Mauritius intends to develop an ESG framework to position country, states PM

Mauritius: Mauritius intends to develop an Environmental Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) framework so as to position the country as a sustainable international financial centre, stated the Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, today, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Balaclava.

Mauritius: Mauritius intends to develop an Environmental Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) framework so as to position the country as a sustainable international financial centre, stated the Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, today, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Balaclava.

He was delivering his keynote address at the opening of the 17th Edition of the African Economic Conference (AEC) held from 09 to 11 December in Mauritius. The AEC 2022 focuses on the theme of Supporting Climate-Smart Development in Africa.

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The Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy; the Acting Chief Economist and Vice-President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Professor Kevin Urama; the Assistant Administrator, Regional Director for Africa, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ms Ahunna Eziakonwa; and the Deputy Executive Secretary and Chief Economist, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Dr Hanan Morsy, also addressed the audience during the opening ceremony.

In his address, Prime Minister Jugnauth dwelt on climate change as a high-priority matter on Government’s agenda. As a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), he pointed out that the country has to operate in an increasingly globalised competitive world against the backdrop of climate change and global challenges such as the Ukraine-Russia war.


 

 


“Like many middle-income countries, we face a twofold challenge creating an environment that continues to attract Foreign Direct Investment and enforcing regulatory framework to protect our people, national resources, and ecosystem services”, he said.

Speaking on the commitment of the Government as regards climate change mitigation, the Prime Minister pointed out that the obligations of every climate regulatory agreement are being fulfilled.

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To this end, he enumerated some of the key measures comprising the mobilisation of considerable resources since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015; a sum of 150 million USD provided to support the climate agenda; revamping of the National Environment Climate Change Fund in 2018 with the provision of 50 million USD in support of flood mitigation measures such as the rehabilitation of degraded coastal zone and solid waste management.

The coming into operation of the Climate Change Act in 2021 and the setting up of the Climate Change Centre in 2021 by the Bank of Mauritius to spearhead efforts to mitigate climate change risks were also highlighted by the Prime Minister. Other initiatives undertaken include the phasing out of the use of coal for electricity generation by 2030 and increasing the contribution of renewable energy by 60% in the electricity mix by 2030, he added.

Underlining the growing impact of climate change, Mr Jugnauth mentioned that it is expected to increase the intensity and the frequency of cyclones, torrential rains and resulting flash floods, and abnormal climate surges affecting people’s lives and the ecosystems.

The rise in petroleum prices posed by the Russia-Ukraine war rekindles motivation to shift away from fossil fuels and be self-sufficient in electricity production, he emphasised.

On this score, the Prime Minister urged development partners to channel all resources to SIDS so as to reinforce their adaptation and mitigation capacity adding that climate finance is indispensable for SIDS like Mauritius.

As for the Finance Minister, he highlighted the importance of reinforcing resilience in terms of social and infrastructural in the face of climate change.

Dr Padayachy elaborated on key measures for greener renewable energy consumption as outlined in Budget 2022/2023, including the Green Transformation Package to increase the share of electricity supply from local renewable sources, which is expected to generate at least Rs 20 billion of private investment and the acceleration of the Electric Vehicles Transition to reduce dependence on import of petroleum products and decarbonise the land transport system with the introduction of a negative excise duty scheme of 10 % for the purchase of electric vehicles by individuals up to a maximum of Rs 200,000.

Minister Padayachy further spoke of the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Mauritian economy, whereby the country suffered a contraction of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 15 % in 2020. Expressing a positive outlook for the economy, he indicated that in 2022 the GDP growth will stand at 7.2 % and beyond 5 % in 2023 while emphasising that in 2022 the GDP will surpass the historical mark of Rs 550 billion and investments will exceed Rs 105 billion.

The Vice-President of the AfDB, for his part, called for a collaborative approach to strengthen Africa’s response to climate change and its ripple effects.

The need for concretising actions and solutions was highlighted by Mr Urama. He further added that it is time for Africa to become self-sufficient in terms of producing its own food and developing green infrastructure.

Regional Director Eziakonwa from the UNDP underlined the importance of protecting the planet and supporting the people in Africa with climate-smart solutions in the face of multiple economic shocks.

For her part, Deputy Executive Secretary Morsy of the UNECA observed that the conference would provide an opportunity to synthesise the discussions made at COP 27 and propose recommendations to support climate-smart development for Africa.

17th Edition of the African Economic Conference

Organised by the AfDB, the Economic Commission for Africa, and the UNDP, the Conference has brought together around 200 participants, namely policymakers, climate experts, representatives from the private sector and researchers, to discuss the challenges posed by climate change, identify opportunities and strategies for regional member countries to build resilience and transition to low-carbon development pathways.

It will also provide a platform to reflect on the ways countries can actively rebuild better from the COVID-19 pandemic with climate-smart solutions.