“The Gabonese government identified us as a company that can develop their maritime industry. They want the seafood model we have in Mauritius replicated in Gabon,” Patrice Robert chief executive officer of IBL Seafood told CNBC Africa.
According to the World Bank Mauritius has a growing GDP with an expected growth rate of 4.2 per cent in 2014.The main contributors are the information and communication technology, financial services and seafood sectors.
IBL have a strong establishment in the seafood industry of Mauritius and has further contributed into pioneering the country’s seafood industry.
“Mauritius is the leading exporter of seafood to the European Union as well as the United States. The industry employs 5,000 people directly and many other jobs were created indirectly,” he said.
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IBL have been looking for opportunities of collaboration and acquisition for growth and have embarked on a public-private partnership agreement with the Gabonese state in order to improve their seafood and maritime industry.
“We committed 200 million US dollars in investment that went to cold stores, a second tuna factory, fish meal and fish oil factory, and a ship yard for ship building and repairs,” said Robert.
According to the agreement, the Gabonese government will fund 40 per cent of the project through the Gabonese Strategic Investments Fund and IBL will finance the remaining funds.
“We are restarting a factory in Gabon, we will get into the fish building and repair industry while developing the fish oil and meal industry to increase our base in the country,” he said.
IBL has an establishment in Gabon as they own 50 per cent of Mer des Mascareignes and are shareholders in the country’s second largest tuna canning factory, Princes Tuna.
“Indian Ocean fishing capacity supply is pretty much equal to production capacity at the moment we’ve grown as much as we could. The issue is sustainability, we are working with governments and NGO’s in maintaining [sustainability],” said Robert.
BY: THANDO MATUTU