SADC trade-in services workshop kicks off in Mauritius

Mauritius: A two-day National Stakeholder Consultative Workshop on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Trade in Services, jointly organised by the SADC Secretariat and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, was launched this morning in St Pierre.

SADC trade-in services workshop kicks off in Mauritius
SADC trade-in services workshop kicks off in Mauritius Image credit: Facebook

Mauritius: A two-day National Stakeholder Consultative Workshop on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Trade in Services, jointly organised by the SADC Secretariat and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, was launched this morning in St Pierre.

The Director of Trade Policy at the International Trade Division, Narainduth Boodhoo, the Director of Industrial Development and Trade at the SADC, Dhunraj Kassee, private and Government stakeholders, and other personalities were present in the opening ceremony.

In his address, Boodhoo affirmed that the workshop will enhance awareness of the diverse business opportunities arising from SADC trade in services negotiations.

This SADC Protocol, he recalled, which came into effect in January 2022, has opened up market access in sectors such as communications, financial and tourism services. He added that new avenues, namely transport, construction and energy sectors, are being ventured into in a bid to expand market access opportunities.

The Director of Trade Policy urged stakeholders to leverage the workshop for not only theoretical knowledge acquisition on the trade in services negotiations but also to discuss practical ways to strategise and capitalise on the concomitant opportunities. He underlined that the main markets, such as South Africa, should be tapped into.

He cited examples of local operators like the Mauritius Commercial Bank, Insurance Companies and IBL Ltd that are establishing commercial hubs regionally as well as internationally and encouraged others to follow.

On his part, Kassee stressed how Mauritius represents a yardstick for the SADC countries as it has constantly maintained its position as a champion of trading services. Mauritius was the first nation to submit its liberalisation offer to the SADC in 1996.

He highlighted that the friendly and regulatory business climate on the island is very conducive to trade and investment. Today, the SADC Director of Industrial Development and Trade pointed out that the service sector accounts for almost 70% of the Gross Domestic Product and 50% of total employment in Mauritius.

In addition, Kassee asserted that the African Continental Free Trade Area services negotiations should be optimally harnessed to improve SADC competitiveness. He also outlined the possibility of availing those services to promote medical tourism in Mauritius.