We are celebrating this year the 50th anniversary of the manufacturing sector in Mauritius. This edition of our monthly e-newsletter focuses on the achievements and opportunities of this key pillar of the Mauritian economy while addressing the new challenges it is facing today.
Over the past five decades, the manufacturing sector has played an instrumental role in the economic diversification and transformation of Mauritius from a monocrop to a broad-based and forward-looking economy. Today, Mauritius has consolidated its reputation as a high quality and reliable supplier. In addition, through a successful combination of trade, investment, and industrialization strategies, Mauritius has expanded its customer base. As a well anchored backbone of our economy, the manufacturing sector generates a significant multiplier effect on various other sectors. In fact, the sector contributes to 12.5 percent of our GDP and provides employment to nearly 71,000 people.
A Buoyant & Thriving Industry
By virtue of our preferential market access (namely COMESA, SADC, IOC, EPA, AGOA), Mauritius exports 1,500 product lines to over 100 countries – thus testifying the relevance of this sector in sustaining the buoyancy of our economy. We have developed a competitive edge in textile and apparel, sugar cane, seafood industry, and more recently, the wine and spirits segments, which are all contributing to our diversified manufacturing base. We have also harnessed new segments such as medical devices, pharmaceutical products, technical textiles, high-end jewellery, precision engineering, and optical products.
The manufacturing sector is witnessing transformations on major fronts with a transition from traditional manufacturing to higher value-added activities. In this perspective, Mauritius is positioning itself as a centre of excellence for garment manufacturing and has secured the trust of major fashion houses in Europe, USA, and South Africa. Mauritius is also serving as a trading platform for the export and re-export of commodities to the African market.
In line with its new digital transformation strategy, the Economic Development Board has successfully hosted a series of key webinars on the manufacturing sector. These virtual activities aim at attracting the interest of potential investors as part of our global strategy to keep our stakeholders abreast of economic development and business opportunities.
However, the whirlwinds of the COVID-19 pandemic have quaked the bases on which we have built the sector. These disruptions stem from issues such as travel ban, labour immobility, limited access to imported raw materials, cancellation of orders, amongst others. Accordingly, this crisis has prompted local manufacturers to unleash new strategies to respond to the changing business landscape while tapping into new business opportunities such as the production of face masks, face shields, and medical gowns to help tackle the shortages faced by healthcare providers in the fight against COVID-19.
Mr. Hemraj Ramnial, CSK