Analysis on FDI

Projects may be delayed but investment will continue to flow

It is obvious that lockdown measures, supply chain disruptions, and economic slowdown have all led to a drop in cross border investments. A factual analysis would show that the 35-40% decline of FDI flows in Mauritius in 2020 has not been an isolated case. In fact, in its report entitled ‘Investment Trend Monitor’ published in October 2020, the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reported that FDI flows to European economies turned negative for the first time ever, falling to -$7 billion from $202 billion. Flows to the United States fell by 61% to $51 billion.

Fall in FDI in 2019/20

Assessing the performance of Mauritius from a global perspective allows us to observe that the country has fared better than average.

Primarily, the decline in FDI resulted from global mobility restrictions over a period of nearly 4 months. In pre-crisis times, a number of programs are undertaken to reach out to foreign investors, namely international marketing campaigns and media coverage, individual and group press visits, and meetings with c-suite executives and other business leaders. The inability to conduct these contributed to the negative impact on FDI inflows.

FDI is key to our economic development. Capital inflows create jobs, boost output, and reduce budgetary deficits. More so, foreign investments are often paired with knowledge sharing and technological collaboration.

It is an imperative then to maintain focus on improving the business and investment climate through pertinent reforms which would also include the optimal use of technology. In the present conjuncture – with declining overall flows globally – we have to emphasise on collaboration with all valuable partners to enhance our skills base and stimulate awareness by being attentive and responsive to the requirements of investors.

The inception of the National Licensing System is a testimony of our will to improve our digital infrastructure to attract investors. Also, through our regular Webinars, we are linking up and establishing connections with potential investors.

We have entertained productive exchanges with AHRIM and its members, management companies, and real estate associations to increase the global awareness of business opportunities that exist in Mauritius for targetted industries and executives. We want to strengthen our efforts to attract FDI and skills and leverage in collaboration with our valuable partners to bring in more retirees and digital nomads to work and live in Mauritius. Working with the networks of each and every partner will be far-reaching and help elevate our country’s profile globally.

FDI may be in the doldrums right now, but lucrative opportunities and projects continue to exist and are being planned. Projects may be delayed but investment will continue to flow.

It is important that FDI figures are analysed carefully before any conclusions are drawn. Sometimes, FDI figures contain “a lot of noise”. This is because they can include intra-firm loans, mergers and acquisitions, and one-off payments that substantially skew the figures. These types of financial flows make a huge difference to balance sheets but have little impact on the real world. New endeavours and greenfield investments – FDIs that drive new projects from scratch – that make a real difference.

United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), “Issue 36, Investment Trend Monitor, October 2020”. Web. Retrieved on 18 January 2020.