In the context of the Semaine de L’Industrie Locale, a two-day National Manufacturing Summit regrouping 70 stakeholders of the public and private sectors aimed at promoting strategic resilience of the manufacturing sector, kicked off, yesterday morning, in the presence of the Minister of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, at the Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa in Balaclava.
A Salon de L’Industrie Locale will also take place from 02 to 04 December 2022 at the Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre in Pailles. Some 75 local enterprises will display their products to the public.
In his address, Minister Bholah underlined the importance of the manufacturing sector to ensure the continued prosperity of the country. “We cannot imagine a modern Mauritius without a resilient, robust and vibrant manufacturing sector, contributing towards technological progress and generating spillover effects to other sectors of the economy”, he said.
Over the years, he observed that the sector has successfully transitioned from being a producer of low value-added items into one involved in specialised and high-tech activities. He stressed on the need to identify new concrete proposals for the manufacturing sector to flourish and maintain its dynamism in a climate of confidence.
Speaking about the Summit, he said that it will provide a platform to reflect on new proposals to further reinforce the manufacturing base, strengthen the reputation of Mauritius as a reliable sourcing destination, and lead the way for the emergence of new growth poles. Discussions will focus on the following themes: development of new growth poles; the enhancement of National Quality Infrastructure; the strengthening of the export strategy; digitalisation as well as the promotion of green and sustainable manufacturing.
The Minister further spoke of the Industrial Policy and Strategic Plan (2020-2025) for Mauritius which has been elaborated with the assistance of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. “We are already mid-way in its implementation phase and as at date, around 53% of its recommendations are nearly reaching completion”, he said, while emphasising on the need to further accelerate the transition towards a “globally competitive and sustainable industrial sector”.
Mauritius, he said, is signatory to many trade agreements including the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Partnership Agreement, and Free Agreement with China and has a preferential market access of nearly 70%. He added that the various trade agreements contribute towards export diversification and economic growth.
My Ministry, he further stated, is spearheading the green transformation of the industrial sector and discussions will soon start with funding agencies. He highlighted that in face of post COVID-19 pandemic, the sector should be driven by new digital technologies, Industrial Internet of Things, robotics, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and Cloud Computing.
“In our endeavor to make a successful leap to the sphere of Industry 4.0, assistance has been sought from the Commonwealth Secretariat for a project on enhancing the capabilities of manufacturing enterprises to adopt high-end technology through the upgrading of their digital infrastructure”, he indicated.
This project, he added, is expected to span over 12 months and will support manufacturing enterprises in the implementation of new and emerging technologies to improve business process efficiencies and cost effectiveness of operations. Moreover, he reiterated Government’s commitment to reinforce the country’s industrial capacity, boost trades, and create new market horizons.