Business deals buzzing at Seychelles-Mauritius forum
Participants of the Seychelles-Mauritius trade fair taking place in Seychelles until Saturday April 26. (George Thande, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Over 100 delegates from Mauritius and an equal number from the Seychelles are meeting in a two-day forum aimed at boosting trade between the two Indian Ocean island nations.
Today they outlined the areas of trade and commerce that each country is stronger in, and pledged to learn from each others’ strengths in a bid to balance trade between them, amid the signing of several memorandums of understanding between sister organisations from each country.
Amongst the four MOU’s signed one is for the establishment of a joint Business council between the Chamber of Commerce of the two Indian Ocean islands.
Ministers leading the delegations at the forum, which is being held in the Seychelles’ capital of Victoria, said there are at least 20 reputable Mauritian firms in Seychelles running tourism, financial and other services.
Seychellois firms have, however, not shown a strong presence in Mauritius, said Mauritian minister for industry, commerce and consumer protection Cader Sayed-Hossen, who said whereas Seychelles has a lot of experience in oil and gas related activities like exploration and bunkering, his country is only starting, and will be glad to learn from Seychelles.
He said while both countries pursue similar welfare state goals, there is a trade imbalance in favour of his country, adding Seychelles’ admirable GDP of US $15 thousand gives the country greater purchasing power.
Sayed-Hossen said Seychelles has a conducive environment for doing business, which along with the country’s political stability has helped maintain a steady flow of foreign direct investment.
Both Sayed-Hossen and Seychelles foreign affairs minister Jean-Paul Adam noted that the forum is a follow up of talks held during exchange visits in 2012 between Seychelles President James Michel and Mauritian Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam in which they agreed to strengthen ties between the two Creole speaking island nations.
“Prime Minister Ramgoolam and President Michel showed clearly that our future depends on a region that is prosperous, that develops strong and sustainable partnerships, ” said Adam.
He noted the forum is being held at an opportune time, this being the International Year of Small Island Developing States.
“Our economies can be seen to be mirrors of each other. While some may seek to characterise us as competitors, our desire to build partnerships means we can harness this spirit to reflect our respective strengths in a more proactive way,” he said.
Parallel to the first Seychelles – Mauritius business forum, public and private enterprises of the two countries are taking part in a three day trade fair showcasing textiles, footwear, spices, art and craft items amongst others.
The Seychelles-Mauritius forum is the third to be organised on Seychelles shores since the beginning of the year following a Seychelles-South Korea and Seychelles-Sri Lanka forum.
An Indonesia – Seychelles and EU-Seychelles forum is also planned to take place in the Seychelles later this year while the Seychelles Investment Board (SIB) is also planning to head to Sri Lanka and Shanghai - China.