GIS – 17 October 2013: Strengthening the economic cooperation between the Republic of Gabon and Mauritius was the focus of a working session between the business communities of both countries which was held today at the Grand Baie Conference Centre. The meeting was marked by the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Board of Investment and the Agency of Promotion of Investment and Exportations (APIEX) of Gabon.
In his address, the President of Gabon, Mr Ali Bongo Ondimba, made an overview presentation of the economy of his country. He pointed out that Gabon is a land of opportunities characterised by political stability, strong economic indicators, infrastructure and special economic zones, regional hub, economic diversification, abundant resources and favourable business environment. He said that Gabon aims to build its economy which encourages sustainable growth focused on three main pillars, Industrial Gabon, Green Gabon and Services Gabon.
The Gabon Industrial pillar sets out to promote the local development of raw materials, the export of products with high added value, and the diversification of the national economy. The challenge for Green Gabon is to position itself as a pioneer in one of the 21st century's major challenges,that is the global drive to preserve the environment and fight global warming, whereas Services Gabon focuses on human resource development.
Gabon aims to become a regional benchmark for sectors such as financial services, new information technology resources, service jobs linked to the green economy, and the specialist areas of health and higher education, he said. President Ondimba called the political and economic leaders from Mauritius to collaborate in the south-south cooperation, while inviting them to invest in Gabon. In this context, he announced the decision of the government of the Republic of Gabon to waive visa entry for Mauritian nationals.
“Gabon has embarked on an ambitious programme to transform its economy from a producer of primary materials to a modern one based on transformation of industries and services and has an enormous potential for investment”, he said.
For his part, the Vice-Prime minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Xavier-Luc Duval, outlined that the relations between the two countries date as far back as August 1984. He said that the visit of President Ondimba and his delegation is highly symbolical as it will tighten the economic ties between the two countries. Cooperation between Mauritius and Gabon is based on two areas namely strengthening economic and commercial ties and the adoption of a vision and action plan for both countries.
Mr Duval said that both countries share many similarities as they were ancient Portuguese colonies, have the French language in common, the number of inhabitants is similar and both Mauritius and Gabon want to diversify their economies. The two countries have similar aspirations and hence have the possibility to elaborate on a new vision in terms of commercial exchanges, exchange of professionals in Africa and reform business programme.
He said that Mauritius wishes to share its experiences and work with Gabon as regards projects of common interest. In that context, an agreement was signed between the two countries in July 2013 to strengthen economic relations and increase foreign direct investment.
An interactive session between the business community of Mauritius and the Gabon delegation was held.
In the afternoon President Ali Bongo Ondimba visited Thon des Mascareignes Ltd, a subsidiary of the IBL Group, which operates a tuna processing plant in the Mauritius sea food sector at Riche Terre.
After that, he proceeded to the Indian Ocean Naval shipyard at Mer Rouge. The shipyard, the largest and most modern in the region, focuses on the repair, dry-docking, refurbishment and conversion of all types of vessels, especially fishing, naval and cargo vessels, harbour craft and patrol ships.
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