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AfricaMoney | August 23, 2017

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Mauritius must invest in human resources for sustainable development

Mauritius must invest in human resources for sustainable development

According to Dev Chamroo, Chief Executive Officer at Enterprise Mauritius, the linkages between industry, academia and researchers can actually be leveraged for better research and if exploited well, for instance for product innovation, can provide a big boost to the country’s GDP. (Image: Cecilia Samoisi)

Mauritius’ sustainable development depends on the contribution of manpower, which happens to be its biggest national asset, stressed Dev Chamroo, Chief Executive Officer at the island’s premier trade promotion agency, Enterprise Mauritius.

He was delivering the keynote address at the University of Mauritius’ (UoM) Research Day that was organised yesterday, September 17, to fall within Research Week.

To mark the occasion, researchers from the Faculty of Law and Management (FLM) of UoM discussed the importance of research, covering various topics through presentation of nearly 50 research papers in front of students, lecturers, researches and guests.

“The research culture is now firmly embedded in our faculty and my colleagues are definitely convinced that research plays a determinant role in academic progress as well as for the FLM and the university” said B. Seetanah, who chairs the FLM Research Week Organising Committee.

Dev Chamroo also noted that research covers a whole range of developmental issues, such as improvement in management processes and procedures, developing social indicators and parameters, and also with regard to promoting innovation.

According to him, the linkages between industry, academia and researchers can actually be leveraged for better research. If the linkages are exploited well, for instance for product innovation, it can provide a big boost to the country’s GDP.

“Wherever there is effective research that translates into an economic project, in terms of development of product or services, it adds value to economic development,” Dev Chamroo noted.

He advised universities to develop a win-win approach towards industries where infrastructure and man power can be used to enhance, create and innovate.

Also, Mauritius spends only a miserly 0.37% of its GDP on research, hence there is a need to refocus and recalibrate our own strategy on how research should increasingly contribute towards growing the economy, and accordingly, how much share of GDP should be invested in research and development.

He explained that Mauritius has come to a level of economic development where going forward in mature sectors will be a problem, in sugarcane for instance, it is impossible to increase the sugar acreage because of limited land; the tourism sector cannot expand much more because all coastal land has been used for property development and beach frontages utilized; while there are limits to which manufacturing can expand because of labor limitations.

He emphasized that Mauritius can no longer be considered a small island economy, but, basis the vast ocean resources at its disposal, it can more accurately be labelled a large ocean economy.

The latter concluded on the future of 2020 and beyond, which is to have sustainable industries and a vibrant ocean economy, allowing Mauritius to become a dominant regional player and integrated global player.

H. Soondram, a lecturer at UoM, made a presentation on tax fraud, noting that the growing phenomenon has received considerable attention from the business world, tax authorities, government regulators and policy makers, most notably the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

She mentioned that tax evasion imposes costs of USD 3.1 trillion annually on 145 countries, representing 5.1% of the world’s GDP.

According to a survey conducted by her, 76% of the respondents were of the view that tax fraud is widespread in Mauritius and three quarters of them perceive a high-level of tax fraud in Mauritius.

On the other hand, Islamic Banking is spreading in the Sub-Saharan Africa and is present in 13% of the African continent, according to S. Fauzel, lecturer from UOM, who made a presentation on Islamic Banking in Africa.

Islamic Banking has achieved great growth in many countries, especially those with a strong Muslim population, and is estimated to capture 12% of the market for bank deposits in the future.

For Gopy Ramdhany from FLM, UoM, financial crisis incidentally did not impact on the financial services sector in Mauritius because Mauritian banks did not have potentially dangerous and complicated securitization processes, which were entrenched in developed countries and led to toxic assets.

A Mohabuth from FLM, UoM, declared that e-money is a growing trend, mostly used by the youth for purchasing goods and services, and that there is a possibility that e-money will substitute cash. She also pointed out that in economies where income level is high, usage of e-money is also high.

Finally, U. Subadar-Agathee from FLM, UoM, asserted that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play a major role in the Mauritian economy and that this sector lacks financing avenues and suffers from payment of high interest, due to low bargaining power.

Ultimately, he said there is a need to increase the financial literacy among SME owners to boost business growth.

- By Marie-Lorry Coret

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