Mauritius implements ‘Manufacturing 4.0’ with Commonwealth Secretariat’s Support

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Mauritius: The Ministry of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives is currently implementing the ‘Manufacturing 4.0’ project, with the assistance of and funding from the Commonwealth Secretariat. 

The project aims at supporting manufacturing enterprises to adopt advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Industrial Internet of Things, Robotics, Cloud Computing, and 3D Printing.

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The Minister of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives, Soomilduth Bholah, made this statement today during a press conference in Port Louis on the performance of the Export Oriented Enterprises (EOE) sector for the first quarter of 2023.

Prior to the press conference, the Minister had a working session with representatives of the Association of Mauritian Manufacturers, SME Mauritius, and the Economic Development Board, among others.

Minister Bholah highlighted that the ‘Manufacturing 4.0’ project will be implemented in three phases. Phase 1 consists of a study to assess the level of digitalisation of manufacturing enterprises and their propensity towards technology adoption. 

As such, he pointed out, an online survey was conducted among manufacturing enterprises to assess their level of digital readiness. He informed that some 117 manufacturing enterprises have responded to the survey from various sub-sectors.

He underlined he is currently finalising the selection criteria for Phase 2 of the project, which will entail a capacity-building programme for eight eligible enterprises. The selected industry operators, he indicated, will be assisted in identifying appropriate advanced technologies to be implemented at the enterprise level for greater competitiveness. 

As for Phase 3 of the project, the Minister stated that it will consist of a study tour for selected manufacturing enterprises to a technologically advanced country to learn best practices in the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies in production plants.

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Speaking about the performance of the EOE sector, Minister Bholah underscored that, from January to March 2023, EOE exports stood at around Rs 12 billion as compared to Rs 10.9 billion during the corresponding period in 2022, thus representing an increase of around 9.8%. 

He emphasised that the increase in total EOE exports during the first quarter is attributed to, amongst others: an exceptional increase in exports of the Fish and Fish Preparations sub-sector, an increase in export orders in our main traditional markets (United Kingdom, France, Netherlands and Spain); the reputation of Mauritius as a reliable sourcing destination supplying branded and high-quality products to international buyers; and the adoption of sustainable and green practices by enterprises which are in line with growing exigencies of international clients seeking eco-friendly products.

Furthermore, the Minister dwelt on the positive impact that support schemes, such as the Freight Rebate Scheme and the Support for Trade Promotion and Marketing Scheme, had in enhancing export competitiveness. Some Rs 123.4 million was disbursed to 96 beneficiaries from 2014 to 30 April 2023 under the Freight Rebate Scheme, while an amount of some Rs 1.14 billion was disbursed under the Support for Trade Promotion and Marketing Scheme to 112 manufacturing companies and 455 agro-businesses, he observed.

Moreover, Minister Bholah provided details concerning EOE exports to the country’s top 10 markets for the first quarter of 2023. 

They are as follows: 

  • South Africa (Rs 1.655 billion); 
  • United Kingdom (Rs 1.576 billion); 
  • France (Rs 1.54 billion), 
  • United States of America (Rs 1.247 billion); 
  • Netherlands (Rs 1.062 billion); 
  • Spain (Rs 997 million); 
  • Vietnam (Rs 691 million); 
  • Madagascar (Rs 638 million); 
  • Italy (Rs 469 million);  
  • Switzerland (Rs 288 million).

The Minister also recalled that, to date, South Africa is still our leading export destination (14%), followed by the United Kingdom (13%), France (13%), and the United States of America (10%). Other markets, such as Japan and Australia, are being targeted so as to ensure that the EOE sector continues to thrive, he added.

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