Mauritius Holds AfCFTA Workshop

From 9 to 10 November 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mauritius in collaboration with UNDP, EU and SADC organised a National Awareness Workshop on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (#AfCFTA) at the Westin Hotel at Turtle Bay.

Mauritian Foreign Minister Alan Ganoo Delivers Keynote Address at AfCFTA Workshop

Mauritian Foreign Minister Alan Ganoo opened the workshop by highlighting the huge potential of the #AfCFTA with a combined GDP of USD 3.4 trillion and a market size of about 1 billion population residing in 55 countries. Mauritius forms part of the first batch of countries to put into motion the AfCFTA.

During the Workshop, particular emphasis was laid upon #WomenEntrepreneurship and #YouthEmpowerment. #GenderEquality Minister Kalpana Koonjoo pointed out that women make a significant contribution to the economies in Africa, including Mauritius. Similarly, Industry Minister Sunil Bholah stressed that #SME form the backbone of the economies in many African countries.

In Mauritius, further to the elevation of the threshold for top line revenue, the number of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) is estimated to be about 300,000. Currently, the contribution of SME to the GDP is above 40% and is set to reach 60% in the coming years.

The Workshop explored opportunities and challenges faced by SME to enter the African single market. As part of a panel discussion, several entrepreneurs, including SME run by youth and women, shared their experience and success stories in that regard.

Several participants pointed out the need to improve #connectivity in order to realize the potential of the AfCFTA and boost intra-Africa trade. With respect to Non-Tariff Barriers (NTB), some success has been achieved via the online #NTB reporting portal which saw a resolution of 90% of cases.

During the conference, the publication “The African Continental Free Trade Agreement and Market Implications for the Mauritius Economy Post-COVID19” was officially launched and presented to the participants.

The report is a joint effort of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), the Office for Southern Africa of the Economic Commission of Africa (ECA SRO-SA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office for Mauritius and Seychelles. The study was funded by the European Union (EU).

With its network of #FTA with most major economies and regional blocs, Mauritius is in a privileged position to tap into the streamlined possibilities lying ahead and has the potential to develop into one of the top trade and investment hubs in the region.

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