Mauritius International Trade Minister Arvin Boolell, on Thursday said that Africa is the current frontier of growth and represents great potential for Private Equity firms across the world.
Speaking at the opening of the fourth Private Equity Mauritius Conference 2014, on the theme “Capitalising Africa’s Growth”, in Balaclava, northern Mauritius, Boolell said larger global private equity firms are looking at the African market to capitalize on growing investment opportunities.
“And, they go beyond the mere provision of capital. Their involvement culminates in knowledge transfer, greater networking and improved environmental, social and governance policies. They equally play an important role in poverty alleviation through job creation,” he added.
According to the minister, “Africa is rising and opening up tremendous opportunities for the rest of the world.”
The minister said Mauritius was well poised to be the platform for such investments in Africa and across the region as the island has got a thriving internationally-oriented financial centre, state-of-the art infrastructure, business friendly jurisdiction, stable political and financial environment and strategic geographical location.
“Mauritius remains a service centre of choice for doing business with Africa,” he emphasised.
Boolell said Mauritius is going beyond that to achieve a deeper and more meaningful regional integration in Africa.
“We want to be an active development partner in creating greater convergence for economic integration in Africa,” the minister said.
According to him, for intra-Africa investment to prosper, potential business peoples and investors must have facility to move around easily.
“Mauritius has already done a lot by abolishing visa for 48 African countries prior to travelling to the island,” he underlined.
For his part, the Managing Director of the Board of Investment (BOI), Ken Poonoosamy, said the conference aims at providing better information to potential investors and showcasing Mauritius as a business and friendly location for investments in key strategic projects and having social impacts across Africa.
According to him, since 2012, companies from Mauritius have invested in high value projects worth US$3.5 billion in Africa.
“Not only do we believe that Africa is the emerging recipient for massive investments, but we also know that the prosperity and growth of Mauritius is intrinsically linked with the economic and technological advancement of the continent,” he emphasised.
Poonoosamy said the fourth edition of the Private Equity Conference focuses also on the role of Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) in investment across Africa.
“DFIs have annual commitments that exceed US$ 40 billion and Sovereign Wealth Funds are moving away from their traditional investments such as government bonds towards higher yield investments, notably by partnering with private equity firms operating in the African continent,” he said.