Government fully reckons the role and contribution of the cooperative sector in the development of the Mauritian economy for the past 50 years. Cooperation, unity, trust, democracy and good governance are among the key elements that are being endorsed through the ongoing cooperative movement.
The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, made this statement on 02 March 2018 at the launching of a National Cooperatives Fair in Montagne Blanche. The Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, and other eminent personalities were also present.
In his address, the Prime Minister underlined the importance of sensitising the population especially the women and the youth about the relevance of placing cooperative societies at the forefront of the socio-economic activity of the country. He emphasised that even during the pre-Independence period, cooperatives had already started playing an integral role in ensuring food security and alleviating poverty.
Prime Minister Jugnauth pointed out that the cooperative movement has today outreached several sectors including transportation, handicraft, finance, agriculture and fisheries amongst others. He commended the elderly population for their earnest hard work and sacrifices in driving the success of the cooperative sector. On this score, he called for the emancipation of the youth to further consolidate the cooperative sector and bring it to a higher level of success.
Speaking of the development of cooperatives, the Prime Minister emphasised that they should now opt for diversification and new strategies to help stimulate their progress in coming years. He added that the usage of advanced technology and digitalisation will decrease the administrative hassle of cooperative societies and promote enhanced productivity.
For his part, the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, highlighted the full commitment of cooperatives in assuring democratic values and principles. He pointed out that since 1913 the cooperative movement in Mauritius has played a significant role in the promotion of socio-economic progress while adding that cooperatives should now be guided towards doing inclusive business and should coordinate their efforts in order to empower the vulnerable groups of the society.
Minister Bholah underlined that the National Cooperative College represents a milestone for the cooperative sector and is expected to foster entrepreneurial attitudes and innovation at the centre of cooperative societies. As regards the Mauritius Cooperative Alliance Limited (MCA), he said that it is a tertiary cooperative society which regroups secondary and primary cooperative societies. He underpinned that the role of the MCA is to reinforce cooperatives and assist them in their operational activities.
On this occasion, the new Strategic Plan 2018-2020 for the cooperative sector was also launched with a view to urge the potentials of cooperatives in promoting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Strategic Plan 2018-2020
The Strategic Plan 2018-2020, with the theme "Propelling Cooperatives towards Excellence", is in line with Government's objectives as announced in Budget speech 2017/2018.
The Plan has been crafted with the support of cooperators who are the key players of the cooperative movement in Mauritius. It also encapsulates the targets of the SDGs which are in Agenda 2030, achieving sustainable production, food security, poverty alleviation, sustainable development and empowering women amongst others.
The objectives of the Plan are to promote the cooperative model of doing business especially among the youth and the women; encourage the formation of cooperatives in poverty regions and in non-traditional and emerging sectors; ensure that cooperative societies are abiding to the new cooperative enactments and facilitate their access to market and finance.
It also encourages sustainable agriculture and proper use of the oceans, empowers cooperatives through digitalisation in their development process and enhances the cooperative sector as a whole.