REMARKS: Forum Director Programmes & Initiatives opens Peer-to-Peer Learning Exchange Program (PIFS-Business Mauritius)

Forum DPI, Zarak Khan

PIFS-Business Mauritius Peer-to-Peer Learning Exchange Program

Mission Event

19 October 2022

Port Louis, Mauritius  

  • To the Honourable Alan Ganoo – Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade;
  • Ambassador Haymandoyal Dillum – Secretary for Foreign Affairs;
  • Ambassador Vishwakarmah Mungur;
  • Emma Dunlop-Bennett – High Commissioner for Aotearoa New Zealand;
  • Keara Shaw – Chargé d’Affaires – Australia High Commission to Mauritius;
  • Danandjay Luximon – Deputy Director – International Trade Division;
  • Kevin Ramkaloan – Chief Executive Officer – Business Mauritius;
  • Niels Strazdins – Trade Specialist and Mission Observer with the Commonwealth Secretariat;
  • Senior Officials of the Government of Mauritius;
  • Private Sector Representatives;
  • Members of the Media;
  • Ladies and Gentlemen;


Namaste and Bonsoir,

  1. On behalf of our Secretary General, Mr. Henry Puna of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, I bring you warm greetings from our Blue Pacific Continent and equally his sincere appreciation for your hospitality since our arrival into this beautiful country.


  1. Tyranny of distance will not separate us to come together and share our individual stories. The last three days of the mission have been quite fruitful for our Pacific businesses. This cooperation indeed shows that the spirit of South-South Cooperation is alive and thriving. We will be learning more about what Mauritius can offer and in return forging some potential partnerships between Mauritians and Pacific Businesses over the remainder of the mission.


  1. Ladies and gentlemen, this mission is a realization of the Joint Cooperation Framework (JCF) between the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and Business Mauritius, which was signed 21 February 2022. The JCF targets five (5) key pillars which include:
  • Economic Advocacy;
  • Private Sector and Sustainable Development;
  • Ease-of-Doing-Business and Policy Examinations;
  • International Trade Cooperation; and
  • The Peer-to-Peer Program with Business Mauritius, which is being implemented through this mission.
  1. The first industry focus is looking at the fisheries sector, which for our region, contributes  significantly to our Pacific economies, our peoples’ livelihood, and our cultural way of life. For some of our small economies, earnings from fishing access contributes to as high as 80 per cent of gross domestic product.


  1. Although the entry into the fisheries industry space is recent, Mauritius has progressed well, with local fish production at 31,633 tonnes and exports contributing to about 19% of its national exports in 2019.


  1. Another important component of this program will look into Mauritius’ successful implementation and exportation to European Markets under the UK-Eastern Southern African States (ESA) EPA, and how the Pacific can fully utilize its own stand in its EPA, particularly when dealing with challenges of market preparedness and the understanding of SPS and TBT requirements.


  1. In the Pacific context with regard to the EU-EPA, Rules of origin (RoO) continues to play a major role in relation to fish and fisheries products. This “global sourcing rule” promotes the development of onshore processing capacities to create local jobs, skills transfer, and income. At the same time, strong monitoring provisions ensure long-term sustainability of fish stocks.


  1. For example, due to this, there have been five major onshore investment projects in Papua New Guinea, leading to an increase in direct and indirect employment, mainly for women. Exports of processed tuna to the EU have increased by almost 300% since 2009. They reached €163 million in 2018, accounting for 18.5 % of Papua New Guinea’s total exports to the European Union that year.


  1. This mission also serves as an important catalyst for increasing south-south cooperation between the Pacific and Africa, and I am confident that this event will lead to even greater areas of strengthening between our regions. Our Pacific Private sector will explore the opportunities for joint venture arrangements and the possibility of export of Pacific goods to the African Continent by using Mauritius as a gateway.


  1. Before I conclude, I would also like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the Commonwealth Secretariat and the European Union under the SPIRIT Program for making this mission possible, for which the Forum Secretariat looks forward to continued engagement and support towards the Pacific private sector.


  1. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, with these brief remarks, I thank you again and I look forward to seeing the on-the-ground-activities taking place throughout the duration of this mission.


  1. Je vous remercie pour votre  attention.

Vinaka vakalevu.

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