“International Financial Services itself has been [in Mauritius] for 20 years since the inception of the industry in [the island]. We have 20 years of experience with the Indian market and now what we are trying to do is leverage this experience over the African continent,” Peggy Soobiah, senior director at International Financial Services Limited (IFS), told CNBC Africa.
“We have done government initiatives over the past few years, [and] we have invested a lot in terms of positioning Mauritius as an ideal destination for investment within Africa.”
IFS Limited is an advisory and management services provider for international businesses, with additional presence in New York, London and Mumbai.
According to the latest World Economic Forum 2012 to 2013 report, Mauritius is ranked 45th out of 74 countries in terms of the Global Competitiveness Index. According to Soobiah, this is a result of Mauritius continuously positioning itself as a strong financial centre in the continent.
“We are very well positioned to service both the Asian market as well as the African market, and we have close ties with both the Western side of the globe as well as the Eastern side,” she explained.
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“Mauritius has over the years provided the appropriate framework, ecosystem to attract investors, and recently we have seen more focus on Africa these days. We have put a lot of emphasis on the continent, [and] we are positioning ourselves through a lot of road shows to get to know about Mauritius as a conduit to invest in Africa.”
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For the past seven consecutive years, Mauritius has been raked the first country in Africa in terms of the Mo Ibrahim Index, boosting its image as an even stronger global player.
“We have been dealing and collaborating with [African countries] for so many years. We are part of the African community, the South African Development Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa,[and the] Indian Ocean Rim,” Soobiah explained.
“There are some intrinsic advantages by being in [these] communities such as duty free trade, subsidy on freight exports but over and above these there are other advantages that Mauritius provides. We have investment protection and promotion agreements, with many countries benefitting from these agreements [that] can leverage in terms of the tax advantages.”