The Africa Partnership Conference focusing on the theme “Unity in Partnership: Enabling Sustainable and Inclusive Investment is being held yesterday and today, 03 October 2023 in Mauritius. The opening ceremony was held, yesterday morning, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Balaclava. The Conference aims at catalysing cross-border collaboration.
The Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy, the Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, the Secretary General of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Mr Wamkele Mene, the Member of the Economic Advisory Council of India, Mr Sanjeev Sanyal, and several eminent personalities were present.
The two-day conference is being organised by the Economic Development Board of Mauritius, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, with the aim to foster a conducive investment climate and promote harmonious interactions among a diverse array of stakeholders. It is bringing together investment promotion agencies from 25 African nations, forward-thinking venture capitalists, fund managers, development finance institutions, expert tax advisors, institutional investors, and groundbreaking entrepreneurs.
Minister Padayachy pointed out, Africa is a land of opportunities, and its combined GDP is expected to grow by around 4% in 2023 and 2024. He further remarked that the continent has 25% of the natural global biodiversity, 30% of the world’s mineral resources and a growing population expected to reach 1.7 billion in 2030 representing 20% of world’s population.
The Finance Minister stressed that Africa represents a significant market potential for business and investors with more than 400 companies with annual revenues over one billion USD. The entry of the African Union (AU) as a permanent member to the G20 Summit, marks another historical milestone for Africa, now known as the G21, he added. He, therefore, underlined the need to deepen collaboration with African countries.
Minister Padayachy further dwelt on the potential of the AfCFTA alliance in driving positive change and empower developing nations. Mauritius, he said, is committed to support in unlocking the potentials of the African market. He highlighted that the Mauritian economy has become more resilient and robust after the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the latest National Accounts estimates, Mauritius GDP at market prices grew by 8.9% in 2022, he pointed out adding that statistics forecast for GDP at market prices this year is estimated to grow by 6.8%.
As a founding member of AU, the Southern African Development Community, and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, Mauritius’s imports and exports with Africa have reached a total of 800 million USD in 2022, he added.
For his part, Mr Mene, underlined the need to accelerate growth in the African region while driving a sustainable and inclusive market in Africa for more enhanced goods and services, movement of capital, attractiveness in investment and spearing innovation. The African continent is well poised to become one among the ten largest economies of the world by 2050, he pointed out.
As for Mr Sanyal, he highlighted the new challenges and the turmoil that the world is facing while underlying the vast infrastructural development in India. The Government of India, he said, envisions to become a developed country in the next 25 years which, he said, can be achieved only by collaborating with other countries. He reiterated the willingness of the Government of India to work together towards optimising Africa’s growth potential while solidifying India’s position as the world’s third largest economy.