In a stirring welcome address at the Africa Partnership Conference 2023, Mr. Hemraj Ramnial, Chairman of the Economic Development Board (EDB), urged us to embrace the transformative potential of collaboration.
Invoking Mahatma Gandhi’s and Nelson Mandela’s wisdom, he emphasized our collective role as change-makers in achieving ‘The Africa We Want.’
His words served as a call to action, challenging us to forge meaningful partnerships and work towards a brighter future for the continent.
Welcome Address by Mr. Hemraj Ramnial, CSK, Chairman of EDB at the Africa Partnership Conference.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very Good Morning to You All
It is my utmost pleasure and honour to extend a warm welcome for your esteemed presence at the Africa Partnership Conference.
May I humbly invite you to join me to pay a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, The Apostle of Peace and Non-Violence.
Today 02nd October is indeed a momentous occasion for commemorating the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, and to mark the International Day of Non-violence.
The theme of our conference focuses on consolidating “partnership” for driving economic prosperity in the African Continent.
Please allow me to quote Mahatma Gandhi, “our ability to reach Unity in Diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.
Mahatma Gandhi remains a global icon of peace and a gift to humanity. His vision resting on the principles of peace, love and integrity were far-reaching to encompass human rights and sustainable development.
Excellencies & Distinguished Guests
We are constantly reminded of the core values Mahatma Gandhi championed, Truth, Non-Violence, Tolerance, and Justice.
His teachings and principles resonate strongly with Africa’s Quest for Unity, Diversity, and Inclusivity.
The Africa Partnership Conference therefore hails as a historic opportunity to drive a robust partnership strategy to reinvigorate growth and set the Continent on a path of strong sustainable and inclusive development. This will be an essential economic transformation to uplift the lives of all African Citizens, and the wellbeing of the wider world.
Ladies & Gentlemen
We are truly honoured to host the Africa Partnership Conference, which serves as a testament to our unwavering commitment to fostering strong economic ties and collaborations with our African partners: we have today 150 foreign delegates composed of investment professionals and over 25 Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs), who have come from all corners of the continent and beyond to be in our midst this morning. This conference indeed represents a unique opportunity for us to come together, exchange ideas, and forge meaningful partnerships that contribute to shape the future of our continent.
I would also like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to our partners and sponsors for their efforts and invaluable contributions in bringing us all together in pursuit of a shared vision for a prosperous Africa.
1. Africa stands at a pivotal moment in its history. With a population of over 1.3 billion people and a wealth of untapped resources, the continent possesses immense potential for growth and development. However, harnessing this tremendous opportunity requires concerted efforts and strategic partnerships that transcend borders. It is through events like this conference that we can collectively address the investment and trade related challenges facing Africa and seize the opportunities that lie ahead. This is why we have chosen the theme “Unity in Partnership: Enabling Sustainable & Inclusive Investment” for this conference.
2. The EDB has long recognized the importance of Africa as a key partner in our quest for sustainable economic growth. We firmly believe that by collaborating and creating synergy, we can unlock new avenues of prosperity for all our nations. Our commitment is not limited to business relationships only; it is about forging strong, long-lasting partnerships that promote inclusive growth and benefit all stakeholders.
3. Intra African trade is only 16% of total African Trade. Increasing intra-africa trade is therefore critical because it could become a strong driver of accelerated growth for building sustainable economic development and integration.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
4. In line with our vision for a prosperous Africa, the EDB Mauritius has identified key sectors where we can collaborate and add value. Agriculture, infrastructure development, renewable energy, tourism, and financial services are just a few examples of areas where we can build mutually beneficial partnerships. By capitalizing on our respective strengths and sharing knowledge and resources, we can create sustainable ecosystems that drive economic growth, create jobs, and uplift communities across the continent.
5. Furthermore, we recognize the importance of human capital development in achieving our shared goals. Investing in education, skills training, and entrepreneurship will be critical to equip our youths with the tools they need to succeed in the rapidly changing global landscape. It is through empowering our young talents that we can foster innovation, drive competitiveness, and build resilient economies.
6. Digital skills will be important to develop among the continent’s young talents to serve Africa and the world. Countries with aging demographics will increasingly turn to Africa as a reservoir of talents. It will be a tremendous opportunity – Africa talent could become the continent’s largest export in years to come.
Ladies and gentlemen,
7. The challenges we face are significant, but so too are the opportunities. As we navigate the complexities of a post-pandemic world, we must embrace digital transformation, promote sustainable development, and foster an inclusive and equitable business environment. It is imperative that we leverage technology and innovation to drive efficiency, enhance productivity, and create new avenues for growth. We must also embrace sustainable business practices that preserve our environment and ensure the well-being of future generations.
ESG and sustainability will be key topics during the APC.
8. The Mauritius Africa Partnership Conference serves as a platform for dialogue, collaboration, and action. Over these two days, we shall exchange ideas, forge new partnerships, and develop concrete initiatives that will drive our shared agenda forward. Let us seize this opportunity to build bridges, break down barriers, and create a future where Africa shines as a beacon of progress and prosperity.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
9. We must not overlook the importance of regional integration. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) presents a unique opportunity to foster intra-African trade, enhance market access, and promote economic integration. By removing trade barriers and facilitating the movement of goods, services, and people, we can unlock the full potential of the African continent and create a vibrant and dynamic marketplace.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
10. As we embark on this two-days journey, I wish to echo the words of one of Africa’s most illustrious sons – Nelson Mandela: “It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it.”
11. Together, we have the power to shape a future where Africa thrives, where opportunities abound. We must achieve the Africa we want. The Africa we want must be one where our cities are well planned to become drivers of greater economic growth and prosperity for Africa.
12. The Africa economy has been undergoing a profound structured shift to services over the past 20 years which have created significant opportunities for African countries to boost economic output and job creation.
13. In conclusion, the Mauritius Africa Partnership Conference is a pivotal moment for us to come together, collaborate, and chart a path towards a prosperous Africa. Let us harness our collective strengths, leverage our resources, and seize the opportunities that lie before us.
14. I would again thank all the participants and speakers, and our collaborators for their dedication and contribution to this conference. I wish you all a successful and fruitful conference.
15. Let us work together to realize the dream of Mahatma Gandhi & Nelson Mandela for a Peaceful & Prosperous Africa.
16. Thank you for your attention.