A one-day workshop aimed at disseminating knowledge on enhancing quality management and strengthening export competitiveness of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for inclusive growth kicked off this morning at Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel in Port-Louis. The Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah and Ambassador of the European Union, Mrs Marjaana Sall, were present at the event.
In his address, Minister Bholah underlined that SMEs have been identified as a major driver of poverty alleviation and sustainable inclusive development. He pointed out that they account for 55% of Gross Domestic Product in developed countries and 35% in developing economies. In 2030, he emphasised, more and more African countries will rely on SMEs to provide employment for the future generation.
To this effect, the Minister highlighted that SMEs should be empowered and guided to access external markets and abide to the principles of internationalisation through export. Government, he reiterated, is extending necessary support to SMEs via the development of information-based tools, regulatory and financial incentives with a view to promote sustainable behaviour as well as achieve inclusive development. SMEs should nonetheless follow international standards and regulations as well as enhance the quality of their products, he added.
Speaking of the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (i-EPA), Minister Bholah underscored that it has enabled Mauritius to benefit from full duty free and quota free access to the European Union markets. In face of various challenges, he stated, SMEs will be called upon to foster a culture of quality and increase their export performance.
For her part, Mrs Marjaana Sall, highlighted that the i-EPA demonstrates the solid partnership between Mauritius and the EU. The i-EPA, she said, will bring more transparency in business environment, increase trade opportunities and promote values of good governance. She reiterated that the EU will continue to provide its technical support to SMEs in terms of trade facilitation and capacity building programmes.
The workshop is being held in the context of the implementation of the TradeCom II Programme, which has been designed to facilitate the integration of African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries in the global economy.
Some 32 SMEs are attending the workshop during which several topics related to Quality Standard will be discussed. Each participant will be provided with a guide book on Managing Quality in Mauritius.
Source: Government of Mauritius