Dear Valued Partners
For the first quarter of this year, domestic exports have slowly but steadily increased month after month from Rs 4,214 m in January, Rs 4,602 m in February and Rs 5,052 m in March. Total domestic exports for the first quarter reached Rs 13,900 m compared to Rs 12,998 m for the corresponding period last year, representing an increase of 7%.
However, this remains lower than the 9% increase registered in 2012 compared to the first quarter of 2011. This slow-down can be attributed to several causes, viz:-
External factors with the protracted economic slump in Europe and slow growth in the US, our main markets;
Slow growth in our emerging markets in Africa;
Limited supply capacity from Mauritius; and
The climatic conditions prevailing over Europe through the prolonged Winter. This factor alone must have disturbed the manufacturing-supply chain to the extent of a month equivalent loss in export of Spring/ Summer collections. As T-shirts and light jersey wears happen to be Mauritius main export item, the incidence on our exports was heavy. On the other hand, the incidental increase in export of woollen wear although most welcome, does not however compensate for the loss of export earnings due to the extended winter. Our companies have tried to find alternate markets in Africa, more importantly in South Africa, which is emerging to become our most important market for our textile and clothing products. We are also deeply engaged in several African countries to develop new markets.
In this perspective, TeamEM organised the first ever Fashion Show to show-case the ‘savoir faire’ of Mauritius during the recent Source Africa Trade Fair which was held in Cape Town from 9 to 12 April 2013. The Mauritian Fashion Show was held at the prestigious Table Bay Hotel and was anchored by the talented Nathalie Baker. This networking event was attended by the captains of the Fashion Industry of Cape Town, visiting buyers from the US and Europe, visitors from Africa and the representatives of the leading global agencies and/ associations dealing with textiles and clothing, namely the Africa Clothing Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF), the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF), the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), the International Cotton Advisory Committee, Industrial Apparel Federation, The Progressive Business Forum and a host of distinguished designers and professionals of the Fashion Industry. With our strong presence at Source Africa, Mauritius did effectively marked its presence as the Fashion Sourcing Destination in Africa.
Sourcing of Ready Made Garments (RMG) is undergoing drastic changes where price although important is not the most important factor in a business deal. International buyers are no longer moving from cheap to cheaper locations. In fact, global sourcing has become very complex where values like compliance (labour, social and environmental) are taking centre stage, where flexibility in terms of smaller quantity and shorter delivery are becoming the norm and where logistics and supply chain management is becoming integrated in sourcing. The visit of Senior Representatives of two US Global companies, namely PVH and XL Distributors and our EM Liaison Office in the US, Mrs Barbara Ende brought these issues into stronger focus during a meeting with the captains of local textile operators.
The sad incidents in Bangladesh namely the Tarzeen Fire and the Rana Plaza building collapse will surely add new standards and compliance parameters in terms of building and infrastructural integrity. These incidents are percusors of newer exigencies of global sourcing companies and call for an immediate alignment of Mauritian suppliers to these norms, standards and compliances. We have to review, revisit and address the necessary processes and procedures to build and strengthen the readiness of Mauritius and of our exporters to meet and to exceed buyers’ expectations. Only then, we would not compete but lead the competition. TeamEM will work with the industry for an audit for compliance and assist exporters achieve global standards.
TeamEM is also engaged on several other fronts to give a holistic approach to exporting from Mauritius. We are implementing the following in parallel:-
Assistance to the local footwear industry to build export readiness, under a special incentive programme – as announced in the Budget 2013;
Provide Technical Assistance to our local jewellery manufacturers to improve design, production and marketing skilla; and
Promote the seafood sector into a vibrant pillar of the Mauritian economy
Going forward, Enterprise Mauritius and the Board of Investment will next month hold the first collaborative promotion event in Nairobi, Kenya on 8 and 9 April in the style of the Mauritius Trade and Industrial Forum (MATIF), the first in a series of four such events in Africa. Such collaboration between National Promotion Agencies, heralds a new era in promoting Mauritius as a vibrant Investment and Sourcing Destination.
TeamEM looks forward to strengthening such effort in firmly positioning Mauritius as a Business Destinations – for we mean Business.
I wish you all a pleasant reading and welcome your comments.
Chief Executive Officer