by foreign entities as a platform to push their business activities into other nations in the region.

Mauritius Bankers Association's Chief Executive Aisha C Timol told PTI here that more Indian banks have expressed interest in setting up operations in the country to tap the potential of the African continent.

However, she did not disclose any specific details. Two Indian banks -- State Bank of India and Bank of Baroda -- already have operations in this picturesque African nation. In India, State Bank of Mauritius has three branches.

"There has been interest from Indian banks. We also have interests from Chinese banks," Timol said here and asserted that Mauritius has sound financial and legal systems in place.

There are 21 banks in the country and their assets collectively are pegged at around USD 30 billion. Out of them, seven are domestic entities including one joint venture and the rest are foreign banks.

"We are positioning ourselves as the gateway to Africa. The banking sector is supporting this initiative," Timol said.

Emphasising that the Mauritius banking sector has done "tremendously well" in comparison with other parts of the world, she said the country has a very sound regulatory environment.

"The sector is profitable and is doing well. But generally Mauritius is very much exposed to Europe in terms of its export oriented industries... This has a little bit of concern for us in terms of effects on the banking sector," she said.

With regard to employment opportunities in the domestic banking sector, Timol said that banks would need capacity building initiatives to meet the requirements, especially for highly skilled jobs. At present, the sector employs around 15,000 people, she added.

Text by Le Matinal
 

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