PAKISTAN-Mauritius Economic, Social and Political Relations.

(Dr.Mehboob Syed, )

Pakistan and Mauritius have deep-rooted, time tested friendly and strong ties and both the countries are striving for peace , stability , people’s empowerment, betterment and more opportunities of trade and economic cooperation at various forums.

Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2000 Kilometers off the southeast coast of the African continent. Its capital is Port Louis. It got independence from Britain on 12 March, 1968. Mauritius has population of 1.5 million with a mixture of Hindus, Christians and Muslims and is the best example of tolerance, harmony and unity among various religions. In 1992, Mauritius became a republic within the common wealth of nations. The people of Mauritius are multi-ethnic, multi-religion multi-cultural multi-lingual. It is highly ranked democracy and for economic and political freedom.

Mauritius president Bibi Ameenah Firdous Gunib Fukim is highly qualified and is doctor of science, a biodiversity scientist. She is serving as president since 2015. Her nomination was unanimously approved by National Assembly which shows great respect and high degree of confidence on her abilities. She worked as managing director of SIDP research and innovation; where she devoted her time researching the medical nut rive implications of indigenous plans of Mauritius. Previously she was a professor with a personal chair in organic chemistry at the University of Mauritius and where she served successfully as the faculty of science and pro-vice chancellor. She received various awards including L’Oreal UNESCO Award for women in science in 2007. She is Ph.D in organic chemistry from Exeter University. He husband Dr. Anwar Fatim is a surgeon.

Mauritius is the member of WTO, Common Wealth of nations, La Franco Phonier, The African union, The Southern African Development Community.
Economy of Mauritius

Mauritius is ranked first in Africa in global financial index, economic freedom of the world, Economic Freedom Index. In Global Competitive index is 5th in economic freedom of the world, 8th in economic freedom index, Mauritius is ranked 2nd in air quality index by WHO.

With a well developed legal and commercial infra structure and a tradition of entrepreneurship and representative government, Mauritius is one of the developing world’s most successful democracies.

Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has undergone a remarkable economic transformation from a low income , agro based economy to a diversified , upper middle income economy with growing industrial ,financial and tourist sectors Mauritius has achieved steady growth over the last several decades , resulting in more equitable income distribution , increase life expectancy, lowered infant mortality and much improved the economy currently rests on sugar, tourism, textiles and apparel, and financial services but is expanding into fish processing, information and communication technology, hospitality and property development. Sugarcane is grown on about 99% of the cultivated land area and accounts for 15% of export earnings, development strategy centers on creating vertical and horizontal clusters of development in these sectors. Mauritius has attracted more than 32,000 offshore entities many aimed at commerce in South Africa and China. Investment in the banking sector has reached over One billion dollars. Mauritius textile sector has taken advantages of the African growth and opportunity Act, a preferential trade programme that allows duty free access to US market, swith Mauritius exports to the US growing by 40% from 2000 to 2014. Pakistani textile industry can take advantage of Mauritius free trade access to US market and can invest in textile sector there to re export to USA and African countries.
Economic Indicators
GDP (PPP) : $ 25.85 billion (2016)
GDP ( Official exchange rate ) $ 11.74 billion
GDP (real growth rate) $ 3.5 % (2016)
GDP per capita $ 20,500 (2016)
GDP composition by sector
Agriculture 4%
Industry 22.1%
Services 73.9 %
Exports $ 2.676 billion (2016)
Export commodities: clothing and textile, sugar, cut flower, molasses, fish , primates ( for research)
Export partners
UK 13.2% , UAE 12.4 % , France 11.9% , USA 10.7 % South Africa 8.6%
Imports : $ 4.355 billion
Import commodities: manufactured goods, capital equipment, petroleum products, chemicals
Import partners:
India 18%, China 7.8%, France 7%, South Africa 6.5%

World Economic Forum describes Mauritius as ideal gateway to Africa .Mauritius infrastructure is at par with international standards.

There are no foreign exchange controls and foreign companies enjoying free repatriation of profits. It has also eliminated double-taxation with several important African countries, signing tax treaties that help Mauritian-based firms to trade across the region. It boasts one of the most advantageous jurisdictions for tax structuring in Africa, offering a tax-free environment for investing capital and zero tax on interest gained at banks in Mauritius. All of this means that private equity firms are able to offer investors highly tax efficient earnings in one of the region’s most transparent and well-run democracies, which is why global PE companies such as Quantum Global have registered multi-billion dollar funds on the island. The firm’s newly established office and team of highly experienced PE professionals, is the hub for the seven registered funds worth $3 billion offering investors optimal returns in a very well governed and risk-assessed environment.
Investors should also recognize that Mauritius is a country that has never shied away from reforms that support social development – an important ingredient in the development of a skilled workforce and a knowledge-based economy. The country’s reliance on its traditional export – sugar cane – fell from 90% in 1968 to 3.5% now – a shining example of success in moving away from reliance on one primary industry. Historically, textiles and the manufacture of garments, financial and business services and tourism have been the backbone of the economy for many years.

The small and medium-sized enterprises sector is growing, providing new jobs and supporting social mobility. World Bank figures tell us that the growth in Mauritius looks sustainable too – it forecasts steady YOY GDP growth of around 4% per year up to 2018.

This is a nation that has all of the key ingredients for investor confidence: economic diversity, a highly completive tax regime, investor-friendly regional trade and tax arrangements – all underpinned by a working democracy, independent judiciary and a global reputation for transparency. During such unpredictable times, Mauritius is an island of stability and reliability.
Pakistan and Mauritius Friends , Brothers

Ms. Nilofer Shahid, top fashion designer from Pakistan organized a Fashion Show at Mauritius by showcasing contemporary Pakistani high end designer wear. The show was held at Gardens of Sugar Beach Resort, on the evening of 21st October 2016. President of Mauritius was the Chief Guest on the occasion. At the start of show, a documentary on TDAP and leading exportable Pakistani products was shown to the audience. CE TDAP welcomed the Chief Guest and briefly spoke about Pakistan-Mauritius bilateral trade and commercial relations and also highlighted the purpose of high powered business delegation to Mauritius. The event was attended by large number of Fashion Lovers, Ministers/government functionaries, heads/representatives of the resident diplomatic Missions, prominent Mauritian Businessmen, leading Pakistani community members and media representatives. During Pakistan Fashion Show Top 18 models displayed more than 50 unique collection of Pakistani designs representing deep cultural as well as traditional heritage of Pakistan. Fashion Show was followed by a dinner in honour of President of Mauritius which was also attended by Government functionaries, local dignitaries, media representatives and prominent Pakistani Community members. Enclosed herewith are few snaps taken during the Fashion Show which may be published in special supplement.

II. Pakistan Food Festival at the premises of Greenwich University

In association with Greenwich University, TDAP and Pakistan High Commission, "Pakistan Food Festival" was organized at the premises of Greenwich University. The food festival started on 20 October 2016 and continued till 25 October 2016. Four prominent chefs were flown from Pakistan to prepare and present best Pakistani cuisine to Mauritian food lovers. The festival was inaugurated by Mr. Atmarannoo Sonoo, Mayor Quatre Borne sister city of Port Louis. It has been observed that every day more than 500 Mauritian food lovers visited Pakistan Food Festival and greatly enjoyed best cuisines of Pakistan.

III. Pakistan Food Festival at Sugar Beach Resort

In association with TDAP, Sugar Beach Resort and Pakistan High Commission, another "Pakistan Food Festival" was organized at the premises of Sugar Beach Resort. The food festival started on 20th October 2016 and continued till 25th October 2016. Chef Mehboob, a celebrity Chef of Pakistan was specially flown in. During his six days festival, he prepared and presented the best Pakistani cuisine as well as continental cuisine to Mauritian food lovers and foreign tourists.

IV. Book Launch on the State Visit of President of Mauritius to Pakistan

H.E. Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President, Republic of Mauritius paid an official visit to Pakistan from 17-20 April 2016. During her stay in Pakistan, she met our leadership in Islamabad and also visited Karachi. Greenwich University Pakistan prepared a book highlighting her meetings with political leadership, meetings with various dignitaries including prominent business leaders, visit to different places including laying of floral at the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and visit to HEJ Institute University of Karachi. The book launching ceremony was held at the premises of Greenwich University, Mauritius Campus, which was attended by few ministers, former Vice President, government functionaries, prominent Mauritian personalities, leading Pakistani community members and media representatives.

H.E. Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President, Republic of Mauritius in her concluding remarks vividly recalled her state visit to Pakistan and emphasized that though Pakistan-Mauritius political relations are as envisioned by the leadership of both countries but trade/commercial and economic relations are not up to level of potential exists between the two countries. She urged businessmen from both countries to enhance trade/commercial and economic relations by setting up joint ventures in various fields, improving people to people contacts and increasing high level contacts between the Chambers and business community from both sides. She also informed the audience that Mauritius is member of various economic groupings such as The Common Market for Eastern and Sothern Africa (COMESA), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and has also signed many PTAs/FTAs. Thus making Mauritius a launching pad for African continent. She urged Pakistani businessmen to benefit from Mauritius's geo-strategic position and being member of many economic groupings. She assured Pakistani businessmen her continued support for promoting business between Pakistan and Mauritius. The event was widely covered by print and national TV channel.

With the passage of time these relations further would be strengthened. Mauritius is going to celebrate its 49th Independence Day and whole Pakistani nations conveys them best wishes and prayers for their prosperity, integrity and further development and for the longevity of their leadership.
 

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