The economic outlook for Mauritius were discussed at the Grand Journal Tuesday on Radio Plus, with George Chung, economist, Afsar Ibrahim, Deputy Managing Partner at BDO Mauritius and Ramsamy Sen, head of the department of tourism and hospitality at the accounting firm KPMG for the region Océan-Indien/Afrique.
> What are the opportunities and challenges for Mauritius?
Afzar Ibrahim: 2013 is a year full of opportunities, because the worst is behind major markets such as Europe. Nevertheless, we must be very vigilant and careful this year. I do not think we have a year worse than 2012, but the situation is still quite precarious for many companies.
It is important to be vigilant in this regard. I am quite concerned with the creation of jobs for young people, but also for the preservation of jobs, because it is possible to fatalities in some companies. It seems that there are not many large projects in sectors such as construction. Unemployment technique is possible. Africa represents a stepping stone in terms of opportunity. There are important decisions in areas such as electricity, water, port ...
Things that will lead us to pass this level, from the category of small countries than in countries development. We must solve our problems internally, such as the lack of visibility, making the business, especially when we reach the business such as real estate, land and farmland. It takes time. There are also challenges in terms of work culture. There are unfortunately this mentality of "I-me-crazy" does not help to improve the competitiveness of a country like ours, which has big ambitions.
Ramsamy Sen: We have accomplished a lot by working with India in terms of investment. In an article that appeared in the Indian press earlier this week, the author writes that if India was going through Mauritius to invest, if China could move by Mauritius to invest in India it would be extraordinary not only for India but also for Mauritius. As you know, China is a little reluctant at this time to invest in America or Europe, so why not India ...
There is a huge potential. We need to get to work and stop with the futile discussions. With a positive mind, we can build a new Mauritius becoming a leader in the region. At KPMG, we cut a lot of work already in Africa and the region. This can help our economy and the tourism industry to take a new impetus.
George Chung: 2013 depend on what Mauritians and Rodrigues will. I can give you six tracks that, at the end of December 2013, we can say that we have reached a better growth rate in 2012. These tracks are: air access to tourists for growth in 2013. Improve our maritime transport between the other islands of the Indian Ocean and Africa. All operators concerned must sit around a table as soon as possible to improve communication between maritime Mauritius and the rest of the world, especially Africa.
Improve access to the internet. Lower prices and more by the end of December, bringing penetration in homes 60% against 35% currently. All companies should have access to, and at a reasonable price to do their marketing. Review major projects that are overdue for several years, as the ring road, which should resolve the situation. I do not know if we'll see the light at the end of the tunnel this year! Putting in place the foundations for the metro-light before December 2013.
With 100,000 employees which our survival depends. Our insecurity and our security depend on what they do. With the increase of their salary, they must do things to improve Mauritius. Instead of taking decisions about a month, they must be taken within ten to fifteen days. If we realize that everything I said, we get to reach our level.