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AfricaMoney | August 22, 2017

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Mauritius and Congo join forces for economic growth

Mauritius and Congo join forces for economic growth

A draft agreement on special economic zones in Congo was signed by Mauritius’ Board of Investment and the ministry in charge of special economic zones (SEZs) at the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Image: Invest Mauritius)

The island economy has joined forces with Congo for setting up special economic zones in the resource-rich Central African economy.
However, simplifying customs delays and up-skilling human resources are two priority areas that must be tackled swiftly to ensure productive trade between the two African economies.
A draft agreement on special economic zones in Congo was signed by Mauritius’ Board of Investment and the ministry in charge of special economic zones (SEZs) at the Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday at the Labourdonnais Hotel in Port-Louis.
The stable economic situation of Mauritius has attracted strong signals from the Congolese government to create an economic framework of mutual advantage for both nations.
A ‘Working Committee’ will be set up in the forthcoming days to leverage this opportunity, said BOI President Maurice Lam.
On the same day, a ‘Business Forum’ was organized where representatives from both private and public sectors were present.
The aim of this ‘Business Forum’ is to discuss the opportunities available in Congo with Alain Akouala Atipault, the Congolese minister in charge of SEZs.
Alain Akouala Atipault underlined that the economy depends mainly on the exploitation of hydrocarbures along the Atlantic Coast. This activity represents approximately 90% of the country’s exports where wood, oil, and agriculture remain important pillars.
During the discussions, Mauritian operators identified two areas that must be taken up on priority to ensure a smooth working relationship between the two nations – customs formalities to accelerate trade and training of human resources.
However, the finance secretary of Mauritius, Dev Manraj, assured the operators that they would get the support of the government to facilitate their entry into the Congolese market.
Also, Atipault declared that solutions will be found through a feasibility study which is currently in progress.
As regards training, Atipault suggested the setting up of a Mauritius Institute of Training and Development (MITD) in Congo as the way forward.
To conclude, Atipault invited the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Navin Ramgoolam, for a state visit next year.

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