Signing of Memorandum of Understanding with Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber & Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry
2 Feb 2021
The Economic Development Board has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 11 November 2020 and on 26 January 2021 respectively. Due to the current COVID context, the MoU signing ceremonies have taken place remotely through a virtual videoconferencing platform. It is the first time that the EDB has engaged into a virtual MoU signing ceremony.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, based in Port Elizabeth, is a reputable private sector institution celebrating its 156 years of existence. On the other hand, the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry was established in 1804 and is the oldest member-based organization in Africa. Both are large voluntary business associations in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape respectively, with a membership of businesses in a diverse array of sectors.
“It is no secret that Mauritius holds strong economic ties with South Africa and that both countries have been trading partners over many decades. In 2019, Mauritius imported worth MUR 16 billion of various commodities from South Africa, while Mauritius exports to South Africa, mainly comprising of garment and apparel, amounted to nearly MUR 7 billion. On a global scale, such trading figures positioned South Africa as the 3rd most important sourcing destination and the 3rd most important export market for Mauritius. Furthermore, South Africa remains Mauritius’ most important trading partner on the African continent.
On a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) perspective, approximately MUR 4.3 billion originated from South Africa in 2019, positioning the country as the second most important source of FDI for Mauritius on a global scale and first source of FDI in Africa.
This is telling the potential it holds and there is room for more growth in both Trade and Investment, and collaborations forged today will bring about more robust exchanges between Mauritius and South Africa.
Mauritius and the cities of Port Elizabeth and Cape Town have similar economic foundations and have put in place comparable development and diversification strategies over the years, promoting niche sectors like, high value-added manufacturing, tourism and hospitality, property development, financial services, and education amongst others.
Such similarities in our strategic approach to drive economic development are valuable assets which will promote synergies and complementarities between Mauritius and these South African regions.
Moreover, whereby the COVID-19 has emerged as a global pandemic, there must be a continued effort to spread the word about the benefits of keeping markets open and encouraging greater flows of cross-border trade and investment and contribute to alternative approaches to making progress on regional cooperation that can spur growth and foster economic opportunities. The main objectives of such an initiative are to strengthen business networks through direct exchange and to share best practices, so that regional and global business concerns are effectively addressed. All parties have mutually agreed to devise a collaborative plan of action for 2021.
It is in this context and spirit that the Economic Development Board and both South African Chambers have agreed to sign an MoU to facilitate the creation of more mutually beneficial relationships between business communities from both countries. The MoU with the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber was signed by Mr. Ken Poonoosamy, Ag. CEO of the EDB and Mrs. Nomkhita Mona, CEO of the Chamber, whereas, the MoU with the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry was signed by Mr. Arvind Radhakrishna, Head of the Global Outreach Strategic Unit and by Mr. Sid Peimer, Executive Director of the Cape Chamber.
This initiative has been initiated by the EDB – South Africa Office and supported by the Global Outreach Strategic Business Unit of the EDB. Concurrently, the EDB – South Africa Office intends to formalize more partnerships between the Economic Development Board and other South African provincial Chambers of Commerce.