In line with the budget consultations 2019-2020, the Economic Development Board organised in March two workshops in collaboration with the Commission for Economic Affairs of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), to address key socioeconomic issues and strengthen dialogue with the private sector and civil society.
The first workshop was held on 14 March at the Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel on the theme pf agroindustry and food security. Honourable Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, Minister of Agroindustry and Food Security, and also the chairperson of the Commission for Economic Affairs, delivered a keynote address, focusing his speech on the impact of technology and new techniques on agriculture. The dialogues were structured in parallel sessions on topics of relevance such as alternatives to traditional sugar, diversification avenues of the agricultural sector, agripreneurs, enhancing food and nutrition security, and developing value chains, as well as improving market access, amongst others.
Another workshop was organised on the 21st of March for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) at the Domaine Les Pailles. Honourable Ministers Soomilduth Bholah and Mahen Kumar Seeruttun addressed the audience on the relevance and importance of MSMEs for building a resilient economy, while the Chairman of the EDB, Mr. Charles Cartier, emphasized on the ability of MSMEs to respond rapidly to needs of consumers, thereby conferring them a significant advantage over larger corporate entities. Dr. Streevarsen Narrainen, Senior Adviser at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, and Mr. Francois Guibert, CEO of the EDB, also made presentations on the situation of MSMEs in Mauritius and the ecosystem for start-ups, respectively. In the afternoon, deliberations focused on key issues facing MSMEs on topics such as innovation, access to finance, export readiness, access to markets, labour market constraints, and productivity.
Other workshops will be held by the Economic Development Board in April on several issues, namely the manufacturing sector and the labour market. Through these forums, the EDB is fulfilling its mandate of encouraging and coordinating multi-stakeholder dialogue, collaboration and action to generate economic growth that is distributed across the Mauritian society while creating opportunities for all.
The deliberations of these workshops will lead to reports, with recommendations that will be submitted to the NESC. The ultimate goal is to formulate proposals for the forthcoming budget as well as for a longer-term strategy for the economy.