Ghana, Mauritius explore investment synergy
The business community in Mauritius has expressed a desire to partner private sector companies in Ghana to promote trade and investment in both countries, taking advantage of strengths in each country.
While Ghana has vast tracts of land, a large population and mineral resources, Mauritius has carved a niche for itself as the hub in international trade with Europe, the Americas and Asia.
With only 1.3 million people tucked away on a small island next to Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius has infrastructure, a highly skilled and educated workforce, a buoyant manufacturing hub, runs a virtually free port for imports and exports, with low cost of doing business.
These strengths, officials of Mauritius said, they were ready to put at the disposal of Ghana’s private sector for foreign direct investment, while that country’s private sector will export to Ghana or make reciprocal direct investments.
The Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Mauritius, Mr Dev Chamroo, and leader of a 42-member delegation which visited the country last week, told the that trade between the two countries had seen a nose dive, which they were interested in reversing.
Members of the delegation, which also held buyer-seller match-making meetings and a solo-exhibition, said they were interested in the power sector, especially renewable energy such as solar, sugar production, waste management, financial services industry, education and tourism, as well as general manufacturing.
They met with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), the Association of Ghana Industries, the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and some corporate institutions.
Mauritius used to export about $6 million worth of goods to Ghana but this figure reduced to $1.5 million last year, with Ghana exporting less than $1 million to that country.
Mr Chamroo said that the reduction in exports to Ghana was mainly because it invested directly into Ghana to locally produce the steel and galvanised steel that it used to export here, adding that the private sector was particularly interested in investing more in Ghana.
Already a Mauritian company, Global Board of Trade (GBOT), is 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.
Another member of the delegation, a textiles manufacturer, also confirmed to the Daily Graphic that it wanted to immediately return to start the process of setting up shop to produce in the country and take advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to export to the United States, quota and duty free.
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.
The leader of the Mauritius trade delegation said Ghana’s private sector players, as well as those of other African countries, could take advantage of the small Indian-Ocean country’s triangular synergies of connecting to Europe, Asia, especially India, and Africa easily to expand the scope of the sector.
“We are not looking for public-sector partnerships – we leave that for our diplomatic and political leaders to do. We are looking at purely private-sector partnerships, which are the wheels of growth,” Mr Chamroo stressed.
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).
The Mauritian Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Azad Dhomun, observed that Ghana was among the growing power houses of Africa and thus a preferred investment destination.
He explained that the delegation would use the pact to boost trade as well as strengthen exports of goods and services between the two countries.
By Samuel Doe Ablordeppey & Jessica Acheampong
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