I am very pleased to extend my warmest wishes of prosperity to all those celebrating Africa Day. Each year on the 25th of May, the Republic of Mauritius, along with nations all other the world, proudly commemorates the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity.
Africa Day provides us with a unique opportunity to celebrate our African unity in its diversity, while paying tribute to all those who have selflessly struggled and laid their lives for the independence of African Nations.
This year’s theme is dedicated to “Accelerating Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation (AfCFTA)”, is particularly befitting. It calls on all African countries to strive towards the realisation of a common goal; that of a single African market for a prosperous and peaceful Africa for all.
As the AfCFTA is expected to drive inclusive socio-economic development and structural transformation of Africa, cooperation between the Continent and India is expected to thrive at all levels. Indeed, the relationship which links Africa and India has withstood the test of time, whether it is during the fight against colonialism, or the Covid-19 pandemic crisis which has been amplified by the enduring conflict in Ukraine.
Mauritius is convinced that Africa and India will overcome the current challenges together in a spirit of friendship, solidarity and mutual respect which characterises their relationship.
We are already witnessing an increase in investment and trade exchanges, as highlighted during the latest CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Growth Partnership. “India’s bilateral trade with Africa reached US$ 89.5 billion in 2021-22 compared with US$ 56 bn the previous year therefore position India among the top five investors in Africa”.
The time is ripe for Africa and India to assume higher roles on the international scene, and India’s Presidency of the G20, as the voice of the Global South, has set the ball rolling in the right direction. Mauritius, as a Guest country attending the G20 meetings, will contribute to this endeavour while pursuing issues of vital interest to the country.
I seize this opportunity to highlight that, this year, Mauritius and India are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations. The two countries are not only celebrating their longstanding historical relations, which date back to the 18th century but also their exemplary bilateral cooperation, as testified by the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA). The CECPA has opened new vistas for business cooperation for both countries, and it will certainly serve as a platform for further collaboration between India and the African Continent.
I wish you all a happy Africa Day 2023.