Enlarged FTA for Africa by 2016
Nitin Pandea, Senior Director for the Board of Investment, Mauritius addressing guests. High Commissioner Dossa is pictured 3rd from right front row
Speaking at the Mauritius Business Forum in Sandton, Johannesburg H.E Ismael Dossa, Ambassador of Mauritius to South Africa, said that by 2016 a free trade area combining the regional bodies of COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) EAC (East African Community) and SADC (Southern African Development Community) will become a reality.
Tackling the stifling bureaucracy and visa policies is a key challenge. 26 African countries with a combined population of nearly 600 million and a total GDP of US$ 1 trillion make up the COMESA-EAC-SADC tripartite. The main objective is to strengthen and deepen African economic integration through harmonisation of policies and programmes in the areas of trade, customs and infrastructure development.
In his presentation at the Business Breakfast, Nitin Pandea, Senior Director for the Board of Investment, Mauritius, showcased the vital statistics of this Indian Ocean Island nation which has developed a significant financial services and manufacturing sector. Pandea also informed South African business of the many incentives offered to investors. These include 100% foreign ownership of land, no exchange controls, international standard education and health services among others.
Driving the African integration agenda, many investments on the continent are being channelled through Mauritius, said Pandea.
South Africa and Mauritius are major trading partners said Pandea, pointing out that already 1500 permits have been issued to South Africans who operate businesses, work as professionals or own property in Mauritius.