“India is Today, Africa is Tomorrow,“ says Dr Rajiv Kumar at India-Africa Investment Conference

The 3rd India-Africa Entrepreneurship and Investment Summit (#IAEIS3) took place at Le Meridien Hotel at Pointe aux Piments in Mauritius from 20 to 21 July 2023. The forum was jointly organized by the India-Africa Entrepreneurship Forum (IAEF) and the Economic Development Board (EDB) of Mauritius.

Some 200 delegates, mostly from Africa and India, participated in the two-day conference centered on investment and #digitalization in Africa. Honorable Roopun, President of Mauritius, delivered the welcome address in front of the plenary session. Firstly, he pointed out the exceptional historical and cultural ties that Mauritius enjoys with both India and Africa. Thanks to its geostrategic location and high index for the ease of doing business (#EDBI), Mauritius is well-positioned to act as the gateway between India and Africa.

Her Excellency, Indian High Commissioner Mrs Nandini Singla recalled the fight for freedom during the colonial era shared by India and Africa. She reiterated India’s support for greater representation of Africa in multilateral fora. As a matter of fact, as the current chair of the #G20 this year, India has invited African states to join in the various events.

Indian High Commissioner Singla

Another strong area of cooperation between India and Africa is in healthcare. The special ties between India and Africa manifested itself as India supplied vaccines to 42 African states during the COVID19 pandemic. Thanks to its high-quality and affordable healthcare, India attracts may patients from around the world and 42% of medical tourists actually come from Africa. In the future, India and Africa plan to extend cooperation into biotech and pharma.

Mr Ken Poonoosamy, CEO of EDB Mauritius, highlighted that Mauritius was the first African country to sign a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (#CECPA) which goes beyond a standard #FTA. Currently, India provides duty-free access to its huge market of 1.4 billion consumers for nearly 98% of all tariff lines to 33 African countries. In addition, the operationalization of the #AfCFTA will give new impetus to both intra- and inter-Africa trade and is opening up exciting new opportunities.

As special guest, economist Dr Rajiv Kumar delivered the closing keynote remarks. Dr Kumar is the architect and one of the drivers of the economic reforms behind the meteoric rise of India. As democracies with similar colonial past, both India and Africa have a lot in common and can learn from each other. In fact, he believes that today belongs to India and tomorrow shall belong to Africa. What better place to reinforce the historical linkages and to promote the economic transition than Mauritius with its world-renowned International Financial Centre (#IFC) and well-developed #ICT sector!

Tomi Davies, Founding President of Africa Business Angel Network (ABAN) and Collaborator-in-Chief at TVC Labs

On its own, Mauritius is a minuscule market but it has as its hinterland the much larger continent Africa, which is developing very fast. Thanks to its good governance and excellent business climate, Mauritius has emerged as the preferred gateway to drive and structure #FDI into the emerging continent of Africa.

According to a report commissioned by the EDB from the independent economic consulting firm Capital Economics, the Mauritius #IFC has been able to attract and route USD 80 billion of investment into Africa over the past twenty years, representing nearly 10% of overall #FDI into Africa.

From the other side, India has received over USD 150 billion in FDI routed via the Mauritius #IFC since 2000. In fact, Mauritius and Singapore have been jockeying for the top spot in terms of the largest sources for #FDI into India over the past few decades. Put together, these two offshore #IFC contribute about half of the cumulative investment inflows to India over the past twenty years.

Furthermore, several multinational companies have set up their regional headquarters in Mauritius from which they can optimize their multi-country operations across Africa. Mauritius is thus set to play the same role for Africa that Singapore does for Asia.