Philippe Espitalier-Noël is the Chief Executive Officer of Rogers, one of the largest business companies in Mauritius. The Group has been blazing a pioneering trail for 110 years and currently employs 4,000 people in 52 different sites in 12 countries, and has an annual turnover of € 300 million. Given its scale, it has a significant impact, both now and in building for the future, on a country that is best known nowadays as a quality tourist destination. The strong impression it creates in the minds of those who visit – and those thinking of visiting – is, he reckons, a powerful driver for this small island country of some 772 square miles, with its 1.3 million inhabitants, culturally linked to ancestors who came first from Western Europe, and then from Africa and Madagascar, India and Southwest China.
The historic and continuing relations that Mauritius has with these countries means that visitors are easily reminded of the times when it was, as the saying goes, “The star and key of the Indian Ocean”, a necessary and strategic staging post on the spice, gold and silk routes between East and West. From the times of the East India companies until the opening of the Suez Canal, the country prospered from its important position on the main trading routes.
Like many of his fellow-countrymen, Philippe Espitalier-Noel has no doubt that his country’s future lies in renewing with this glorious history. Mauritius can and should regain its strategic position at a time when there is growing commercial exchange between the three areas where its roots lie: the African continent, rich in natural resources and looking for sustainable investment; Southeast Asia, dynamic and rich in human capital; and the West, rich in knowhow and looking for new opportunities.
It is from this sociological, historical and geopolitical perspective that Rogers’ CEO is orienting the direction being taken by the various companies within the Group. His aim is clear, to offer to investors who install themselves in Mauritius the best services that they can expect from a country that has proved over and over again, since it gained Independence in 1968, the perspicacity of its political and business leaders in conducting a policy of development which is both pragmatic and visionary.