In view of its membership to SADC, geographical proximity to the region amongst others, Mauritius acts as the gateway to the African Continent. Over the last decades, Mauritius and South Africa have strengthened their business ties and today South Africa has grown into an important trade and investment partner for Mauritius. Indeed, it has been observed that exports from Mauritius to South Africa escalated from MUR 3.2BN in 2010 to reach MUR 6.4 BN in 2017.. It is currently the third export market for apparel products from Mauritius just after USA and UK. It is also worth noting that Mauritian manufacturers are supplying leading retailers such as Woolworths, Truworths, Edgars, Edcon, Adidas and Puma among others.
From an investment perspective, Mauritius remains an attractive investment location for South African investors and entrepreneurs. A conducive business environment, political stability, a bilingual workforce, the quality of life are amongst the key contributors in making Mauritius the ideal location for the South African business community. In 2017, FDI from South Africa amounted to MUR 1,8 BN, and nearly 785 occupation permits were issued to South African nationals, with the majority of them being employed as professionals. An increasing interest by South African nationals to consider Mauritius as a potential manufacturing base in being noted.
With a view to further consolidating its market share and promoting investment as part of its trade and investment promotion strategy, the Economic Development Board- conducted a Promotion Mission in South Africa from 19th to 26th June 2018, targeting three major cities, namely Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
The Trade and Investment Promotion Mission entailed the following:
- Business Forum and Buyers Sellers Meeting, Durban, 19 June 2018
- Participation in Source Africa International Apparel Fair, Cape Town, 20-21 June 2018
- Business Forum, Cape Town, 22 June 2018
- Business Forum and Buyers Sellers Meeting, Johannesburg, 25-26 June 2018
- The delegation was led by Mr. Arvind Radhakrishna and comprised the participation of around 26 local enterprises, representatives from Mauritius Freeport Development Ltd, Trade Park Mon Tresor and Airports of Mauritius Ltd.
The main objectives of the meetings and business forums were to showcase the investment opportunities in Mauritius, target high value-added manufacturing companies having a regional expansion and diversification strategy as well as position Mauritius as a sourcing destination for textile and apparels.
The Buyers and Sellers Meetings and the Business Forums provided a good opportunity to create better awareness about the trade and investment opportunities in Mauritius in the different sectors of activity. Contacts have been established with different chambers of commerce as well as potential investors. It is worth highlighting that more than 300 business people attended the business forums held in 3 cities. Moreover, the mission generated 30 strong leads.
Interest was shown by investors in a wide range of sectors of activity, namely in the setting up of a manufacturing knitted fabric plant, manufacturing of outdoor furniture, jewelry, digital printing, real estate, freeport and automotive industry.
The Mauritian trade delegation also participated in the ‘Source Africa’ fair held in Cape Town on 21 and 22 June 2018. Source Africa is the only apparel sourcing event on the African continent bringing together suppliers, manufacturers, service providers and buyers from the region under one roof. It is now owned by Messe Frankfurt which is the third largest trade fair company in the world with operations in over 50 countries and which is the global leader in textile and apparel fairs.
Source Africa 2018 attracted over 1,400 visitors over the two-day period. Participation in this event enabled Mauritian apparel operators to consolidate business relationships with several major South African apparel buyers such as Zando, Edcon, Edgars, TFG, Woolworths, Oliver, Cherry Melon, Pep Stores, Chilli Source, Kevro, Sissi Boy and Truworths International.
For the 2018 edition, Mauritius was selected as the “Official Country Partner”, which provided visibility in all communications of Source Africa fair. The collections of some Mauritian apparel factories namely Fine Textiles Ltd, Fit-U garment Ltd, Shivani Manufacturing Ltd and Tex Group were showcased by experienced models. B2B meetings were also held for the apparel operators during the event.
An aggressive follow up and investment facilitation will be carried out with the strong leads established with a view to enable the implementation of these projects. In view of the increasing interest demonstrated by the business community, the EDB through its Economic and Trade Office in South Africa will continue to engage with the business community.