Newsletter April 2018 - Strengthening International Cooperation
The month of April has propelled several developments on both the international and domestic fronts, with a series of advances and news that comforts Mauritius in the stances taken in the past and the strategies it is adopting for the future.
At the very outset, I would like to draw your attention on the most recent of the ever-increasing stream of accolades and recognitions that the country, through its performing institutions, has been collecting. Indeed, the Economic Development Board has been conferred the runner-up award for Best Investment Project in the Southern African Region at the Annual Investment Meeting 2018 held in Dubai. The institution has been recognized for its efforts in attracting Convergys to Mauritius, a project which was made possible by the ex-Board of Investment.
Being a runner-up however provides us with even more cause and motivation to gear up additional efforts to achieve the first position, as we endeavor to be recognized as the very best.
This will happen when we have the internal capacity to deal with investments. However, in the absence of the enablers, our task can become quite difficult.
Fortunately, decent groundwork has been made in this respect, in the field of market expansion particularly, which is one of the most important considerations for investors seeking a destination to start operations.
On the economic integration aspect, several initiatives have had positive advances. First, 44 countries, including Mauritius, out of the 55 Member States of the African Union have signed the Agreement establishing the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in Rwanda. This Agreement will enter into force when 22 countries ratify it. This is a significant step towards realizing the Pan-African dream, with the deal expected to contribute to increase intra-continental trade.
In addition, significant progress has been made during the 4th round of negotiations of the Comprehensive Economic and Cooperation Agreement (CECPA) with India, with the Mauritian delegation comprising both private and public-sector representatives, including the EDB, presented its case for improved market access on goods and services in several sectors, as well as for deepening economic cooperation. The deadline for signing the CECPA has been set for end of the year.
In parallel, to strengthen the go-east strategy of the Government, the first round of negotiations on the Mauritius-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held, with the aim of creating the necessary conditions to further expand bilateral trade and investment exchanges between the two countries. The Agreement will include four chapters, namely, trade in goods, trade in services, investment, and economic cooperation.
The luster of Mauritius reverberated further during Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in the UK where leaders gathered and discussed on matters of pertinence based on the theme ‘Towards a common future’. The Prime Minister of Mauritius seized the occasion to meet with other Heads of Government as well as with high caliber business professionals in the margins of the meeting.
These efforts on the economic diplomacy front recognize the need for Mauritius to be more integrated with the global community and work hand in hand with other countries to achieve shared visions. The efforts to enhance market access will increase investments as well as imports.
Foreign Direct Investment in fact increased to MUR 14.2 bn, prior to accounting for reinvested earnings. Inflows in real estate activities declined both in absolute and relative terms, while inflows in financial services and construction more than offset the fall. With better market access for goods and services, investments in manufacturing and tertiary sectors are bound to increase.
This edition provides additional insights on the actions undertaken by the EDB during the month and provide you some glimpses on what to expect in the coming days.
I wish you a pleasant read.
Joseph E. Charles Cartier
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