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Dear Valued Partner

MEETING TARGETS.  According to the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2014 Report of the United Nations, the world economy has experienced subdued growth in 2013, unable to meet even the modest projections many institutional forecasters had made earlier.

The forecast for 2014 is optimistic, despite lingering uncertainties and risks. Growth of world output is forecasted to grow by 3% in 2014, with growth in Developed Economies at 1.9%, in Economies in Transition at 3.3%, in Developing Economies at 5.1% and in Least Developed Countries at 5.7%.  World Trade is expected to grow at 4.7%.

In the backdrop of the below – par performance of the world economies, Mauritius has again shown great resilience on the export front.  The latest figures from Statistics Mauritius confirm the dynamism of our export sector.  Total exports from 2013 stood at Rs 88.1 billion compared to Rs 76.9 billion in 2012.  This comprises of Domestic Export at Rs 58.2 billion, representing 66.6% of total exports, Rs 13.7 billion (15.66%) in re-exports and Rs 16.2 billion (18.4%) in Ship Stores and Bunkers.

Thus, while Total Exports increased by 11% in 2013 compared to 2012, exports of goods have increased by 7%, that of Domestic Exports by 5% and exports of E.O.Es, by 3%.  This below-par performance is driven by increase in exports of cane sugar (+16/6%), fish and fish preparations (+21%) and pearls, precious and semi-precious stones (+31%).  During the same period exports of apparel and clothing registered a drop of (-1%). Other sub-sectors were also under pressure.

As regards market performance, exports to our non-traditional markets have increased from Rs 28.6 billion in 2012 to Rs 31.6 billion in 2013, representing 54.4% of total domestic exports.  On the regional front, exports to Africa registered a reduction of -6%, mainly due to a drop of (-11%) in exports to South Africa. 

The prospect for 2014, although better is not without challenges.  Mauritian exporters will have to face headwinds associated with constant rising costs, foreign exchange fluctuations, lower demands in our traditional markets, more stringent export conditions and Terms, and more importantly, limitation in our supply value-chain.

To be able to face the rising competition from all quarters, Mauritian exporters have to innovate to come up with the right products, at right prices for the right markets. The search for new products and new markets is now imperative as is the selection of the right distribution channels.

In response to the challenges in penetrating the African markets, mainly land-locked countries, Government has favourably reacted by introducing two innovative schemes, namely the Insurance Guarantee Scheme and a Freight Subsidy Scheme for exports to Africa. While the former is already operational, at SIC, the second scheme is under preparation with a view to attracting a new feeder vessel to service East African ports. This Scheme, based on a refund basis, will be operated by EM.

TeamEM will continue to provide the right exposure to our exporters and to  our products by increasing the visibility of Mauritius as a Sourcing Destination.  In the first two months of 2014, we have already completed four promotional events in India, France and Germany and one action is presently on in Japan.  Several high profile promotion actions are under preparation in the style of a Fashion Fiesta in London, Expo-Sales in Seychelles, participation in Source Africa (Cape Town) and SAITEX 2014 (Johannesburg), Buyer Seller Meets in Uganda and Rwanda and participation in Foire Internationale de Madagascar (FIM 2014).

In parallel, TeamEM will accelerate its efforts in building the export readiness of our exporters, with special focus on SMEs.  Furthermore, we will continue developing export capabilities of emerging industries with emphasis on jewellery, seafood, agri-businesses, medical devices and foodstuffs among others.  We shall keep you posted of all developments.

We wish you a pleasant reading and welcome your comments and suggestions.

Dev Chamroo
Chief Executive Officer