Addis Ababa — The government of Mauritius, with technical assistance from the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and financial support from the European Union (EU), is holding a one-day meeting in Port Louis, Mauritius. The main purpose of the event is to review the Mauritius National Response Strategy, which is being developed to help Mauritius take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
Beyond the review of the strategy, through gathering of the views of all invited stakeholders, the meeting will sensitize private operators in the country about the market opportunities offered by the continental agreement. It will further provide a platform to stimulate public-private dialogue on the key role that Mauritius could play on the continent.
"It is expected that the National Response strategy will recommend concrete actions that Mauritius should undertake to maximize on the opportunities arising under the AfCFTA," said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade in a statement.
In addition, the strategy will identify actions to enhance economic diversification in Mauritius and expand its trade in goods and services with other African countries. It will provide recommendations on how to boost investment through an assessment of comparative advantages and investigate value chains development at the regional and continental levels as well as addressing issues pertaining to intellectual property rights, competition policy and e-commerce. The strategy will also aim to mainstream cross-cutting issues such as gender, environmental and climate change mitigation and digital technologies.
The meeting opened by Mr N. Boodhoo, Director-Trade Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade followed by Mr Sizo Mhlanga, Acting Director, ECA Sub-regional office for Southern Africa; Ms Beatrice Chaytor, Senior Trade in Services Expert, African Union Commission; Amb. Vincent Degert, Ambassador of the EU to the Republic of Mauritius and Republic of Seychelles and by Hon. N. Bodha, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade.
The Ambassador of the EU Republic of Mauritius and Republic of Seychelles, present at the meeting, said that EU is really thrilled about the continuous momentum in getting the African Continental Free Trade Area off the ground, as it is considered to be a game-changer that will further help Africa's transformation. The EU, as the other unique continental integration success story is here, as a long-term partner to share experiences on economic and regional integration and single market. The EU has been a partner for Africa since the beginning of the process, supporting it politically and financially, and through its trade policy.
Mauritius became the fifth country in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to ratify the agreement in September 2019. The AfCFTA agreement, once operational next month, will be the world's largest by a number of participating countries.