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6 May 2023 • Development • Business Facilitation • Conference

Mauritius-Japan Business Investment Forum: Strengthening Economic Ties and Fostering Collaboration

The Economic Development Board (EDB) of Mauritius, in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan, hosted the Mauritius-Japan Business Investment Forum this Friday May 5 at the Sofitel Mauritius L’Imperial Hotel in Flic en Flac. The event was attended by a business delegation of 19 Japanese companies, led by H.E. Yamada Kenji, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan. The forum was also graced by the presence of the Hon. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs and External Communications, Minister for Rodrigues, Outer Islands and Territorial Integrity.

The Mauritius-Japan Business Investment Forum aimed to provide local enterprises with a unique opportunity to network and explore potential business opportunities with Japanese investors.

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The Prime Minister of Mauritius, Hon. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, delivered a keynote address at the first Mauritius-Japan Business Forum, highlighting the strong diplomatic and economic relations shared by Japan and Mauritius since the latter’s independence in 1968. The Prime Minister expressed his hope that the forum would facilitate fruitful discussions and expansion of business and investment connections between the two countries. He acknowledged Japan’s unwavering support to Mauritius in various areas, including financing, climate change, and technical assistance.

The Prime Minister commended the Japanese government’s commitment to achieving the SDGs and leadership in areas such as quality infrastructure, disaster risk reduction, climate change, and women’s empowerment, among others. He highlighted the opening of an Economic Development Board of Mauritius (EDB) office in Tokyo in 2019 to promote trade and investment and the signing of MoUs with Japanese institutions such as the Japan External Trade Organization and the Japan Institute of Overseas Investment. The Japanese International Cooperation Agency has also conducted a survey in Mauritius to assess investment opportunities.

“Mauritius offers a unique advantage of being geographically well-positioned as a strategic gateway between Asia and Africa, with a conducive framework for business, including political, legislative, economic, and diplomatic factors. The country is a member of the Southern African Development Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, and a signatory to the African Continental Free Trade Area, providing preferential market access”, said the Prime Minister. He identified key sectors earmarked for investment, including smart agriculture, artificial intelligence, and sustainable smart city development.

Hon. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth added: “The Mauritius International Financial Centre serves as a platform for quality foreign direct investment to the African continent, representing 9% of overall foreign investment into the continent. Japanese investors can leverage the center as a capital-raising platform to structure equity investments in Africa and conduct their African business ventures.” The Prime Minister emphasized Mauritius’ established business destination with a secure investment climate, conducive business environment, political stability, transparent regulations, high value addition, and an efficient financial ecosystem.

He invited members of the Japanese and Mauritius business communities present here to make the most of today’s business forum. “Together we will go further than if we go alone. Harmony in our actions will make it brighter to rise for Africa and augur a new role for our economies. A recent study by Capital Economics, showed that 82 billion U. S. Dollars of investment into Africa has been structured through the Mauritius International Financial Center. And that investment has resulted in creating 4.2 billion jobs in mainland Africa and is currently generating a tax income of around $6 billion annually to governments across the African continent. Though Mauritius represents only 0.1% of Africa’s population, it contributes as much as 0.6% with GDP”, reminded the Prime Minister.

H.E. Yamada Kenji, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, expressed his hope that the forum would accelerate the expansion of Japanese companies into Mauritius. He reiterated the Japanese government’s commitment to maximizing the economic relationship between the two countries in partnership with the Government of Mauritius.

At TICAD 8, held in Tunisia last August, public-private partnership emerged as a major theme for strengthening relations with Africa. State Minister Yamada expressed his pleasure at the progress made since then, particularly the establishment of the Committee for the Improvement of the Business Environment between Japan and Mauritius. He believes that the strong leadership of the Mauritian government and the island’s potential as a gateway for investment in Africa have piqued the interest of Japanese companies.

H.E. Yamada Kenji, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, expressed his hope for the future of the bilateral relationship, saying, “I strongly hope that the new bonds that have been created today between Japanese and Mauritian business leaders will serve as a foundation for further strengthening the bilateral relationship.”

H.E. Ambassador Kawaguchi Shuichiro began the forum with a warm welcome address, emphasizing the natural friendship and shared values between Japan and Mauritius. He highlighted Mauritius’ unique position as a stable and business-friendly nation, offering a gateway for Japanese companies to expand their presence in Africa.
Ambassador Kawaguchi Shuichiro further emphasized the compatibility between Japanese and Mauritian business cultures, citing the Asian influence in Mauritius that facilitates easier expansion for Japanese companies. He praised the country’s impressive recovery from the pandemic, attributing it to good governance and the adherence to strict measures by the Mauritian population.

Additionally, Ambassador Kawaguchi highlighted the exceptional educational and medical infrastructure in Mauritius, which he believes stands out among other African nations. He mentioned his own son’s positive experience at an international school in the country, as well as the nation’s reliable energy sector. The Ambassador expressed his gratitude for the strong support the Mauritian government provided for the business investment forum, emphasizing the importance of the relationship between the government and the business community in attracting investment to the island nation.

Ambassador Kawaguchi Shuichiro further emphasized the compatibility between Japanese and Mauritian business cultures, stating, “Mauritius is classified among the most business-friendly countries in the African continent, yet the business culture and practice are very Asian, which is the reason why Japanese companies can expand business easily through Mauritius.”

The forum concluded with the projection of a short movie on “Invest, Live & Work in Mauritius,” showcasing the country’s economic resilience, strong governance, and attractive investment climate.

This significant event marks an important step forward in strengthening bilateral relations between Mauritius and Japan, opening new avenues for economic collaboration and fostering growth in both nations.

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