Mauritania rolls out the welcome mat to investors with new iGuide
Mauritania is serious about “rolling out the welcome mat” to foreign direct investment (FDI) following the launch of an online investment guide in the capital Nouakchott on 22 November.
Also labelled an “iGuide”, it offers a one-stop shop for investors, telling them all they need to know to put their money in the West African country. It also highlights areas for reform in Mauritania’s investment environment and helps the government to understand investor needs.
“Investment is a key driver of development,” Mohamed Salem Ould Soueilim, permanent secretary of Mauritania’s Ministry of the Economy and Finance, said. “The iGuide should help us seize the opportunities provided by the international markets as well as promote domestic investment.”
The website covers topics such as the rules and procedures for starting a business, taxes, acquisition of land, skills and wage expectations of the local labour force, quality of infrastructure, investor rights and business sectors with exceptionally high investment potential.
Users who wish to obtain more detailed information can consult additional documents that have been uploaded, such as relevant laws and useful contact information. The site also features feedback collected among investors on the ground.
Officials at the Ministry of Economy and Finance developed the contents of the guide, and the site is designed to make the information easily updateable.
Investable sectors in Mauritania – a nation of 4 million people between the Sahara and the Atlantic Ocean – include tourism, transport infrastructure, livestock, fisheries and agriculture, mining, oil and retail.
“The information accessible through the guide is otherwise scattered across many different websites or outright not available,” Ian Richards, UNCTAD’s investment guides coordinator, said.
“Putting the right information out there helps investors decide whether to take the next step in visiting the country and shows that the government is serious about rolling out the welcome mat.”
“Collecting the information also means ministry staff can better understand the challenges investors face and will help steer the government’s reform efforts,” he said.
iGuides, designed by UNCTAD and the International Chamber of Commerce, provide investors online with up-to-date information on business costs, opportunities and conditions in developing countries. They are developed jointly with governments, and at their request.
To date, UNCTAD has produced 15 iGuides in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, of which six, including Mauritania, have been created in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. UNCTAD is also working with the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies to develop guides for the Caribbean region.
UNCTAD’s data has shown that countries benefiting from investment guides have a stronger FDI performance when compared to the benchmark trends for all developing countries.