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Africa Partnership Conference 2023: Renganaden Padayachy Stressed On The Importance Of The African Continental Free Trade Area

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The third edition of the Africa Partnership Conference (APC) opened with great enthusiasm at the InterContinental Resort, Balaclava Fort, Mauritius, this Monday 02 October. The conference’s thought-provoking theme, “Unity in Partnership: Enabling Sustainable & Inclusive Investment,” reflects Mauritius’ unwavering commitment to fostering collaboration and sustainable growth across the African continent.

In his keynote address, the Honourable Dr. Renganaden Padayachy, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning, and Development for Mauritius emphasized the significance of unity and partnership for Africa’s sustainable and inclusive investment. He highlighted Africa’s immense potential, with a growing GDP, abundant natural resources, and a rapidly expanding middle class. He also stressed on the importance of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in fostering economic engagement and trade.

Renganaden Padayachy

Minister Padayachy underscored Mauritius’ role as an education hub for the continent, offering scholarships to exceptional African students. He mentioned Mauritius’ attractiveness for investors. He also touched on Mauritius’ commitment to sustainability, with a focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting renewable energy.

Mr Hemraj Ramnial, CSK, Chairman of the Economic Development Board (EDB) of Mauritius, welcomed delegates by reflecting on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. He drew parallels between Gandhi’s principles of peace, non-violence, tolerance, and justice and Africa’s quest for unity and inclusivity. Mr Ramnial stressed the importance of strategic partnerships in uplifting African lives and building sustainable economies. He highlighted EDB’s commitment to fostering inclusive growth through collaboration in sectors like agriculture, infrastructure, and renewable energy.

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Mr Saviour Chibiya, Chief Executive of Absa Regional Operations, emphasized the importance of cooperation in achieving sustainable and inclusive growth. Absa bank is dedicated to promoting inclusive and sustainable investment, prioritizing social responsibility and economic inclusivity. Mr Chibiya highlighted Absa’s commitment to providing financial services to individuals and businesses across Africa, empowering them to thrive.

Mr Andrew Selous, MP and Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Mauritius, discussed the UK’s Strategic Trade Partnership (STP) with Mauritius. He emphasized Africa’s potential as a global engine of economic growth and the UK’s commitment to long-term partnerships with African nations. Mr Selous highlighted the opportunities for UK investors in Africa, particularly in renewable energy and resources.

Hemraj Ramnial

Mr Sanjeev Sanyal, Member of the Economic Advisory Council of India, discussed India’s growth amidst global challenges. He highlighted India’s growth rate and the potential for India to become the world’s third-largest economy in GDP terms. Mr Sanyal emphasized the importance of like-minded partnerships and the need to rethink global rules of engagement, particularly in areas like sovereign ratings and ESG norms.

Mr Wamkele Mene, representing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), discussed the potential of AfCFTA in driving sustainable and inclusive investments in Africa. He highlighted the importance of investment facilitation, dispute resolution mechanisms, and policies to attract foreign direct investment. Mr Mene emphasized the need for attractive investment climates at national, regional, and continental levels.

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The APC’s opening ceremony concluded with the signing of key memoranda of understanding (MoUs), underlining the commitment to fostering partnerships and collaboration for sustainable and inclusive growth. The event’s themes and messages set a promising tone for the conference, which promises to be a platform for dialogue, cooperation, and action toward a brighter future for Africa.

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