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Mauritius celebrates 50th Anniversary of Independence

10 April 2018, Pretoria

Addressing guests at the Mauritius National Day celebration High Commissioner Vijaye P. Lutchmun said that this year marks a major milestone for Mauritius. "At the time of our independence, some economic experts had predicted a bleak future for the tiny island in the Indian Ocean. So much so that many world maps still leave us out!

"Rising from those humble beginnings as a monocrop economy, I feel extremely proud to have witnessed, in the last fifty years, the emergence of our country as one of the most competitive, stable, and successful economies in Africa.

"On this special occasion, it is most befitting to pay tribute to our ancestors for their indomitable courage and hard work which contributed to lay the foundations of the economic transformation of our nation. It is equally important to salute the farsightedness of our political leaders and successive Governments since 1968, for the bold decisions taken in addition to implementing the right domestic and foreign policies towards the socio-economic development of our country," said High Commissioner Lutchman.

Speech by H.E. Mr. Vijaye P. Lutchmun on the Occasion of the National Day Celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of Mauritius

9th March 2018

On behalf of the Government of Mauritius, I have the honour and great pleasure to welcome you all, this evening to celebrate together the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of Mauritius, and the 26th Anniversary of the Republic of Mauritius.

We are particularly grateful to you, Mr. Mngqibisa, for having kindly accepted our invitation to be the Chief Guest to this celebration.

Allow me, on behalf of the Government of Mauritius, to extend our congratulations and best wishes to His Excellency Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, and to Her Excellency Ms. Lindiwe Sisulu as Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa.

We commend South Africa for the smooth transitional process which demonstrates the political maturity of the South Africans in their quest to promote the principles of democracy. We also applaud the initiatives announced by His Excellency President Ramaphosa towards the radical socio-economic transformation of South Africa.

Mauritius values the excellent and friendly relationship that exist between our two countries and we look forward to consolidate the bilateral relations under the abled leadership of His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year marks a major milestone for Mauritius. At the time of our independence, some economic experts had predicted a bleak future for the tiny island in the Indian Ocean. So much so that many world maps still leave us out!

Rising from those humble beginnings as a monocrop economy, I feel extremely proud to have witnessed, in the last fifty years, the emergence of our country as one of the most competitive, stable, and successful economies in Africa.

On this special occasion, it is most befitting to pay tribute to our ancestors for their indomitable courage and hard work which contributed to lay the foundations of the economic transformation of our nation. It is equally important to salute the farsightedness of our political leaders and successive Governments since 1968, for the bold decisions taken in addition to implementing the right domestic and foreign policies towards the socio-economic development of our country.

We are fortunate that, as Mauritius commemorates its Golden Jubilee celebrations, South Africa is looking forward to commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of late President Nelson Mandela.

The relations between Mauritius and South Africa need no introduction. We have witnessed a privileged relationship which dates back to the 1980’s. We have, since, intensified our collaboration at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels.

Ever since the establishment of our diplomatic relations in 1992, there has been constant efforts on both sides to consolidate this relation with the signature of several bilateral agreements and Memoranda of Understanding, ranging from education, trade and investment, arts and culture, air services, social development, technical cooperation, to economic cooperation. The Memorandum of Understanding on Economic Cooperation that we signed with South Africa in 2009 testifies our commitment to take our bilateral relations to new heights.

South Africa remains one of our most important economic partners in terms of trade and investment. Our total imports to South Africa, for last year alone, witnessed an increase of 26.3 percent.

It is also worth noting that in September 2017, the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from South Africa amounted to around 530 million Rands, while in 2016, the FDIs from South Africa totalled to around 708 million rands. Six Mauritian companies are currently operating in South Africa, while Shoprite, Standard Bank, Steers, Woolworths, Engen and Truworths are just few of the many South African companies that have found Mauritius to be a prime destination to invest and do business.

Last year, Mauritius welcomed 112,000 tourist arrivals from South Africa, which equals to an increase of 7% in tourist arrivals from South Africa as compared to 2016. In the last decade, tourist arrivals from South Africa have experienced a constant increase.

Furthermore, our common membership to various regional and international organisations has provided us with ample opportunities to agree on common positions or issues of common concern and interest. We look forward to continue working closely with South Africa.

In the context of the Golden Jubilee celebrations, the Mauritius High Commission has planned a series of events in Pretoria throughout the year. I am also delighted to apprise you that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade of Mauritius is organising, in collaboration with Diplomatic Representatives based in Mauritius, International Weeks during the year. We are pleased and deeply honoured that the Diplomatic Mission of South Africa in Mauritius has agreed to hold a South African week in Mauritius from 12 to 16 June 2018 to coincide with the birth centenary of Madiba and the South African National Youth Day.

The South African Week is another opportunity to strengthen our relations, show casing the endowments of South African culture in Mauritius, together with the excellent bilateral relations that have been nurtured over the years by our two countries.

During the South African Week, we are also looking into the possibilities of signing several bilateral agreements and Memoranda of Understanding in the fields of tourism, fisheries, scientific research and technology, and an MoU between our respective Standards Bureaus, The services of my office are working closely with the South African authorities for the success of the South African Week.

I seize this opportunity to reiterate our deep gratitude for the support extended by the Republic of South Africa, in June 2017, at the United Nations General Assembly in respect of the Mauritius Resolution requesting an Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelagos from Mauritius, before our independence.

It is our firm belief that the decolonisation of Africa will not be complete without the complete decolonization of Mauritius. I wish to also express our gratitude, on behalf of the Government of Mauritius to our sister and brotherly Member States of the African Union, for their unflinching support to our struggle to complete the decolonization process. I trust that we can rely on the support of all your countries to continue supporting us in this process.

As you may be aware, the Mauritius High Commission in Pretoria is also accredited to the SADC (Southern African Development Community) Secretariat, I hereby reaffirm the commitment of the Government of Mauritius to pursue the goals towards the regional integration of our Continent, in accordance with the Agenda 2063.

Positive development has been achieved with regard to the Africa Strategy as underscored in our Government Vision 2030. We are in the process of finalising the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Ghana, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and Madagascar. In addition, Mauritius is intensifying its cooperation within the framework of Joint Commissions with Ghana, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Seychelles, Zambia and Madagascar. We look forward to continue this collaboration.

High Commission of Mauritius in Pretoria, South Africa

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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June 2018

 
 
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