Port Louis, Mauritius, September 20, 2018 (ECA) – Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth on Thursday said there was need for enhanced economic cooperation amongst African nations as the continent strives for inclusive and sustainable development.
Mr. Jugnauth said constructive dialogue on common themes for the continent would help countries share experiences, trade with each other more and further strengthen relationships in a win-win situation.
He was speaking at his offices in Port Louis where he met with an Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) delegation on the sidelines of the 24th Session of the Inter-Governmental Committee of Experts (ICE) of Southern Africa. The delegation was led by ECA Southern Africa Director, Mr. Said Adejumobi. Members of the delegation included African Union Regional delegate for Southern Africa, Mr. Auguste Ngomo, and senior representatives from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
The Prime Minister said promoting intra-African partnerships was a major thrust of his administration.
“We have a great opportunity to improve our relationships in Africa beyond political statements. Great statements have been made in the past and we feel it is time to move towards taking concrete steps that enhance cooperation amongst our nations in a win-win situation; promoting development and helping us engage directly on issues of mutual interest but implementing what we agree on for the benefit of our people,” he said.
The Prime Minister said Mauritius has existing partnerships with countries like Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, Madagascar, with others in the pipeline with nations like South Africa but would want to work more with other Africa countries.
Mr. Jugnauth added that while Mauritius has traditionally maintained relationships with Asia and Europe, he now hopes to bring this experience to the table to strengthen his country’s relationship with Africa in a win-win situation. Quality education, he said, is one of the things Mauritius is offering, adding Africa could take advantage of it.
He stressed that as much as Mauritius is well known as a good holiday destination, his administration is promoting the country as both a good business and holiday destination.
The leader of the delegation, Mr. Adejumobi, expressed gratitude on behalf of his team for being invited to meet the Prime Minister.
He stressed the importance of the ICE meeting and Thursday’s joint SADC-ECA Adhoc Expert Group Meeting on the ‘Role of Small and Medium Enterprises in the Industrialization Process in Southern Africa’ and how fruitful the meeting was in helping member States discuss ways through which they can support SMEs in order to stir economic growth and industrialization on the continent.
Mr. Adejumobi said he was impressed by the high level representation throughout the meeting with Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and other high profile officials from Mauritius attending and participating fully.
“Your Excellency I would like to pledge deeper cooperation and collaboration between the UN system, Africa and Mauritius as we work together in trying to find solutions to pressing issues affecting socio-economic development in the SADC region and the continent as a whole,” the ECA Southern Africa Chief said.
The African Union Commission’s Mr. Ngomo expressed gratitude at Mauritius’ timely contribution of its assessed financial contributions to the AUC and called on the nation to put at Africa’s disposal its expertise and knowledge in many areas of cooperation.
He also expressed hope that the 21st Century would be Africa’s time and that Mauritius will be an important player in leading African nations towards inclusive and sustainable development.
COMESA’s Investment Promotion and Private Sector Development Director, Thiery Mutombo Kalunji, re-iterated that Mauritius is a true believer in intra-African cooperation as demonstrated by the number of double-taxation agreements it has signed with African countries. Of note was the rapid development that Mauritius has seen from the 1960s when it was not in the limelight but now is a major player on the international scene despite being a small nation. COMESA said Mauritius’ belief in Africa is demonstrated by the number of investments it is making in other African countries.
SADC’s Policy, Planning and Resource Mobilization Director, Mr. Mubita Luwabelwa, also hailed Mauritius for being a valuable member of SADC. He pointed out the important role that Mauritius plays in furthering SADC’s regional integration agenda, adding the region and Africa as a whole have a lot to learn from the island nation.
“We are also very grateful for the genuineness and ingenuity demonstrated by the Mauritian people which makes them an assert to Africa,” said Mr. Luwabelwa.
More than 80 senior policy makers from the region, leading practitioners and experts, private sector operators, civil society, regional and international development agencies, including development financial institutions, are attending the meeting which is being hosted by the Government of Mauritius.
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