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Mauritius seeks more investments from Indian firms

PORT LOUIS: Home to a host of Indian firms and a vast Indian-origin population, Mauritiuswants a larger number of companies from India to come here -- for setting up businesses in the island nation as well as in other African countries.

Positioning itself as a 'tax-free gateway to Africa', Mauritius is also promising a host of other benefits to the Indian companies routing their investments to various African nations through its soil. 

"Traditionally, India has been an important economic partner for Mauritius. We have many Indian companies present here," the country's Vice Prime Minister and Finance Minister Xavier Luc Duval told PTI here. 

"As we see things going forward, Indian firms have the know-how and experience to help develop many of our emerging clusters, either on their own or through partnerships," he said.

Listing out the sectors where Indian companies can invest in Mauritius, Duval said these included education space, ICT (Information, Communications and Technology), BPO (Business Process Outsourcing), medical, deap sea mining and ocean economy. 

The minister said film shooting is another area that offers great growth opportunities and benefits for Indian entities. 

"As for the film industry, we are granting a 30 per cent refund on all the expenditure made in Mauritius. 

"We have been traditionally been an important centre for Indian films anyway and now with this 30 per cent refund, we are expecting much more film producers to come and shoot their films here," he said. 

With regard to Indian companies looking to invest in other parts of Africa through Mauritius, Duval said: "In terms of our free port (a kind of tax-free economic zone) being used as a base for onward shipping to Africa, there are opportunities for India. 

"Also, for manufacturing activities for export to Africa, we are offering zero per cent income tax if the companies operate in our free port," he said. 

A large number of Indian companies are already present in Mauritius, an African nation in Indian Ocean which has been very close to India for a long time. The persons of Indian origin are estimated to account for close to 70 per cent of the country's total 1.3 million population. 

Indian companies doing business here include public sector giants like 
Indian OilBSE 0.41 %,SBIBSE 0.36 %, LIC, Bank of BarodaBSE -1.01 %, New India Assurance Company,Telecommunications Consultant India Ltd (TCIL) and Mahanagar Telephone (Mauritius) Ltd. 

Besides, a host of private sector entities, such as 
InfosysBSE 0.95 %, Oberoi Group, Apollo,Fortis, Essar, Essel, Amity, Binani Cements and Bharat Telecom are also present here.