REMARKS: Acting SG Manoni at Pacific Islands Forum-Business Mauritius signing

Signing of the Pacific Islands Forum-Business Mauritius Joint Cooperation Framework
21 February 2022

 Remarks by Acting Secretary General, Dr Filimon Manoni

• Mr. Kevin Ramkaloan , CEO Business Mauritius
• The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary General of The Commonwealth; and
• Distinguished Guests

Ni sa bula and a good evening to you. To our colleagues in Mauritius and London, a very good morning to you.

What a great start to the new year with an event like this to signal and herald in a new partnership and collaboration with Business Mauritius. The signing of this Joint Cooperation Framework (JCF) is timely given the pandemic and our efforts to find recovery pathways. Particularly so for our business communities and private sector where there is still so much uncertainty and despair. There is an urgency to strengthen our South- South Cooperation, as well as sharing of best practises, challenges and opportunities among Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) in transitioning towards a post pandemic recovery. Mauritius is a very good example for Forum Island Countries.

The JCF also comes at a critical juncture, where the Forum Trade Ministers in 2021 endorsed the development of a regional private sector strategy to complement the 2050 Strategy. This is seen to be important in enhancing the business competitiveness of Pacific private sector and expanding trade opportunities. This partnership will enable Pacific private sector entities to learn more about the challenges and opportunities faced by Mauritius private sector in the course of its existence and COVID-19 pandemic.

This partnership is therefore timely and in building cooperation between the Pacific private sector and Business Mauritius, the apex body and national private sector organisation (NPSO) representing over 1200 companies in Mauritius, who are producers of goods and services, and large employers.

According to a 2020 World Bank Report, Mauritius continues to lead at the global stage, ranking number one in Africa for its consistent ease-of-doing-business policies and mechanisms. Diversified economic sector trajectories, policy reform implementation and government-private sector dialogue have contributed immensely to Mauritius’ rapid development.

We have great pleasure in solidifying this partnership through the signing of this JCF. It is purposed with sharing important lessons and best practice especially in vital sectors such as fisheries, agriculture and ICTs, and in institutional strengthening activities of NPSOs and employer business organisations.

Targeting five key pillars, this JCF puts into practice those policies and plans that are captured in some of our key regional documents – firstly, the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, and secondly, the Pacific Aid-for-Trade Strategy 2020-2025.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Commonwealth Secretariat for lending its support to this partnership. Particularly so, in supporting the first peer to peer mission to Mauritius being planned, borders and travel requirements permitting – mid this year.

To the Executive and team at Business Mauritius – thank you for this pathway and opening up your doors to working with us. It is so encouraging to see the Pacific and Southern African Development Community regions collaborating. This is just one avenue in which we can do so. As a collective we share membership in the Commonwealth, including the Intra Commonwealth SME Association; and the Business ACP network – and demonstrate that despite distances and characteristics, much can be gleaned when sustainable development is at the forefront and businesses being given much needed support.

Congratulations to all our teams that have diligently worked on this partnership and I now, look forward to seeing the on-the-ground-activities taking place.

With these remarks, I thank you, Vinaka Vakalevu.



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