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UK and Mauritius launch Joint Business Council

The Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), in collaboration with the British High Commission in Mauritius, launched the UK-Mauritius Joint Business Council (JBC) on the 3 October 2023.

This significant milestone testifies to the strong partnership between the two nations following the signing of the UK-Mauritius Strategic Trade Partnership (STP) in April 2023. The Joint Business Council is a deliverable of the STP, which will bring together public and private sector organisations, to boost trade and investment ties between UK and Mauritius. The event was held at the MCCI in Port-Louis.

Historically, Mauritius and the United Kingdom have maintained significant trade relations, which were further solidified with the signing of the Strategic Trade Partnership (STP) on 17 April, 2023. Exports of goods from Mauritius to the UK reached MUR 7 billion in 2022, accounting for 9% of Mauritius’ total global exports. Conversely, imports from the UK amounted to MUR 4 billion during the same period.

The JBC is a cornerstone of the STP, which will focus on six key sectors: Pharmaceuticals, Green Economy/Waste Management, Agri-Tech, Education, Cyber, and Financial and Professional Services. It is set to become a vital private sector platform, facilitating exchanges between Mauritian and British private sector associations, while providing a dedicated forum for regular business exchanges and promotional activities within the priority sectors identified in the STP.

The launch event brought together prominent figures from the private sector including Mr. Tim Taylor of Scott and Co, Mr Jocelyn Kwok of AHRIM and representatives from sectors such as ICT, Textile, Pharmaceuticals, Energy, Finance and Seafoods. It emphasised the critical role the MCCI plays in fostering this vital partnership. Representatives from major Mauritian businesses also participated. It was an opportunity for industry leaders to lend their perspectives and commitment to the JBC, demonstrating a collective dedication to advancing trade relations and collaboration between Mauritius and the UK.

The event took place in the presence of H.E. Ms. Charlotte Pierre, British High Commissioner to Mauritius, Mr. Andrew Selous, UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Mauritius, and Ms. Deeptee K. Bungaree-Gooheeram, the UK Trade Country Director to Mauritius. UK Officials such as Ola Williams, Director for Energy from the UK Department for Business and Trade (Africa) and business operators like Kara Neale, Commercial Leader from Clarke Energy, and Stuart Wallis, Executive Director from Power Up Off Grid Services also participated in the discussions.

In her address, Mrs. Namita Jagarnath Hardowar, President of the MCCI, highlighted the importance of the JBC and its potential impact:

“The launch of this JBC is not merely symbolic but a concrete step towards strengthening trade and investment and facilitating exchanges between our countries. It represents a visionary approach towards harnessing the potential of our partnership for the betterment of both our nations and, most importantly, our vibrant private sectors. The JBC will serve as a dynamic catalyst, driving growth and innovation in both Mauritius and the UK, facilitating cross-border collaboration, providing businesses with access to new markets and resources. By fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, it will also pave the way for the emergence of successful enterprises. This collaborative platform, aligned with the STP’s priorities, promises to usher in a new era of prosperity, particularly in sectors such as financial and professional services, waste management and green economy, education, cyber, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and Agri-Tech. »

H.E. Ms Charlotte Pierre, British High Commissioner to Mauritius, stated:

“The STP is a clear demonstration of the UK’s commitment to working with critical partners like Mauritius to push new frontiers of innovation and develop opportunities for the industries of the future. I am proud that the Joint Business Council launched today will help deliver on our shared vision to boost trade and cooperation between our two countries, worth MUR 50 billion annually. In just a few months, the STP has delivered tangible results, including providing UK expertise to Mauritius on national infrastructure projects. A delegation from UK Export Finance, the UK’s credit export agency, also visited the island to promote opportunities for Mauritius to access up to approximately MUR 161 billion to finance national projects. In July, we were delighted to welcome Hon. Minister Ramano who led a Mauritian delegation to the UK for the inaugural UK-Africa Ministerial Roadshow focussed on real solutions to decarbonise our societies. The private sector is a key partner and we are proud to be working closely together to take this critical partnership even further”.

The MCCI intends to collaborate with counterparts in the UK, including the Greater Birmingham Chambers and the London Chamber of Commerce, to promote trade and investment. As the JBC takes shape, it will offer businesses from both countries the opportunity to connect, collaborate, and thrive, empowering entrepreneurs and industry leaders to chart new horizons of success.

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