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The economy of Mauritius grew by just over 3% in 2015, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the medium-term outlook is also favourable, should sound economic policies continue. According to the IMF, Mauritius’ main challenges for 2016 and beyond pertain to lowering public debt, increasing the resilience of the financial sector, and implementing the necessary reforms needed to transition to high-income status. How we made it in Africa speaks to Rahman Bholah, country manager of DHL, about doing business in Mauritius.
Name one trend impacting business in Mauritius.
With various challenges slowing economic growth, the market has become sensitive to pricing. Buyers put in the time and effort in identifying the best deal on the market. The growing trend now is to get the best service or product at the lowest price.
Disposable income is on the decline and people have become more cautious in their spending patterns, resulting in financial challenges for a number of high profile projects, such as shopping malls and luxury apartments.
Identify the biggest untapped business opportunity?
Mauritius is surrounded by the ocean, but one thing that is actually unexploited at the moment is the marine sector. Currently a lot of tuna processing is taking place and fish farming is also growing across the island. This is an area of opportunity.
Describe some of the challenges investors can expect to encounter.
It can be time consuming to set up a company, with backlogs slowing down the licensing processes. Other challenges include a mismatch between labour skill-sets and business needs; air connectivity; a small population of 1.3 million; traffic congestion; and a lack of parking facilities.
How do you see the business environment and economy change over the coming years?
At a minimum the country will keep on growing at its current pace, but if business confidence was to increase, economic growth can easily double.
What is the one tourist attraction business people shouldn’t miss when visiting Mauritius?
Ile aux Cerfs (Deer Island) is a small island off the east coast with a spectacular white sandy beach and luxuriant trees, surrounded by a clear and pristine lagoon. The island also hosts an 18-hole championship golf course, designed by the world-renowned Bernhard Langer and managed by Le Touessrok Hotel.
[box type=”note”]Meet Rahman Bholah
By what time in the morning do you like to be at your desk? Well before 8.30am, the official starting time at the office.
How do you relax? Music, cinema, trekking, swimming, cooking for friends and a good laugh.
Best book you’ve ever read? Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code (Read in one night!)
Top holiday destination? Turkey
Favourite quote? “My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.” – Charles Kettering[/box]