Mauritius has set its sights on becoming Africa’s Singapore. Mauritius has set itself apart as the financial hub of Africa and now aims to transform its international financial centre into a trade and investment hub for global investors looking for a base in Africa, just as Singapore guided investors when China’s economy opened up.
According to the prime minister of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth, Mauritius aspires to be “the bridge between Africa, the continent, and Asia”. Mauritius aims to join the exclusive club of countries with annual per capita incomes exceeding $12 000. Mr Jugnauth told the Financial Times that the goal includes “development to be inclusive with no absolute poverty and less inequality”.
The World Bank has ranked Mauritius as the easiest African country in which to do business. It stands out as one of the few African countries that still has an investment-grade rating, South Africa’s credit rating has recently been downgraded to junk status.
Achieving the ambitious goals of becoming Africa’s Singapore will not come easy. The challenges that Mauritius face includes a slower growth per-capita as projected (currently 3-4%), a downward shift in investment from India because of changes in the tax treaty between the two countries and the end of preferential access to EU markets for the island’s sugar trade. Other problems for Mauritius to become Africa’s Singapore includes development of infrastructure and reports of political corruption.
Mauritius may not be Africa’s Singapore yet but they are certainly on the way.
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