A two-day high-level meeting of the African Network on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) regrouping local and international experts of the financial sector with a view to identifying common challenges related to SOEs and good governance, was launched this morning at the Le Meridien Hotel in Pointe-aux-Piments.
The Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance, Mr Dharmendar Sesungkur, the Minister of Public Enterprises from Namibia, Mr Leon Jooste, the Executive Secretary of Mo Ibrahim, Dr Abdoulie Janneh, and other personalities were present. Policy makers, practitioners, non-governmental stakeholders and professionals from countries such as Angola, South Africa, Egypt, Senegal, Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana, Djibouti and Kenya, amongst others, are attending the meeting which is being organised by the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and the Ministry of Financial Services and Good Governance.
In his keynote address, Minister Sesungkur underlined that Mauritius has established itself as an enduring democracy and has, over the years, responded to challenges inherent in the discarding of trade preferences by diversifying its economy and positioning itself as a gateway for investments in Africa. Mauritius, he pointed out, has made continuous efforts to become a development partner of Africa and to remain at the forefront of driving quality investments into the continent.
He stated that SOEs, as key drivers of social and economic prosperity, are central to the development of successful nations. A huge number of SOEs, he said, form part of key sectors such as infrastructure, transport, electricity, water supply, broadcasting, banking, insurance and telecommunications. He further emphasised that good governance and transparency are the prerequisite for the sound management of SOEs and for the satisfaction of the public’s expectations.
The Minister underscored that Government has placed those SOEs embracing principles of good governance, long-term efficiency, sustainability and responsibility, at the centre-stage of national development strategies. According to him, the governance of SOEs is critical so as to ensure their positive contribution to the overall economic performance and competitiveness of the country as well as promote market confidence.
Minister Sesungkur lauded the commendable initiative of the APRM and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to respond to the growing demand for African countries to implement sound political and economic practices. As a member of APRM since March 2003, he emphasised, Mauritius has spared no effort in raising awareness of SOEs on corporate governance principles and implementing them. On this note, he added that the meeting will serve as an excellent platform for fruitful deliberations as regards corporate governance of SOEs.
Namibian Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr Jooste, for his part, underpinned the importance of corporate governance at the core of good management and performance. According to him, developing countries and new democracies have to confront several external challenges relating to SOE governance reforms. In the light of these issues, he said, it is vital to network, share, and learn from the experiences of their OECD peers.
On the other hand, the Executive Secretary of Mo Ibrahim, Dr Janneh urged for a collective reflection for the SOEs while adding that peer review is vital for evaluating current corporate governance policy frameworks and supporting viable as well as effective reforms in the field of SOE governance. He congratulated Mauritius for ranking first in Africa for the twelfth consecutive year and expressed hope for the country to continue to shine in Overall Governance in Africa.
Source: Government of Mauritius