The development of a national strategy is of high importance if we, as African countries, aspire to revamp the leather sector and access targeted niche markets, highlighted the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah.
He was speaking this morning at the launch of a two-day workshop on Leather Strategy for Mauritius at La Canelle, Domaine Les Pailles, in the presence of three consultants from the COMESA, and the Africa Leather and Leather Products Institute (ALLPI).
Minister Bholah underlined that the leather industry is set to become a major pillar of the Mauritian economy by unleashing its unexplored potentials and formulating new strategies. The African continent needs to consolidate its natural assets ensuring the procurement of raw materials and the maximum use of technology so as to become an international player in the leather sector, he emphasised.
He recalled that three delegates from the ALLPI were in Mauritius last year to undertake situational analysis of the leather sector and evaluate market dynamics in local, regional and global trade. On this score, he pointed out that the country's competitiveness in the sector should be identified adding that SMEs can play a key role in leather processing of footwear and garments, amongst others.
The Minister expressed his gratitude to ALLPI for its continued support in the formulation of strategy for the leather sector that will serve as a roadmap for enhanced value addition, increased productivity, quality improvement and market access. He called for the collaboration of all stakeholders and added that their efforts are paramount for the revitalisation of the sector.
The workshop, being attended by some forty local stakeholders of the leather sector, aims to create synergies between key stakeholders of the leather value chain and identify their positions with regards to the development of the leather strategy. Participants will also have the opportunity to share their views on the current status of the leather sector in Mauritius and address the different constraints and challenges.