“Mauritius will be a key player and will assume an even more important role in linking India and Africa, accelerating trade and investment, and fostering entrepreneurial ecosystems for greater opportunities of mutual interest,” stated the President of the Republic of Mauritius, Mr Prithvirajsing Roopun, on Friday morning, at Le Meriden Hotel in Pointe aux Piments.
He was speaking at the official launch of the third India – Africa Entrepreneurship & Investment Summit. The event, an initiative of the Economic Development Board (EDB) and the India Africa Entrepreneurship Forum, is being held in Mauritius from 20 to 21 July 2023.
The High Commissioner of India to Mauritius, Mrs. K. Nandini Singla; the Chief Executive Officer of the EDB, Mr Ken Poonoosamy; the President of the African Business Angel Network, Mr Tomi Davies; the Chairman of the India – Africa Summit, Mr Yaduvendra Mathur; as well as some 150 delegates, including venture capitalists, angel investors and prominent entrepreneurs from India and Africa, were present.
In his keynote address, President Roopun underlined that Mauritius was strategically positioned to connect India and Africa in terms of its geographic position and its profound historical, cultural and political attachments to both India and Africa. “Mauritius as a Small Island Developing States,” he said, “has remained resolutely on the track of progress and economic growth through a diversification strategy.” “The country has evolved from a ‘three-pillar economy’ based on sugar, tourism, and textiles, into a modern and robust economy over the years,” he observed.
He expressed the wish for Mauritian businesses to serve as trusted partners for Indian enterprises, helping them to navigate the African business landscape and establish a strong foothold on the Continent.
As for the Indian High Commissioner, she highlighted that India and Africa had a shared history of colonialism, and a rich cultural and linguistic diversity. “We deeply believe that Africa holds the key to global rebalancing,” she stated. “India has always championed the rights of Africa and its inclusion into many international organisations such as the G20 Summit,” she added.
“India,” she emphasised, “is today the world’s fifth largest economy and is keen on further enhancing development partnership with Africa.” She mentioned that India was among the top five investors on the African continent. “Additionally, India provides duty free access to more than 98% of its tariff lines to 33 African countries,” she said.
For his part, Mr Poonoosamy underlined that the Summit was being held with a shared vision of creating a robust connection to facilitate the exchange of knowledge between Mauritius and India, and leverage on each other’s potentials.
As for Africa, he observed that the African Continental Free Trade Area provided ample opportunities for Mauritius and other Indian firms. “Mauritius,” he remarked, “has emerged as a reliable and trusted platform for trade and investment.” “It has also played a pivotal role in facilitating growth and development in India, and has been a significant facilitator for investment structuring across the African continent,” he said. “The EDB,” he stressed, “is committed to accompany both Parties in establishing their relations and to take this cooperation to new heights of success.”