A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MCCI) and the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) on Thursday 1 September 2016 in Pretoria with the objective of consolidating further the business ties between the two countries.
The signing parties, Mr. Alan Mukoki, Chief Executive Officer of SACCI, and Mr. Raju Jaddoo, Secretary-General of the MCCI are of the view that this collaboration will enable greater exchange of information and views on the opportunities of widening cooperation to the mutual benefit of both Mauritian and South African business people.
The setting-up of a Joint Business Council, comprising representatives of both Mauritian and South African business communities was also discussed. The JBC will be established with the objective of encouraging, promoting and facilitating economic cooperation among the business communities of both countries. The MoU was signed in the context of the 1st Session of the South Africa-Mauritius Joint Working Committee meeting held in Pretoria on the same day.
The topics under discussion of the Joint Working Group meeting included the establishment of dialogue on Rules of Origin between the two countries, the other possible areas of cooperation such as the manufacturing sector, renewable energy and maritime connectivity, as well as the setting-up of a Focal Point Working Group to identify and address the Market Access issues between South Africa and Mauritius. The Mauritian delegation was led by the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Mrs. U. C. Dwarka Canabady.
Trade relations between South Africa and Mauritius have shown significant growth over the last decade. Imports from Mauritius escalated from 263-million rand (Rs 657 million) in 2006 to R2.2-billion (Rs 5.5 billion) in 2015 and, during the same period, the value of South Africa’s exports rose significantly from R1.8-billion (Rs 4.5 billion) to R3.7-billion (Rs 9 billion).
The Government’s Africa Strategy
Despite global challenges and downside risks during the last few years, growth prospects in Sub-Saharan Africa remain favourable, increasing its attractiveness as an investment destination. Membership in Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is testimony of strong links with the mainland.
In 2015, Mauritius contributed approximately Rs 132 million to the Regional Economic Corporations (RECs). The visibility of the island as a regional platform for trade and investment within the region was consolidated further with 15 Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAAs) and 8 Investment Protection & Promotion Agreement (IPPAs) in force with African countries.
In 2015, there were six shipping lines connecting Port Louis harbour to Indian Ocean islands, the African continent and Asian markets. These included African ports such as Durban, Cape Town, Mombassa and Dar- Es-Salaam. Mauritius also operates weekly flights to neighbouring islands and the African continent.
In 2015, some Rs 870 million were invested by Mauritian companies in Africa, in particular, Madagascar and Kenya.
Trade with Africa
During the last five years, exports towards Africa almost doubled from Rs 16,432 million in 2011 to
Rs 32,693 million in 2015. Some Rs 8,156 million worth of commodities were exported towards COMESA states and Rs 14,682 million towards SADC states.
Export of Services to Africa
Increased connectivity and cross-border investments have led to spill-overs towards export of services. In recent years, Mauritius has embarked on the development of a medical hub, regional tourism strategy, financial services hub and education hub – all with primary focus on African countries.
The Board of Investment (BOI) estimated some 7,509 patients visiting the island in 2013, mainly Madagascar.
In 2015, some 284,628 African tourists visited the island economy, of which 162,459 were from Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) countries. 51 per cent of African tourists were from Reunion Island and 36 per cent from South Africa.
Export of financial services is made mainly through GBC1s. Investment through GBC1s from South Africa was to the tune of USD 9,293 million in 2014.
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