Mau­ri­tius ty­coons eye a share of the grow­ing EAC pie

The Star (Kenya) - - News -

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.

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