Mauritius tycoons eye a share of the growing EAC pie
Growth-hungry Mauritius has set eyes on investment opportunities in the five-nation East Africa Community bloc, with Nairobi poised to be its hub. The Indian Ocean island nation is targeting to use a two-day Buyers Sellers Meeting forum in Nairobi from Monday. Another forum will be held in Mombasa on Thursday next week to help in sealing major deals, Enterprise Mauritius through its liaison office in Nairobi said in a statement yesterday. “Kenya is the entry point of Eastern Africa giving market access to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Southern Ethiopia and Southern Sudan, and could well be used as launching pad by Mauritius to test the regional markets,” liaison officer Elvin Mugambi said. At least 15 companies are expected to set up shops in the country, he said. These include firms in light engineering, textile and apparel, agro and ICT, “which have shown interest to participate in the event and to showcase their savoir-faire”. They aim to tap the growing small and medium-sized enterprises to provide them with international exposure, and enhance the visibility of Mauritius as a reliable sourcing destination for their products. Kenya has been one of the strongest trading partners of Mauritius in Africa over the years. As members of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern, both accord each preferential trade regime. Imports to Kenya from Mauritius were valued at Sh2.71 billion in 2015, a slight drop from Sh2.79 in 2014, the economic survey 2016 shows. Major potential exports and products from Mauritius include alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, biscuits and wafers, sugar confectioneries, hydrogenated fats and oils, paints, plastic products and garments. Others are detergents, leather products, plastic products, furniture, cloths and perfumes. “Greater potential exists in the area of footwear, cake wafer, wines and spirits,” Mugambi said. Kenya has remained attractive to multinationals who seek to penetrate the region, favoured by her robust economy.