23 May 2017

Mauritius: Launching of Creative Mauritius Project, an Online Platform to Promote Local Handicraft

press release

The Creative Mauritius project (CM), an online platform aiming to provide visibility and market linkages to craftsmen of Mauritius and Rodrigues was launched yesterday at the headquarters of the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) in Port Louis during a press conference by the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah.

The objectives of the CM project is to support the genuine creative industry of Mauritius and Rodrigues, and help unveil craftsmen's talents to tourists in particular by providing them a platform, the MCCI's e-commerce option on its portal. This measure will also strengthen the local cachet of the MCCI's portal.

Minister Bholah stated that this platform will mark a milestone for the local handicraft sector. This is indeed an unprecedented initiative that stems out of the collaboration of the private and public sector to efficiently promote the local handicraft sector, he added.

He recalled that his Ministry and the MCCI embarked last September on the CM project based on a public-private partnership which was formalised by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between MCCI and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA). Moreover, a technical committee was established in February 2016 by his Ministry to address various problems faced by the handicraft sector and the use of internet as a strategic tool to establish market linkages for Mauritian craftsmen was one of the key recommendations of the committee.

According to Mr. Bholah, the internet has become a very useful and strategic promotional tool in countries having a strong handicraft tradition. It is being fully utilised to raise awareness, both locally and internationally, on the existence and quality of handicraft. Currently, some 120 artisans from Mauritius and Rodrigues have been selected by the SMEDA to join the platform and provisions are being made for more operators, he underlined.

Speaking about the new Tax Free Shopping website of the MCCI, the Minister stated that the online platform, a first of its kind, will provide an unparalleled visibility to local talent and know-how, with an access to the tourist market that will, from now on, know no bounds for craftsmen. Craft operators who are registered with SMEDA will have a webpage of their own with a description of their products, a photo gallery, their contact details as well as a geo-tracking feature which will enable tourists to find their way to them, he added. The Tax Free Shopping website, he said, will in future offer a new e-payment solution and thus broaden horizons even more for our local craftsmen through e-commerce.

Minister Bholah announced that Mauritius has requested India to extend help in its effort to revamp the Handicraft sector into a resilient industry by deputing a Master Craftsman for the training of trainers and of local artisans.

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