Mauritius Ambassador Seeks To Increase Trade With Russia – OpEd


Ambassador of Mauritius to the Russian Federation, (H.E.) Mr. Maheshwar Singh Khemlolive, has visited the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation to discuss about the investment, trade and economic potential of Mauritius and the development of new areas of cooperation with Russia.

Mr. Khemlolive expressed satisfaction with the current level of bilateral relations, and suggested that further steps were necessary to deepen Russia-Mauritius cooperation especially in trade, economic and tourism areas.

On September 19th, Moscow will host the next presentation of the investment and economic potential of Mauritius, after that from November 19th to 23rd Mauritius will host the 2nd Mauritius-Russian Investment Forum.

An important basis for the economy of Mauritius is the development of tourism, he said, and acknowledged further that “a special role in establishing and strengthening mutually beneficial bilateral contacts is played by business associations and chambers of commerce and industry.”

He pointed to the fact that strengthening ties with Russia is an important factor for the country’s further development and the trade relations between Mauritius and Russia have great potential.

Mauritius is a direct gateway to the markets of Africa, India and China, therefore, Russian business can use this opportunity to establish business ties. Russian investors will find a very comfortable business climate for doing business in Mauritius, Mr. Khemlolive said.

The tourism assets are its main strength backed by well-designed and run hotels, reliable and operational services, and infrastructure, he noted.

With this background, the Ambassador described the ocean economy is seen as the next driver of growth, transforming the small island state into a 1.9 sq. km into an Ocean State.

In order to realise this economic goal, seven priority areas have been identified:
• Seabed exploration for hydrocarbon and minerals
• Fishing, seafood processing and aquaculture
• Deep ocean water applications
• Marine services (including marine finance, marine ICT, marine biotechnology and ship registration)
• Seaport-related activities
• Marine renewable energies
• Ocean knowledge cluster

Last November, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Seetanah Lutchmeenaraido, headed a business delegation to a similar forum looking for long-term partnership in high technology, transport, fishing and tourism.

At the same time, the delegation show-cased the transition of Mauritius from an offshore financial centre to a full fledge regional financial hub and promoted investment opportunities across various sectors. It portrayed the island as a strategic platform for structuring investments and managing operations in Africa.

Whether in theory or practice, Russia is prepared to share its technologies and developments in the field of mining, the building of transport infrastructure, in the energy sector, information technology and agriculture. But, Russia is seriously lagging behind in developing trade-economic ties with Africa.

Experts have often suggested that there was the need for both Russians and Africans to make bridges for establishing practical contacts, not only Mauritius business, but also other countries and/or regions in Africa. Further, Russia and Africa have to design strategies for improving overall public diplomacy.

Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 km) off the southeast coast of the African continent. It is ranked high in terms of economic competitiveness, a friendly investment climate, good governance and a free economy.

Besides, it is a country with dynamically growing economy, high living standards and favorable conditions for doing business. The World Bank report in 2016, said Mauritius occupied the first place among African countries south of the Sahara on the business climate.

It has strong and friendly relations with various African and foreign countries. Mauritius and Russia have good diplomatic relations. In March 2018, Mauritius marked its 50th year of diplomatic relations with Russia.

Kester Kenn Klomegah

Kester Kenn Klomegah is an independent researcher and a policy consultant on African affairs in the Russian Federation and Eurasian Union. He has won media awards for highlighting economic diplomacy in the region with Africa. Currently, Klomegah is a Special Representative for Africa on the Board of the Russian Trade and Economic Development Council. He enjoys travelling and visiting historical places in Eastern and Central Europe. Klomegah is a frequent and passionate contributor to Eurasia Review.

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