1. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the State Visit of Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, GCSK, FRCP, Prime Minister, to Botswana on 8 and 9 August 2011. The object of the visit was to further strengthen the cordial and friendly relations that exist between the two countries and discuss avenues of collaboration and development strategies, particularly, -
(a) use of technology to leap-frog future development;
(b) empowerment of human capital;
(c) investment in infrastructure, health and education; and
(d) industrial progress in new poles of development.
The Prime Minister and the President of Botswana had a bilateral meeting during which they discussed the special relationship between Mauritius and Botswana, the development of a synergy for enhanced exports to the US, the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement with Botswana and the Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement signed in 2005. They also spoke of possible areas of cooperation in the Freeport Sector, negotiations regarding a Bilateral Air Services Agreement, sourcing of rough diamonds from Botswana and collaboration in the Financial and ICT Sectors.
The Prime Minister and the President of Botswana also discussed the situation in Madagascar and Zimbabwe, the realization of an enlarged COMESA-SADC-EAC-Free Trade Area, the appointment of a honorary consul of Botswana in Mauritius, and the setting up of a Cooperation Framework Agreement to look into potential areas of mutual interests in the trade, investment and economic sectors.
The Prime Minister attended the official opening of the Molepolole Institute of Health Sciences, which is, today, a model of excellence in the production of customer- focussed health care service providers in Africa. On the occasion, the Prime Minister spoke of the collaboration that already exists between the Trust Fund for Specialised Medical Care and the Princess Marina Hospital in Gaborone. He added that Mauritius could offer technical assistance in the field of health to Botswana. In this connection, a task force has been set up to work out areas of cooperation for an eventual conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding and the twinning of the Molepolole Institute of Health Sciences and the Mauritius Institute of Health is being explored.
The Prime Minister also met with some 60 members of the Mauritian community who live and work in Botswana. It has been decided to set up a Mauritius/Botswana Business Council with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade of Mauritius and the Minister of Trade and Industry of Botswana as co-chairs.
2. Cabinet has taken note of developments regarding the salvage operation of MV Angel 1 that went aground on 8 August 2011 off the coast of Poudre d’Or with a cargo of rice and fuel oil on board. The fuel oil is currently being transferred to a tanker barge Minorque. However, as a protective measure, booms have been placed in the lagoon to avoid any oil spill. The salvage company has already made arrangements to remove the vessel from the reef once the fuel oil is pumped. The Ministry of Public Infrastructure, National Development Unit, Land Transport and Shipping, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, is closely monitoring the situation. A preliminary inquiry to determine the cause of the grounding of the vessel has already started.
3. Cabinet has taken note that forecasts indicate that the contribution of the ICT Sector to the GDP would increase from 6.4% in 2010 to 6.8% in 2011. ICT is the third highest contributor to the economy after the Financial and Tourism Sectors.
4. Cabinet has taken note that the Certificate of Primary Education (CPE) Examinations would be held from 18 to 21 October 2011. Some 25,876 students, in Mauritius and Rodrigues, would take part in the Examinations. The results are expected to be announced by 13 December 2011, at latest.
5. Cabinet has taken note of the Fisheries Master Plan, which sets out the policy and operational framework for the development of a sustainable Fisheries Sector for the next decade. The Master Plan aims at contributing to the sustainable and equitable management of fisheries with a view to alleviating poverty, ensuring food security, supporting private sector growth at all stages of the value chain and the international obligations of Mauritius in fisheries and marine resource management.
6. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the participation of Mauritius in the Eighth Indian Ocean Islands Games held in the Seychelles from 4 to 15 August 2011. Mauritius won 38 Gold medals, 65 Silver medals and 54 Bronze medals. Mauritian athletes performed remarkably well in several sports disciplines, namely Table Tennis, Cycling, Badminton, Football and Swimming in which discipline Mauritius, for the first time in the history of the Games, won 10 Gold Medals, including two for the disabled.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Ninth Edition of the Indian Ocean Islands Games would be held in Reunion Island in 2015, while Maldives proposes to organize the Games in 2019.
7. Cabinet has taken note that the Central Electricity Board would install a new pipeline from the Mauritius Sugar Terminal Quay to Fort William to feed its storage tank of heavy fuel oil to ensure reliability of electricity supply in Mauritius and Rodrigues.
8. Cabinet has agreed to a project proposal for the conversion, subject to, inter alia, a risk assessment being carried out, of one of the molasses tanks of the Mauritius Molasses Co. Ltd., situated at Quay D, into a storage tank for Class B petroleum products to increase the storage capacity of petroleum products to reinforce the country’s buffer stock for an improved security of supply.
9. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology has set up five National Research Groups to address priority issues, currently faced by the country and requiring critical attention and strategic decision making, to ensure the sustainability of the socio-economic development of Mauritius :-
(a) the National Energy Research Group to deliberate on sustainable and positive renewable energy buildings in Mauritius;
(b) the Human Resource Research Group to act as a think-tank on issues affecting human resources development to meet the country’s skills and competence needs;
(c) the Impact of Food Quality on Human Health Research Group to evaluate and monitor effects of contaminants in commonly consumed food, both imported and produced locally;
(d) the Water Resources Research Group to identify critical research issues on water resources management in Mauritius; and
(e) the Road Traffic Management Research Group to find local innovative approaches and solutions to road traffic management in Mauritius.
10. Cabinet has taken note of the performance of the Export-Oriented Enterprises Sector for the period January to June 2011 as compared to the corresponding period in 2010. The value of exports of the Export-Oriented Enterprises Sector increased from Rs18.68 billion to Rs20.94 billion, i.e., by 12.1%. Increase in the value of exports in the sub-sectors was as follows:
Textile and Clothing
Clothing Sub-sector (Pullovers and Cardigans,T-Shirts, Shirts and Trousers)
Textile Yarns and Fabrics
Pearls and Precious Stones
Watches and Clocks
Exports to the United Kingdom, France and the USA, main export markets, recorded an increase of 6.3%, 12.0%, and 9.7% respectively. Exports in the region, particularly South Africa and Madagascar, have recorded increases of 44.5% and 27.6% respectively.
11. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements made by the Ministry of Local Government and Outer Islands to ensure a regular collection of refuse in villages and housing estates.