MABC’s members to move in a collective manner for more economic and business development
Left to right: Cédric de Spéville, Group CEO of Food and Allied, Amédée Darga, Chairman of MABC, and Gabriel Negatu, Regional Director of the African Development Bank. (Image: Marie-Lorry Coret)
Mauritius Africa Business Club (MABC) celebrated its 2nd anniversary event on October 24, 2014 in the presence of a distinguished guest speaker: Gabriel Negatu. The Regional Director of the African Development Bank gave an insight on the rise of the Eastern Africa.
Held at the Hennessy Park Hotel, Ebène, the event was articulated around the theme ‘Strengthening economic growth of Mauritius through a coherent, deepened and effective Mauritius-Africa strategy,’ which was the title of the MABC’s advocacy paper published in March 2013.
The trustees, Aisha Allee, Founder and Chairperson of Blast Communications and CEO of The Jupiter Drawing Room, Rama Sithanen, ex-Finance Minister, Cédric de Spéville, Group CEO of Food and Allied, as well as Afsar Ebrahim, Deputy Group Managing Partner, were also present.
Amédée Darga, Chairman MABC, stated that after the two meetings in 2012, the initiative of the MABC came into mind as it was thought that it is high time to create a space. A space where all stakeholders and operators in the private sector,whether based in Mauritius or elsewhere, who are looking for a continent to expand business can come together to brainstorm, think about strategic issues, share experience, share opportunities, and obviously, do the necessary advocacy for a constantly improved Mauritius-Africa strategy.
“The advocacy paper has impacted on the business community and enhanced an inspired number of policies that government has put in place,” Amédée Darga said proudly.
Indeed the MABC, a very young organisation, is conscious that more will need to be done in the coming years.
The club has been able to provide leadership through its interactions and to be a powerful opinion making body that has worked closely with decision-makers and industry operators in Mauritius.
The club’s road map is to provide its members and the business community at large in Mauritius more reach to opportunities on the continent as well as to provide real concrete avenues for contacts and more in terms of advisory service.
Amédée Darga announced that the club has decided to set up a company soon, a special purpose vehicle that will be used to notice opportunities, which are too big in size for single companies to be able to deal with. It will bring capacities and resources together with the support of the Mauritius-Africa fund.
This special purpose vehicle will not belong to the five trustees nor to the members. It will be opened to corporates in Mauritius that understand one very important principle, namely, to move in a collective manner.
Cédric de Spéville gave a brief recap of the MABC, presented its work during the last two years and the way forward.
He noted that the two factors which boosted the implementation of the MABC were: sharing of information and advocacy for an effective African strategy.
He assured members that the suggestions of the club activities have been well noted and that they are working on the MABC’s website, which will be updated regularly, and will feature links to different Integration Pack for Authentication Solutions (IPAS) as well as pertinent research material.
Gabriel Negatu explained to the members about what is happening in the Eastern African region, where opportunities lie, how things should be looked at, and how organisations can work with the private sector to make more economic development.
He outlined that the recent change in the Eastern African countries is driven by mining, gas and oil discoveries from 1975 to 2014, and the extractive sector is a key driver.
According to him, the investment climate in the Eastern African region continues to improve but challenges remain such as cost of power in the region.
As power is becoming a commodity, Gabriel Negatu highlighted that this threat will cut down significantly in the next three years as well as the infrastructure gap, which is being addressed through works such as new railways being done to connect the regions.
Additionally, he mentioned that the Eastern African region represents many investment opportunities mainly in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
However, government in the Eastern Africa has decided to look for people, countries and industries who know more about sugar because the government has decided to invest in the sugarcane plant in the next few years.
Consequently, Gabriel Negatu ended by making an appeal to all those concerned in the sugar sectoras capital and expertise are needed.
-By Marie-Lorry Coret