The Alisa Hotel in Accra, Ghana where the Mauritius International Trade and Investment Forum 2013 was held (Source: alisahotelghana.com)
Following on the heels of the business forum held in Ghana for Mauritius entrepreneurs to meet with their Ghanaian counterparts, the business community in Mauritius has expressed a desire to partner private sector companies in Ghana. This is expected to help both countries to explore and exploit synergies in trade and investment.
Mauritius has carved a niche for itself as an investment platform linking Asia and Africa, while Ghana has vast tracts of land, a large population and sizable mineral wealth. Even though it is an economy powered by a mere 1.3 million people, the tiny island nation boasts state-of-the-art infrastructure, a highly skilled and educated workforce, a buoyant manufacturing hub, a virtually free port for imports and exports and offers organizations a low cost business base.
These are the strengths that officials from Mauritius said they were ready to put at the disposal of Ghana’s private sector for foreign direct investment. The island nation’s private sector will in turn export to Ghana or make reciprocal direct investments.
Dev Chamroo, Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Mauritius, co-organizer of the business forum held in Accra, Ghana from September 19 to 20, said that trade between the two countries had seen a downward spiral, which must be reversed.
Members of the 40-odd delegation at the business forum, which saw buyer-seller match-making meetings and a solo-exhibition, said they were primarily interested in the emerging power sector. Sectors in focus were renewable energy comprising solar, wind and hydro-power, sugar production, waste management, financial services industry, education and tourism, as well as general manufacturing.
The Mauritius entrepreneurs met with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), the Association of Ghana Industries, the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and other corporate institutions. Enterprise Mauritius also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the GIPC to provide a practical framework for stronger relations between the two countries and guidelines for the operation of investors in the country. The areas of focus would include the services sector, health, tourism, education and Information Communication Technology (ICT).
Mauritius used to export about $6 million worth of goods to the West African emerging economy but this figure reduced to $1.5 million last year, with Ghana exporting less than $1 million to the island nation. Mauritius, which exported about $6 billion worth of goods and services to the world last year, with about $1 billion coming to Africa, wants to increase Africa’s share of its exports as well as the general investment of its private sector in Africa Union member countries.
Chamroo said that the reduction in exports to Ghana was mainly because Mauritius was now invested directly in Ghana to locally produce the steel and galvanized steel that it used to export here. He adding that the private sector was particularly interested in increasing its investments into Ghana’s emerging market.
A Mauritius-based private sector company, the Global Board of Trade (GBOT), is already actively partnering with the banking and financial services industry in the country to put commodities, stocks and the local currency on an international platform for live trading.
Chamroo emphasized that the trading bodies were not eyeing public-sector partnerships, which fall in the political and diplomatic domain. Instead, their focus was on private-sector partnerships, which power the growth of the economy.
Source: Graphic Business