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National Policy Dialogue on the Manufacturing Sector in Mauritius aims at deepening engagement between the public and private sector and charting a way forward

23 March, 2022
National Policy Dialogue on the Manufacturing Sector in Mauritius aims at deepening engagement between the public and private sector and charting a way forward

Balaclava, Mauritius 23 March 2022 – The Ministry of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives, Republic of Mauritius, in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa (ECA SRO-SA) and the African Trade Policy Center (ATPC), with funding from the European Union, convened a two-day National Policy Dialogue on the Manufacturing Sector in Mauritius on 23rd and 24th March at Maritim Hotel in Balaclava, Mauritius. The objectives of the National Policy Dialogue included, (i) taking stock of the plethora of schemes that the Government is implementing to support the manufacturing sector (ii) stimulating dialogue and exchanges between the public and private sector on challenges and opportunities within the sector and (iii) charting a way forward to achieve the Vision of Mauritius to build a globally competitive and dynamic manufacturing sector in the country.

In his keynote address Honourable Soomilduth Bholah, the Minister of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives of Mauritius expressed his deep appreciation to ECA SRO-SA for the partnership with his ministry in hosting the event. The Minister observed that the ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic on all aspects of life have prompted more dialogue, and stressed the need for common efforts, to reach a consensus on policy solutions for the construction of a prosperous future.

The Hon. Minister noted that the organisation of the policy dialogue at this stage is crucial for the development of the manufacturing sector given the need to reassess the current situation within which the sector is evolving in a bid to come up with a transformed business ecosystem for a new impetus and greater resilience for manufacturing enterprises on the island.

The Policy Dialogue, he emphasized, was being held at an opportune time to assess the achievements of Mauritius after the publication of its Industrial Policy and Strategic Plan (IPSP), and the impacts of budget measures and packages of incentives. The Minister expressed conviction that the Policy Dialogue will unpack many new insights and inspire everyone to move together on a successful pathway.

The Minister renewed his resolve to address all the major local constraints being faced by the sector and to work towards the adoption of new technologies and ensure access to finance to enhance the competitiveness of the industry and its Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

Speaking at the same event, H.E. Mr Vincent Degert, Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to the Republic of Mauritius emphasized that the world has gone through major transformations over the last years and stressed that it is important to take stock of them. 

He underlined that the EU has remained the main trading and investment partner of Mauritius and that it is actively engaged in working with the public and private sectors with the firm commitment to continue to share expertise and experience.

According to Mr Degert, the reflection on the vision and sectorial actions will help to assess whether there is a need for other recommendations to sustain growth.

He dwelt on the four issues of importance for the EU, namely trade agreements, the transformation of the industry, the need to equip people with the right skills, and how to consolidate the environment for a business-friendly Mauritius.

Ms. Isatou Gaye, Chief of the Subregional Initiatives Section of ECA-SRO-SA delivered remarks on behalf of Ms. Eunice G. Kamwendo, Director, ECA Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa. Ms. Gaye said that the AfCFTA can be an opportunity for the country’s manufacturing sector to leapfrog to a new high productivity growth path. The African Continental Free Trade Area can unleash possibilities for Mauritius to position itself as a manufacturing hub in Southern Africa, facilitating the processing of industrial intermediates for the assembly of “Made in Africa” manufactured products. “Further, it can open up possibilities for Mauritian SMEs to integrate into African driven regional industrial value-chains” Ms Kamwendo added.

Ms. Gaye observed that the integration of an African strategy in the business plans of Mauritian firms should be an objective to aim for and may necessitate new types of support from the Government.

For his part, Mr Robert Banamwana, Strategic Planning and Team Leader, Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator said that the UN stands ready to provide support on how best to integrate new technologies, digitalization and greening in both the industry and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector in the manufacturing of goods. 

The Dialogue on Day One deliberated on the manufacturing sector in general, while the Day two was dedicated to the textile and clothing sub-sector, an important pillar of the manufacturing sector of the country. The deliberations which were informed by presentations and panel discussions involving key stakeholders, paid due regard to the internal challenges the sector and sub-sector are faced with, as well as current global challenges, such as the covid-19 pandemic and the war in Europe. It also considered new opportunities presented by the 4IR (Industry 4.0) and the advent of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Mr. Rishi Domun, Principal Industrial Analyst, Industrial Development Division, Ministry of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives made a presentation on Industrial Policy and Strategic Plan (IPSP) 2020-2025, which provides an important instrument for driving the sector is a case in point. The presentation highlighted that more than 50 per cent of the recommendations put forward in the document are being implemented. 

Ms Bineswaree Bolaky, Economic Affairs Officer presented insights from a joint ECA (SRO-SA and ATPC) and UNDP study funded by the EU titled “The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and Market Implications for the Mauritius Economy Post-COVID-19:  A Case Study on Manufacturing”. She highlighted that gains for the manufacturing sector under the AfCFTA will not be automatic and that due attention should be paid as to how SMEs can comply with rules of origin and non-tariff measures.

Panelists at the High-level Brainstorming Session on the future of the manufacturing sector, moderated by Ms. Isatou Gaye, discussed the productivity issues plaguing the sector and stressed the key role that digitalization and ICT can play to enhance productivity growth in the sector and address skills shortages. They also underlined the need to take advantage of the AfCFTA in terms of the large market size it could offer. This would provide Mauritius with the opportunity to integrate into regional value chains linked to global value chains.

During the High-level Session on the Situational analysis of the textile sector, moderated by Ms. Bineswaree Bolaky from SRO-SA, panelists highlighted among others the need to attract the youth to the sector by changing perceptions on the possibilities that the textile and apparel sector can offer to the young.

In delivering the closing remarks, Ms. Gaye conveyed on behalf of the Executive Secretary of ECA, Ms. Vera Songwe, and the ECA-SRO-SA Director, Ms. Eunice Kamwendo, ECA’s deep appreciation to the Honourable Minister, Soomilduth Bolah and the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Bibi Fatwma Abdool Raman-Ahmed for the excellent collaboration with the Ministry of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives in the successful convening of the Dialogue.

The dialogue was attended by key stakeholders from both the public and private sectors in Mauritius. Organizations represented included,  the Economic Development Board of Mauritius, the Ministry of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, the Human Resource Development Council, the National Productivity and Competitiveness Council,  the Industrial Development Finance Corporation,  the Mauritius Standards Bureau, the Association of Mauritian Manufacturers, Business Mauritius, and the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Issued by:
The Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa
UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
P.O. Box 30647, Lusaka, Zambia.

Contacts for further information:

Ms. Bineswaree Bolaky| Economic Affairs officer| UNECA SRO-SA|

Media Contacts:

Mr. Bedson Nyoni | Senior Information Management Assistant | UNECA SRO-SA| Email:
Cell: +260 97 784 5948 | Web:

Ms. Lavender Degre | Communications Officer  | UNECA SRO-SA |
Email: |
Mobile +265995753144 | Web: