'The bilateral relationship between Mauritius and South Africa will be further strengthened in the days and years to come and we are all eager to play a part in this great venture in the pursuit for a better Africa and better world'.
In a keynote address yesterday at the Hilton Mauritius Resort and Spa, in Flic en Flac, the Acting President of the Republic, Mr Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory, expressed this conviction at the launching ceremony of the South Africa Week. The Week is organised under the Government to Government segment between Mauritius and South Africa and in the context of the 50th anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Mauritius. A working session at Senior Officials level preceded the ceremony.
"Independence is very dear to Mauritius as it was after Independence that the country started making significant economic progress that has transformed it into a high middle income economy aspiring to rise to the high income economy status", said Mr Pillay Vyapoory.
Speaking about South Africa, the Acting President pointed out that it is a country with tremendous resources and with a great potential for economic and social development. Records show that the most attractive sector for South African investors is the real estate however, we would like to see South African investments in other sectors such as tourism and hospitality, film industry, seafood hub, ocean economy and the education hub. He made an appeal to South African authorities to consider easing the process of visa for Mauritian citizens, in particular students.
The Acting President recalled that he had had the privilege of serving Mauritius in South Africa as High Commissioner from September 2015 to March 2016.
"It was a matter of great pride and satisfaction to have been posted in the land of the legendary Nelson Mandela who is indeed recognised worldwide as an icon of freedom, justice and peace alongside Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King", he said.
For his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo, qualified the South Africa Week as huge as both Mauritius and South Africa can further expand and deepen their existing ties.
"The loving and affectionate relations between Mauritius and South Africa is by itself a reference and both countries can pave the way forward for the whole continent. If we have the will and the determination to work together we will achieve the African dream which is based on sharing what each country knows best, South-South cooperation and mutual respect entailing win-win situations", said the Minister.
According to the Minister, when the term BRICS was coined (with the 'S' standing for South Africa) it implied that this group represents what the world is to become tomorrow with regard to geopolitics and more distributional power. Therefore, if there is one country on the African continent which has been selected to be part of the five super powers it is South Africa. This pays tribute to a country which has come from incredibly tough times to that of a nation endowed with the capacity to overcome great challenges, he added.
Minister Lutchmeenaraidoo called for South Africa to show the way and become the lighthouse to a young continent, with a youth ratio of 60% and an important amount of mineral reserves on the planet. This is a fact which no one can ignore and this is probably where our leaders will have to show and pave the way, he pointed out.
In a statement the High-Commissioner of South Africa to Mauritius, Her Royal Highness Princess Zenani Dlamini, congratulated the Government and the people of Mauritius on celebrating the Golden Jubilee marking 50 years of Independence. South Africa takes pride in celebrating this important milestone through this South African Week, she said. South Africa and Mauritius enjoy cordial relations and we intend to foster even stronger bilateral relations, she added.