Mauritian firms finding a niche in high-end products

Mauritian manufacturing firms, especially those in the clothing and textiles sector, have carved out a niche for themselves in high-end, quality products.

Mauritian clothing and textiles firms are targeting high-end products.

Mauritian clothing and textiles firms are targeting high-end products.

“We are a very small country. We will never be able to match the Chinese or the Indians on the basic items. So what we’ve done is we’ve gone in the niche market,” says Rajen Subbamah, sector manager at trade promotion agency Enterprise Mauritius. He was speaking to How we made it in Africa at the Mauritius Trade Exhibition in Cape Town.

According to Subbamah, about 65% of companies in Mauritius fall within the clothing and textiles sector. However, industries such as light engineering, financial services and IT are gaining momentum.

Business process outsourcing (BPO) is another sector that is showing considerable growth. “The Mauritian accounting companies are doing the accounts for a lot of overseas companies,” notes Subbamah.

Subbamah sees “lots of opportunities” for Mauritian exporters in the African continent and a number of countries are currently being targeted.

China is also taking advantage of Mauritius’ beneficial trade partnerships with many African nations. A group of Chinese companies is currently constructing the Mauritius Jinfei Economic Trade and Cooperation Zone. “They are creating the whole infrastructure for Chinese companies to come and start doing their business in Mauritius,” explains Subbamah. Products manufactured in the zone will be considered “Made in Mauritius”.

“Africa is the next emerging market and China has an aggressive Africa policy,” Dev Chamroo, director of policy & planning at Mauritius’ Board of Investment, told MarketWatch last year. “For them to go in and invest, we provide them with the logistics, financial support, and all the capabilities to route and manage their investments in Africa.”