FORMER deputy Prime Minister of Mauritius Dr Ramakrishna Sithanen who was in a three-day visit in Zanzibar leaves today after sharing with Zanzibaris the strategies that turned his country into one of Africa’s leading economies.
Dr Sithanen who jetted on Tuesday met 40 key stakeholders and contributors to Zanzibar’s’ economic growth on Wednesday. These were representatives from Zanzibar Association of Tourism Investors (ZATI), Zanzibar National Chamber of Commerce, Zanzibar National Industry and Agriculture (ZNCCIA) and Zanzibar Association of Tour Operators (ZATO).
In his insights, he suggested that Zanzibar should embrace three key strategies that helped Mauritius shift from struggling sugarcane economy into an upper- middle income economy, whereby poverty levels declined from 40 per cent to 1 per cent.
“The secret is investment in infrastructure, invest in people and in institutions” said Dr Sithanen.
Additionally, Dr Sithanen stressed the importance of the private sector giving back to the local communities through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes and policies that empower the poor.
He offered the example of his own successful enterprise, which contributes 2 per cent of the company’s profits to organisations and community programmes that focus on education, youth and women’s programmes, social housing, and social integration.
Dr Sithanen remarked education and training as one of the key factors contributing to the transformational success, and thus primary through tertiary education, and vocational training in Mauritius was free for all Mauritians.
The transformational process in Mauritius is based on inclusion by way of education and employment, and economic diversification in order to move from a monoculture economy to one based on industry and services, finally reaching an innovation-driven economy, he said.
“Regional integration is also a vital aspect in growing the economy. Mauritius’ success is based on its ‘openness’ and having a conducive environment to attract investors. Another factor is diversification and transformation of the economy,” he said.
Dr Sithanen’s visit was hosted by hospitality industry stakeholders, the Pennyroyal Gibraltar Ltd and Zanzibar Amber Resort.