The island economy is focusing on the SME sector as a growth engine, and has started work on a roadmap for the inclusive development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Mauritius in the years to come.

This was the agenda of a consultative meeting held on July 3, 2014 in Port Louis under the chairmanship of Mauritius business minister Jim Seetaram.

The meeting consisted of several stakeholders: Financial Secretary Dev Manraj; Board of Investment; Mauritius Business Growth Scheme; National Productivity and Competitiveness Council; National Women Entrepreneur Council; Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority; Development Bank of Mauritius; and, the State Land Development Company.

Discussions at the meeting centered on the needs of the SME sector and the various segments of activities that SMEs undertake.

The meeting is expected to result in a document encompassing the vision and aspirations of all entrepreneurs in Mauritius, which would serve as an important tool for the preparation of Budget 2015.

During the meeting, the business minister opined that SMEs can become a robust vehicle for accelerated economic growth in Mauritius. “Moreover we are capable of producing quality products and exporting them to the African market”, he said, highlighting that Africa represents a huge market full of opportunities for the export of Mauritian products.

This consultative meeting has been organized further to Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam’s speech on June 27, 2014 at the Annual Dinner of the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry where he highlighted the need to bring about reforms and consolidate the various sectors of the economy, including the financial services sector, and to move to a new chapter in economic development.

Moreover, to reach a consensus on major policy orientation for the forthcoming budget, the Finance Ministry is holding a series of consultative meetings with stakeholders from different economic sectors covering agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and services.

Besides, a two-day National Cooperative and Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) market fair was held on July 5 and 6 at the Open University of Mauritius, Bel Air Campus in  Bel-Air-Rivière-Sèche.

Themed ‘Co-operative enterprises achieve sustainable development for all’, the market fair provided a platform to raise public awareness on various products and economic activities of cooperative societies.

The fair provided a marketing outlet for the products of cooperatives and SMEs and to sensitize the public on their contribution in the socio-economic development of the country.

Besides, it also acted as a platform for cooperatives and SMEs to network and establish contacts with a view to building and growing their customer base and giving more visibility to their efforts.

Seetaram saw co-operatives’ role as important to promote sustainable development in all aspects such as economic growth, social development and environmental protection, even as they contribute towards achieving goals set out under the Maurice Ile Durable project.

“Cooperatives comprise around 10% of the population in Mauritius and their actions will be important for environmental protection and citizen welfare.  Co-operatives in Mauritius play an important role in the generation of national income, the process of economic democratisation and in strengthening the foundation of the economy,” he said.

SMEs and cooperative federations & societies from Mauritius and Rodrigues; women entrepreneurs registered with the National Women Entrepreneur Council and the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare; the Agricultural Marketing Board; and the State Trading Corporation participated in the fair.

Cooperative societies from Rodrigues benefitted from a special corner for the sale of their products.

A wide variety of products, such as textiles, handicrafts and jewelry, food items, vegetables and fruits, and flowers and potted plants, were sold at the fair.

Image: During a consultative meeting held to assist in the preparation of Budget 2015, Mauritius business minister Jim Seetaram opined that SMEs can become a robust vehicle for accelerated economic growth in Mauritius.

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