In a bid to capitalize on its expertise and experience for the benefit of stakeholders and extend value to clients and partners across Africa and beyond, MCB Group recently organized its first-ever Global & International Corporates Business Series. The event centered around the theme “Treasury Management Solutions as an enabler for business growth.”
Alain Law Min, the CEO of MCB Ltd, envisions a highly promising future for the Mauritius offshore center in the next three decades. In his statement at the first-ever MCB’s Global & International Corporates Business Series, Law Min emphasized the crucial role of a robust ecosystem that generates value for customers, asserting that the success of the Mauritius International Financial Centre (IFC) hinges on this very factor.
The CEO highlighted the significance of a comprehensive ecosystem in attracting customers to Mauritius. He firmly believes that customers are not drawn solely by the presence of a friendly management company, a welcoming advisor, or the services of a legal firm. Instead, Law Min contends that customers are enticed when they have access to a diverse range of products and services.
“The most critical aspect,” Law Min asserted, “is how our community of operators and players can collectively deliver superior international world-class services to our customers.” Acknowledging that Mauritius is not the first in this trajectory, he drew inspiration from Singapore’s successful financial journey over the past four decades. While acknowledging Singapore’s lead, Law Min expressed ambition for Mauritius to follow a similar path, emphasizing the importance of cultivating a highly skilled professional workforce across various areas of expertise.
Law Min was unequivocal in calling for unity among all stakeholders. “I would like to reiterate the need for banks, management companies, advisors, and legal firms to collaborate closely,” he stressed. The CEO underscored that partnerships are essential to ensure the delivery of value to the end customer, asserting that the success of the country, the financial sector, and MCB is intrinsically linked to the collective success of all participants in the ecosystem.
The acid test
“The acid test for me,” Law Min declared, “is the success of each individual within the ecosystem. We can only truly succeed when everyone in the ecosystem succeeds.”
The focal point of the gathering was an interactive panel discussion, skillfully moderated by Richard Arlove, the Founder and Managing Director of Arphilia Consulting. Esteemed industry leaders graced the panel, including Joel Cavaillé, the CEO of Atiko Group; Sanjeev Gupta, Head of Treasury at TerraPay; Rajeev Mohan, President and Head of Treasury and Global Markets at Kotak Mahindra Bank; and Parikshat Tulsidas, Head of Financial Markets at MCB.
During the panel discussion, one of the main themes that captured significant attention was the pivotal role of Mauritius as an International Financial Centre (IFC). The moderator, Richard Arlove, shed light on the evolving nature of Mauritius as an IFC. He emphasized, “It’s important to realize that the financial center today is quite different from what it used to be. It is not only focused on India, as it was at the beginning. Instead, it has enlisted and embraced Africa and even the global market.”
Mauritius is making sound decisions
During the engaging session, Joel Cavaillé, the CEO of Atiko Group, drew comparisons between Mauritius and Dubai, shedding light on the factors that influenced their relocation decision to Mauritius. Cavaillé revealed, “We are here today not just because we have business in Mauritius, but mainly because we used this opportunity of having new shareholders to relocate to Africa. This company was previously owned by a French entity, and this opportunity gave us time to ponder where to fit in Africa and where to establish our presence. We eventually moved our head office to Mauritius. While not everyone relocated, we already have around 50 dedicated personnel working full-time here. So, it’s not just an empty move; we see great value in leveraging what Mauritius has to offer in terms of an ideal office setup and efficient business operations.”
Highlighting the favorable business environment in Mauritius, Cavaillé pointed out, “Dubai is increasing its taxes, while Mauritius is making sound decisions on the cost of doing business. Just a few months ago, the Solidarity Levy was canceled, resulting in a stable cost structure in Mauritius compared to Dubai’s rising costs. This has led many customers to find better value in offshore business from Mauritius, a trend that is gaining traction.”
In the context of Africa’s promising economic growth, Cavaillé remarked, “Africa is experiencing continuous growth, with some countries witnessing a particularly robust expansion. Francophone Africa seems to be the focal point of this growth currently. There are significant opportunities for Mauritian banks to develop partnerships and correspondent relations in these regions. While many banks already have correspondents, there is room for further expansion. For businesses like ours, there is a need to streamline trading flows between West Africa and Mauritius. Currently, these flows go through one or two intermediary banks, which makes the process less efficient. There is tremendous potential for improvement and increased business opportunities.”
Mauritius serves as a strategic gateway to Africa's potential
Sanjeev Gupta, the Head of Treasury at TerraPay, passionately remarked, “Africa offers a plethora of opportunities for trade flows and investment flows. We witness a continuous inflow of investments into Africa, spanning various sectors, such as infrastructure, digital initiatives, and physical infrastructure. Undoubtedly, trade presents a monumental opportunity in this region, and I firmly believe that Mauritius serves as a strategic gateway to Africa’s potential.”
Gupta further lauded Mauritius for its exceptional advantages in terms of cost-effectiveness and ease of doing business, surpassing even prominent global financial hubs like Dubai or London. He emphasized the importance of seizing this advantageous position and asserted that MCBs are ideally positioned to capitalize on the boundless prospects that lie within Africa, facilitated through Mauritius.
According to Rajeev Mohan, President and Head of Treasury and Global Markets at Kotak Mahindra Bank, “Mauritius will be one of the favored routes for investment in India. India presents a compelling investment destination, evident by the significant influx of funds we’ve witnessed in the last quarter or the past four to five months. Mauritius stands out as the third largest source or geography from where these funds originate, thanks to its well-established routes.”
Mohan emphasized the critical role Mauritius plays as a conduit for investment into India, considering the prevailing geopolitical landscape. He expressed that if geopolitical uncertainties persist and return to normalcy is delayed, there would be few places where funds could find stability and opportunity. In this context, he regarded India as the top destination for investment flows, with Mauritius serving as a dependable and advantageous route for investors.
Parikshat Tulsidas, Head of Financial Markets at MCB, enthusiastically conveyed, “I think the opportunities are very clear for everyone to see, and we’ve been talking about these opportunities for so many years. Now, it’s time for action. My message is, if we put our minds together, as you’ve seen, there are so many things that can be achieved out of Mauritius. If we collaborate, I firmly believe that the dream of reaching the top spot, whether it’s for Africa, India, or any part of the world, is very much possible. The key lies in communication, engagement, and understanding the strengths we possess and can share. By doing so, I am confident that remarkable outcomes will emerge from this collaboration.”