SIDS: Mauritius & Reunion Island to boost economic ties in tourism; energy and ICT
Didier Robert, President of the Regional Council of Reunion Island, particularly noted the need for the two islands to cooperate in the tourism sector to tap emerging markets such as China, India and South Africa, in addition to traditional markets. (Image: wikipedia)
Last year having been celebrated as the UN’s International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), 2015 marks another year when SIDS are enjoying fruitful collaborations, with Mauritius and Reunion Island reinforcing economic relations in various sectors ranging from tourism, renewable energy to digital development.
In this context, a Reunion Island delegation spearheaded by the President of the Regional Council of Reunion Island, Didier Robert, paid a courtesy call on the Mauritian Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth yesterday, at the Treasury Building in Port Louis.
In a statement, Didier Robert expressed satisfaction on the issues discussed with the Prime Minister in relation with the above-mentioned sectors which he said will be beneficial for the businesses and people of both islands.
He particularly noted the need for the two islands to cooperate in the tourism sector to tap emerging markets such as China, India and South Africa, in addition to traditional markets.
Mr Robert also evoked the concept of Vanilla Islands, launched in 2010, and grouping together seven islands of the Indian Ocean, which according to him, provides a robust platform to strengthen tourism in the Indian Ocean region and among the neighbouring islands.
Further boosting relations between the two island economies, an antenna of ‘Région Réunion’ was inaugurated on Tuesday, 07 April 2015, in Ebène.
In his address at the inauguration ceremony, Mauritian Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade Minister, Etienne Sinatambou, recalled that both island have much in common — geological origins, mutual history, and membership of the Indian Ocean Commission.
The recent past has seen a growing number of initiatives from the private sector that have contributed to raise the awareness of the island people on the vast potential that could be tapped for the benefit of both countries by working in a concerted manner, he noted.
“These initiatives are laudable, since, within the present global context, the focus is on nurturing an entrepreneurship culture and, this is why it has been decided that over and above the reinforcement of trade ties, it is crucial to broaden our horizons and tap new markets,” he pointed out.
Mauritius and Réunion have to overcome their constraints and vulnerabilities such as isolation and geographic size and have to reflect on the contribution of their partnership so as to move towards deeper integration of their regional space, stressed the Minister.
“Our economic space needs a catalyst to allow economic development amongst our partners and, in this perspective, we have to keep in mind that the countries in the Indian Ocean have to face challenges such as piracy which is an obstacle to the development of political and economic relations,” he added.
According to Minister Sinatambou, a common policy has to be defined which will rely on sectors with huge growth potentials during the coming years such as renewable energy and biotechnology for the development of niche markets with the final objective to create wealth and jobs in both islands. He reiterated the Mauritian Government’s intent to take on board SMEs in this endeavour.
Finally, it may be noted that the ultimate objective of these initiatives is to strengthen relations between the two islands within a formal setting and give a new impetus to regional cooperative ties with Réunion Island within the framework agreement signed on 24 January 2011 between the Mauritian and French Governments.