Governmental representatives, members of the diplomatic community and leading South African and Mauritian businessmen and women were among those present when the South African Chamber of Commerce in Mauritius was officially launched on Thursday 19thSeptember at the residence of the South African High Commissioner to Mauritius, Her Excellency Dr. Nomvuyo Noke.
The occasion provided more than 100 guests with the opportunity to meet and network with key stakeholders across a variety of industries as well as other business support entities such as the Board of Investment and the Mauritian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Official proceedings were kicked off by a rousing demonstration of African drumming presented by the Drum Café. Thereafter the President of the SA Chamber, Mr Richard Robinson outlined the aims and objectives of the Chamber.
"What this Chamber is striving to achieve, is to engage with Government to help create a workspace where entrepreneurs and investors can thrive and prosper,” said Robinson. “Our mission statement is very clear, we are a non-profit organisation encouraging bi-lateral trade between Mauritius and South Africa, as well as promoting Mauritius as a regional hub for investments into Africa. The future prosperity of Mauritius depends on 3 pillars of economic growth – exports, investments and productivity. This cannot be accomplished without providing security of property and people, and building responsive and competent institutions."
South African investment into Mauritius is not insignificant. Over the 2012 fiscal year, SA represented 22% of all FDI in Mauritius and for the first 3 months of 2013, 14%.
“Our members will benefit from tremendous networking opportunities both in Mauritius and via our affiliation with SACCI (South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry). We will disseminate useful information on changes in legislation and policy via our website. We also plan to host regular events where members can interact with one another and listen to a variety of guest speakers. As the Chamber grows and becomes more recognised in SA, we anticipate a steady flow of requests for information across all industries. These potential clients will be distributed to our members working in that specific field. Similarly any Mauritian business wishing to expand into SA can utilize the relationships we have in that country to facilitate this expansion,” stated Robinson.
The highlight of the evening was an address by the guest speaker, the Honourable Xavier-luc Duval, Vice Prime Minister of Mauritius and Minister of Finance and Economic Development. Minister Duval stressed the importance of South Africa to the Mauritian economy referring to the country as “ the giant next door”. Using the textile industry as an example, the Minister explained the exports to South Africa has increased by more than 40% over the past few years. He further went on the praise the establishment of the Chamber as a positive step in fostering the dynamic relationship between the two countries.