KARACHI: High Commissioner of Mauritius to Pakistan Rashid Soobadar urged the business and industrial community of Karachi to look into the possibility of enhancing trade in Africa and venture into the 'huge' continent via Mauritius.
Mauritius, he said, can be used as a platform to efficiently and safely penetrate 55 countries in the African region.
"The scope in Africa is tremendous, which is developing fast and has a bright future," said Soobadar while speaking at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI).
"Hence, the business community of Karachi should take advantage of the situation by registering their companies in Mauritius," he added.
"Once the company is registered in Mauritius, it will be able to enjoy all the benefits being extended to Mauritius including duty-free access under numerous agreements with African countries."
The Mauritian High Commissioner stated that besides exploring trade and business ties in Mauritius, the business community can also look for opportunities in neighbouring countries including Madagascar, Seychelles, Tanzania, Rwanda and Mozambique.
Highlighting the performance of the Mauritian economy, he said that it was a monocrop economy in the beginning when the only activity in the island was plantation of sugarcane.
"From a monocrop economy, we have been able to diversify and today, the Mauritian economy rests on four to five strong pillars including financial services, ICT, tourism and manufacturing," Soobadar said.
Referring to forthcoming visit of KCCI's delegation to Mauritius, he advised the delegation members to identify fields of interest in Mauritius.
"The Mauritian Board of Investment, High Commission and Consulate will extend full support and cooperation to businessmen and industrialists intending to initiate businesses in a very congenial atmosphere in Mauritius," he said.
"Any problems and difficulties will certainly be resolved on priority", he added.
Earlier, KCCI President Muffasar Atta Malik stressed the need for taking more trade promotional initiatives to improve the existing meager trade volume between the two countries.
"During fiscal year 2017, Pakistan exported goods worth $23.24 million to Mauritius while imports declined to $3.15 million which requires special attention. We need to identify the causes behind this decline and accordingly devise strategies to improve the situation," he added.
He informed that KCCI plans to send a delegation to Mauritius in the last week of February 2018 to explore trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.
He requested the High Commissioner to fully facilitate KCCI's delegation to Mauritius by arranging maximum number of meetings with their counterparts in Mauritius so that the delegation's visit proves to be fruitful and result-oriented.
Malik said that Karachi offers profitable investment opportunities along with the required facilities for investment and joint ventures to the Mauritian business community.
Referring to two Special Economic Zones being established on priority in Karachi under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, he advised the Mauritian business community to take interest in these economic zones where they can enjoy tax holidays for up to 10 years.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2018.
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