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Brainstorming Session - Glocalisation: Re-engineering Regional Trade

Brainstorming session organised by the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development in collaboration with the Economic Development Board

In a bid to re-engineer a Post-Covid economic architecture, the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development in collaboration with the Economic Development Board organized a brainstorming session on 8th September 2020 themed ‘’Glocalisation: Re-engineering Regional Trade’’.  The interactive session was chaired by the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr. the Honourable Renganaden Padayachy and saw the participation of over 20 stakeholders comprising representatives of both public and private sector. 

The brainstorming session provided a comprehensive overview on key opportunities and challenges pertaining to the next level of industrialising Mauritius and more specifically focused on manufacturing in the Freeport sector and regional trade relations which can be developed to secure supply security, increase intra-regional trade which will eventually boost employment,  reduce trade deficits and increase the inflow of foreign currency.

In his opening address, the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr. the Honourable Renganaden Padayachy, underscored the importance for Mauritius to revamp its manufacturing industry into a vibrant industrial base encompassing emerging sectors, encouraging Industry 4.0 and focusing on agro-industry, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.  The Honourable Minister of Finance also outlined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local, regional, and global fronts. He further noted that half of the countries worldwide are still unable to open their borders, a situation heavily impacting free movement of people (goods & services), impeding networking and culture sharing. The Minister also asserted the importance to adopt a synchronise approach among stakeholders from all front by joining hands to face the countless challenges ahead of us.

While speaking on the theme of this brainstorming session, Dr. Renganaden Padayachy further highlighted that the objective of this meeting is to chart out a plan of action for a new industrialization strategy more focused on trade with the African continent. In that effort, a budget of MUR 10 bn has been earmarked to support Mauritian companies keen to invest & trade in Africa.

Mr. Hemraj Ramnial, CSK, Chairman of the EDB also addressing attendees on the theme of the meeting, highlighted that the consequences of the pandemic led to a drastic decline in connectivity, in volume flow and increasing supply insecurity.  Moreover, new emerging trend, whereby countries are now increasingly re-considering their sourcing strategy. Mr. Ramnial emphasized that another key area of this brainstorming session is to safeguard supply security on the local front and to develop synergies in the regional market.  Mitigating the consequences of the pandemic on Mauritius trade strategy has become a priority discussion.

Along the same lines, Mr. Ramnial provided an overview of the impact of a re-engineered regional trade strategy; that is Glocalisation, a new trade concept centred around a regional import substitution strategy with enhanced collaboration with our closest neighbours in the Indian Ocean and East Africa.    The notion of re-engineering Mauritius regional trade via glocalization will therefore steer the country to espouse a new trade model that should eventually develop into a regional integrated supply chain.

To implement this strategy, the EDB is working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning & Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, the Indian Ocean Commission, and other institutions to:

  • Explore the possibility to setting a regional Air Cargo Service,
  • Set-up a Western Indian Ocean Maritime Service
  • Work towards a distribution model in East Africa.

The Chairman of the EDB also apprised stakeholders present at the brainstorming session of a meeting held on Monday 7th September 2020 and chaired by himself. Representatives of the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning & Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade and the MRA attended the work session.  The meeting ended on a positive note, whereby Third-Party Freeport Developers would be allowed to accommodate manufacturing into the freeport zones.

Mr. Ramnial further announced some positive news on the investment front whereby the world’s largest sporting goods retailer will start its operations in Mauritius in the coming weeks.

The Chairman of EDB also added that the Freeport Regime will register investments to the tune of MUR 2.6 billion over the next 12 months which will further increase the Freeport facilities such as warehousing, processing units, open air storage, offices based at the port, airport and Riche Terre industrial zone to almost an additional of 100,000 square metres.   

Moreover, the EDB showcased a full-fledged presentation on the freeport landscape and the strategy for Regional Trade post COVID-19 which was presented by Mr. Ken Poonoosamy, Ag. CEO, supported by Mr. Vinay Guddye, Head, Logistics & Africa Desk, and Mr. Yannick Matadeen, Lead Professional at EDB.

The valuable insights gathered from the discussions between key stakeholders will constitute a solid foundation for the imminent steps and actions to be undertaken to re-engineer the industrial and Freeport landscape of Mauritius while the leading the way regionally to promote intra-regional trade and reducing our trade deficit. The report will be tabled to the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development.

The contributors and participants for this workshop are as follows:

  • Dr. the Hon. Renganaden Padayachy, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development
  • Mr. Dev Manraj, Financial secretary
  • Mr. Hemraj Ramnial, Chairman of the Economic Development Board
  • Mr. Ken Arian, Senior Advisor, Prime Minister’s Office
  • Mr. Ken Poonoosamy, Ag. CEO of the Economic Development Board
  • Mr. Ali Mansoor, Chairman of the Regional Multidisciplinary Centre of Excellence
  • Mrs. Hemlata Sadhna Sewraj-Gopal, Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Mauritius
  • Mr. Daniel Essoo, CEO of the Mauritius Bankers Association
  • Mr. Bruno Dubarry, CEO of the Mauritian Manufacturers Association (AMM)
  • Dr. Yousouf Ismael, Secretary General of the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Mrs. Lilowtee Rajmun-Joosery, Managing Director of the Mauritius Export Association.
  • Mr. Ameedee Darga, Managing Director of Straconsult
  • Mr. Yash Manick, CEO of the Mauritius Africa Fund
  • Mr. Daden Venkatasawmy, Head of Consultations and Economic Development, Business Mauritius
  • Dr. Sunil Boodhoo, Director, International Trade Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade.

The event was moderated by Mr. Vinay Guddye, Head of Logistics & Africa Desk, EDB.