Increased prospects for food industry in Mauritius
By Norman Noland – Dale Capital: Founder & Chief Executive Officer
“Mauritius will become the Singapore of Africa,” Xavier Duval (Former Minister of Finance) told me 25 years ago. I believed it then and I still believe it now.
I got involved in business on the island back then and so began a number of firsts for Dale Capital; first foreign company to list on the Stock Exchange in Mauritius (SEM) and first SEM listed company to do an inward listing on ZAR X, the second stock exchange in South Africa.
I am a South African living in Cape Town but have made Mauritius my second home. As I celebrate Dale Capital’s 20th anniversary (this year) I find myself reminiscing about how much I love the country and its people and the cherished friendships cultivated over the years.
The ease of doing business in Mauritius is world class and having a well-educated populace is a bonus. Like everywhere else you have to earn your stripes in business and credibility is key, especially as the island has a small population and everyone knows everyone else. Having local partners is a recommendation and can add immense value to your business but you have to choose wisely.
As mentioned in my last blog, the future prospects for business especially in the food industry are great, moreso as the country is a net food importer. We have made some successful investments in just over a decade focusing on this sector. Dale Capital is a founding shareholder in Bella Amigo in Petit Raffray , one of the leading fish processing factories in Africa, established in 2008. Together with St. Felix Smart City, we are the owner of the largest sheep and goat breeding business in Mauritius. We also manage another fish processing factory St. Felix Seafood, with the only Quayside Fish Processing Factory in Mauritius. . Plans are advanced to launch a tilapia farm in the South of the Island, at St. Felix Smart City.
While business has been tough at times, good strategy has seen us through. The country of course is not without its challenges amongst these; declining tourism, capital flight, food security and the latest being Covid-19 and its ensuing challenges on the economy. I believe the government has responded timeously and efficiently while taking the necessary precautions to keep the virus in check.
I generally think that this pandemic will certainly make doing transactions difficult for some time and I see a slowdown in investment for the rest of the year. The current uncertainty in global markets will slow down investment in small island nations such as Mauritius which are reliant on tourism. It will make it difficult to forecast growth as well as other important factors such as supply chain.
I am confident things will take a turn for the better and I continue to be grateful to my good friend Mr KC Li Kwong Wing, (Erudite academician, investment banker and stock market regulator) who encouraged me to invest in Mauritius alongside Mr Duval, those two decades ago. I am thankful for the great support by the EDB Economic Development Board and specifically Ken Poonoosamy, as we are to have such great partners, Bella Amigo Group and St. Felix Smart City.
I have a great confidence in Mauritius, its people and its government to address the financial challenges, precipitated by CV-19. Speed and efficiency of strategy implementation is of major importance and the support and commitment to support entities such as ours who are already making significant investment and difference in the Mauritius Food and Food Security is crucial. To the Mauritian government I look forward to continued support and more incentives for investors.
Next Article: Introducing St. Felix Lamb in Mauritius