16, Sir William Newton Street
Port Louis, Mauritius
In an interview published on 19th October 2022 in Business Magazine, Fareed Soobadar, Head of Corporate Banking at Bank One talks the tremendous opportunities for Mauritian businesses to penetrate the African market, particularly East Africa. He highlights that Mauritius as an IFC “is well equipped to serve as a gateway for investors to explore opportunities on the continent”. Fareed Soobadar also points out Bank One’s proven track record and real insights into continental Africa, which allows us to respond to the needs of the market and position ourselves as a “partner of choice”.
Africa’s fast-growing population and markets present considerable opportunities for business, especially in the context of slowing global demand. At the same time, I also believe that, in order to penetrate the African market and serve its untapped potential, local companies should continually innovate. I am referring here to the sheer magnitude of business opportunities in key sectors across Africa and the steps that investors could take to translate these opportunities into profitable and sustainable ventures.
According to the World Bank, five of the ten fastest growing countries are in Africa, and one-third of all global reforms have taken place in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Africa’s current population of around 1.2 billion people is projected to reach 1.7 billion by 2030. Incomes are also rising across many parts of the continent, generating new business opportunities and we are expecting total annual spending by African consumers and businesses to reach $6.66 trillion by 2030.
In line with its vision to “becoming Africa’s preferred gateway”, Bank One has deployed significant efforts to tap into the opportunities of the booming SSA market and expand its presence in the region while supporting local corporates as they embark on their own African journey.
(b) Which sectors offer the best investment opportunities in Africa?
SSA is considered as an attractive investment destination due to its strong projected economic growth. Deal activity in the region has increased significantly due to the potential for higher returns on investment, stable economies and untapped resources. Sub-Saharan Africa’s investment landscape is also becoming more diverse as the digital economy, financial services, mobility, logistics, and health tech are attracting both local and foreign investment.
Although Mauritius has been a member of some of the most active Regional Economic Communities (RECs) on the continent such as COMESA and SADC, which account for over 68.5% of the African continent, Mauritius is yet to harness its full potential. Mauritian exports to SADC represent only 20.1% of all SADC imports whilst those to COMESA account for only 12.5%. Overall, Mauritius’ exports to Africa represent a mere 23.7% of our total exports.
This suggests that Mauritius has not yet fully explored the opportunities offered by the African market, especially when it comes to the sourcing of raw materials. The level of integration in regional value chains is relatively low, as Mauritius mainly trades finished goods and agricultural products with Africa.
I believe that we should focus on maximising opportunities through COMESA, SADC and AfCFTA while targeting neighbouring markets such as Mozambique, Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. The ultimate goal is, of course, to position Mauritius as a trade hub linking Asia and Africa through the CECPA with India and the FTA with China in the near future. Bank One, having its shareholders on the continent, notably in East Africa through the I&M Group and in Madagascar through BNI, is well placed to meet this challenge.
It is obvious that we have taken too long to enter the African market. As I mentioned earlier, there are many opportunities in Africa, and more precisely in East Africa. Africa is full of promise and untapped riches. Mauritius can become an ideal and unrivalled platform for doing business in Africa by supporting reforms, trade and investment across the region. We can leverage on Mauritius as a business hub and a learning platform for the mainland. Mauritius as an International Financial Centre (IFC) is well equipped to serve as a gateway for investors to explore opportunities on the continent.
The combined presence of our shareholders (the CIEL and I&M groups) allows us to have a physical presence in sub-Saharan Africa. Our proven track record and real insights into continental Africa allows us to respond to the needs of the market and position ourselves as a “partner of choice”: a regional enabler for local companies wishing to do business in sub-Saharan Africa and, equally, for companies in sub-Saharan Africa wanting to establish holding structures in Mauritius.
We are taking advantage of our network of alliances within the I&M Group to attract large and medium-sized African companies looking to raise dollar funding through Mauritian debt issues or a listing on the Mauritius Stock Exchange and we support GBC players operating out of Mauritius for all their commercial and transactional needs. We are also steadily making progress in developing key partnerships with some of the major local corporates on their Africa strategy.
Since it is a relatively new market, there are certain inherent risks, which explains the reluctance of some local banks to venture into the African market. However, through the government’s efforts to promote Mauritius on the African market, we have seen that local banks are now more comfortable and confident to conduct business on the continent.
At our level, by leveraging our alliance network within the CIEL and I&M groups, we are able to support Mauritian companies through local market knowledge, unique business relationships, best-in-class cross-border transactional capabilities, foreign exchange liquidity management solutions and access to capital.
We will continue to leverage the connectivity of our network of alliances to attract large and mid-cap African corporates that are looking to raise dollar funding through local debt issues or listing on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius. Mauritius provides risk mitigation and investment diversification opportunities for SSA customers, and the geographic footprint of our shareholders gives us an added credibility and a competitive advantage that no other local bank has.
Bank One is serving the SSA market through three main channels: a financial institutions strategy targeted at SSA banks, a public sector strategy providing funding to SSA countries through Central Bank and Ministry of Finance supported projects. We also have a particular attention for ‘African Champions’, companies that have the ambition to expand and grow in more than one country in SSA. Moreover, our Elite Banking Offshore segment targets mass affluent individuals in SSA and provides them with bespoke cross-border services.
The AfCFTA opens up significant opportunities for Mauritian companies to do business in Africa. Mauritian companies are already identifying opportunities for expansion by exploring new avenues in search of export markets, regional sourcing or the setting up of regional production centres. Mauritius has long been the poster child for Africa as a model of economic stability and prosperity, good governance, economic freedom, standard of living and democracy; a well-deserved reputation that brings a fair share of opportunities for our enterprises.
Bank One Disclaimer
Welcome to www.bankone.mu!
Please read the following important information before accessing this Website:
This Website is owned and operated by BANK ONE LIMITED and the use thereof indicate that you accept the Bank’s Terms and Conditions of Use.
If you do not agree to the Terms and Conditions of Use, you should not use the Website.
The Bank may, at its entire discretion, at any time and without notice, modify or update such Terms and Conditions of Use. Such changes shall be effective immediately and you shall be deemed to have accepted same if you continue to use the Website.
Although the Bank endeavours to provide correct information on its Website, it does not give any warranty express or implied as to its accuracy, completeness and reliability.
The Bank does not accept any liability for any errors or omissions of whatsoever nature as regards information, materials, functions and applications contained in its Website or as to any third-party Websites linked to or from its Website.
Terms & Conditions of Use
1) Information available on the Website are allowed to be printed and / or downloaded for personal use only and not for commercial purposes.
You may not reproduce, transmit or store any information contained on the Bank’s Website on any other Website without the Bank’s written permission.
2) The Website is intended to provide general information on the Bank and its products and services.
No information contained on the Website shall constitute or is intended to constitute financial, legal, accounting, investment or other professional advice or services. You are advised to take professional advice from a suitably qualified professional or adviser before taking any decision relating to your finances or business.
3) You acknowledge that information transmitted via the Internet is susceptible to monitoring and interception and you will be bear all risk of using such means. You further acknowledge that any unsolicited information communicated to us via Internet cannot be guaranteed to remain confidential.
4) The Website may contain technical, typographical or other inaccuracies and you are urged to contact us to confirm all information contained on this Website before placing any reliance on it.
5) The Bank agrees to make reasonable efforts to ensure full performance of its Internet Banking transactions. The Bank will be responsible for acting only on those instructions sent through Internet Banking which are actually received. The Bank does not assume responsibility for any malfunctioning in communication facilities not under its control that may affect the accuracy or timeliness of messages you send. The Bank will not be responsible for any losses or delays in transmission of instructions arising or caused by any browser software. It will, furthermore, not be accountable should you provide incorrect instructions or if your payment instructions are not given sufficiently in advance to allow for timely payment or delays in mail service.
Collection of Information
The Bank will not collect any information about you except where it is knowingly provided to us through this Website. The information we collect about you will depend on how you use the facilities offered via this web site.
In the event that you enter information in the process of completion of an online application form, the information will only be collected by us if you submit that online application to us. In other words, if you log out prior to submitting your application, any information which you had entered would be automatically deleted.
The Bank requires information to understand your needs and provide you with a better service, and in particular for the following reasons:
Internal record keeping.
Use the information to improve its products and services.
Sending periodicals and promotional emails on new products, special offers or other information which the Bank thinks you may find interesting using the email address which you have provided.
Our Contact Centre may call you to suggest products and services that are relevant to your needs based on the information you have provided.
Occasionally, the Bank may also use your personal information to contact you for market research purposes.
The Bank may contact you by email, phone, fax or mail and may use the information provided to customise the Website according to your interests.
The Bank will not sell or distribute your personal information to third parties unless it has your permission or is required by law to do so. You may request details of personal information which the Bank holds about you under the Data Protection Act 2004. If you would like a copy of the information held on you, please write to us.
If you believe that any information the Bank is holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to or email us as soon as possible. The Bank will promptly correct any information found to be incorrect.
In no event will the Bank be liable for any damages including but not limited to direct or indirect, special, incidental, consequential or punitive damages, losses or expenses arising out of the use of its Website, or incurred as a result of any failure of performance, transmission of information, any interruption or availability of its Website, delay in operation or transmission, computer virus, loss of data, or otherwise.
Neither the Bank nor its directors, shareholders, agents, consultants, representatives, officers or employees shall be liable for any damages or losses resulting from your use or inability to use its Website or any information contained therein, including without limitation any direct or indirect, special, incidental, consequential or punitive damages whether arising out of contract, statute and tort or otherwise.
"*" indicates required fields
"*" indicates required fields