GIS - 18 October, 2013: The visit of the President of Gabon, H.E Mr Ali Bongo Ondimba, reflects the commitment of both countries in their endeavour to further consolidate the emerging partnership as well as to promote and strengthen bilateral relations and boost trade and economic exchanges between Mauritius and Gabon.
The Prime Minister, Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam, made this statement yesterday during a State banquet at the Sir Harilall Vaghjee Memorial Hall in Port Louis in honour of the President of Gabon who is currently on a three-day official visit to Mauritius.
Addressing the audience, Dr Ramgoolam said that both Mauritius and Gabon share the same belief and concerns with regards to the youth adding that the youth should be given all the facilities to enable them to develop their talents. In this context, he said, Mauritius is opening up to Africa by abolishing visa entry to Africans and opening its universities and training institutions for the students in Africa. Mauritius has also offered 50 scholarships to African countries, he recalled.
Dr Ramgoolam also expressed satisfaction that Mauritian entities are active on the African continent and already operating in Gabon with the support of the Gabonese authorities. He recalled that the four bilateral agreements signed earlier in the different areas reflect the common commitment to favour South-South cooperation.
Speaking on the African economy, the PM said that it is presently witnessing a considerable economic growth while adding that the International Monetary Fund has in 2012 noted a strong growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. The same trend, he said, is being observed in the United Nations report of 2012 on World Investment where Africa registered an increase of 5% as regards foreign direct investment.
Dr Ramgoolam further noted that both Mauritius and Gabon has similar problems and both are working towards the eradication of absolute poverty and a series of measures have been adopted to upgrade health care, manage energy, water, agriculture and to ensure food security. Both governments are investing massively to modernise infrastructure which is crucial for economic and social development, stated Dr Ramgoolam.
The PM also spoke on the project pertaining to the Ocean Economy in Mauritius and the visionary project “Gabon Bleu” and said that both countries can share experiences and competencies in this field. He pointed out that there exists a complementarity between the project “Gabon Bleu” and the project Maurice Ile Durable and that we should encourage a synergy of action in favour of sustainable development.
The PM also highlighted that Mauritius is already sharing its expertise in the sugar sector with many African countries. He concluded that operators operating in this particular sector would favorably consider any joint venture with the Gabonese Government.
For his part, the President of Gabon, H.E Mr Ali Bongo Ondimba, said that Mauritius is serving as a model in Africa in terms of development as well as a source of inspiration for the Gabonese authorities. He reiterated the wish of his Government to further enhancing bilateral relations as well as increasing and strengthening cooperation in several areas of mutual interest such as a development agenda with focus on sustainable development.
Mr Ali Bongo Ondimba also announced that he will soon proceed with the nomination of an Ambassador in Mauritius and that Mauritians travelling to Gabon will be exempted from a visa. He appealed to the Mauritian business community to invest in Gabon now that the proper framework has been established and reiterated his wish that his country becomes an investment hub for all economic operators.
The President of Gabon concluded by saying that this historical visit and the fruitful discussions he had with the Mauritian authorities and the business community augurs a new page in the history of the two countries.
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