His Excellency Andry Rajoelina, President of the Malagasy Republic, was the guest of honour of the 51st anniversary of Independence of Mauritius. Heading a delegation comprising of Malagasy officials and businessmen, President Rajoelina had a joint working session with the Economic Development Board on Wednesday the 13th of March. This meeting, under the theme ‘Towards a new era of economic partnership’, saw the participation of more than 400 guests from Madagascar and Mauritius who had the opportunity to interact with the Malagasy President.
Economic and diplomatic ties with Madagascar have always been solid and the country remains one of Mauritius’s major trading partners in Africa. In 2018, the Malagasy market represented 23.6% of the total exports to Africa, with revenues amounting to USD 135 million. During the same period, total exports from Madagascar to Mauritius amounted to USD 59 million. In terms of investment, the Mauritius International Financial Centre (MIFC) channelled some USD 444 million to Madagascar through 100 Global Business Companies (GBCs). In 2016, some USD 219 million were channelled from Madagascar through the MIFC to be invested in several parts of the world.
To date, a little over 30 Mauritian companies operate in Madagascar covering a wide array of economic activities ranging from agroindustry to banking, construction, textile, ICT/BPO, seafood processing, tourism, logistics and distribution, and healthcare, among others.
Economic outlook for Madagascar over the medium-to-long term is very encouraging. The country has witnessed a constant GDP growth between 2013 and 2017, from 2.3% to 4.2, settling at 5% in 2018. This growth has been sustained in large part thanks to the revitalising of small industries and private sector enterprises. The industry cluster and services remain the major pillars of the Malagasy economy, which should maintain the upward trend, nearing 5.9% in 2019.
Mauritius and Madagascar have signed and enforced a number of agreements to reinforce bilateral cooperation ties, including a mutual agreement on Investment Promotion and Protection signed in Antananarivo in 2004 and which came into effect in 2005. A double taxation avoidance treaty and an agreement on the prevention of evasion regarding income tax, as well as other memoranda of understanding have been signed to boost trade and investment between the two countries. Furthermore, Mauritius and Madagascar are both members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC).
During his visit, the Malagasy President has announced the creation of a 600-hectare industrial park as well as the provision of 80 hectares of land for Mauritian entrepreneurs to develop in the Moramanga investment area. This project carries the prospect of serving as a corridor between Mauritius and Madagascar, and the African continent, and will thus help boost the economic growth of both countries.
The Malagasy Economic Development Board and its Mauritian counterpart work closely together to implement the regulatory and operational framework to help facilitate the movement of people, of capital and of goods, and hence generate value for both economies.