Economy

LOKAL REBOUND: Re-boost our economy via local expertise

03 Jun 2021

The health crisis linked to COVID-19 has revealed how our country's economy can be vulnerable to the vagaries of international trade. The time has come for Mauritius to use its renowned entrepreneurial culture and dynamism to shape up a more resilient island with a more diversified productive fabric.

This transition is required against a backdrop of a climate emergency, the deleterious consequences of which should be felt on the island more than elsewhere. This is what a study entitled LOKAL REBOUND reveals. The study was commissioned by MCB from the sustainable development strategy consulting firm, Utopies®.
 
Make the current crisis an opportunity
 
The findings of this report call for strengthening the country's productive resilience - that is, its ability to develop alternatives in the wake of an economic shock. The idea is to bring about a more sustainable and prosperous Mauritian economy in the long run. Although the Mauritian economy is more resilient than many other developed island economies and countries in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius only enjoys a productive resilience score of 20.5%, which means that its productive fabric is capable of producing 1/5th of the goods that enter the Mauritian consumption value chain. In other words, 80% of these goods consumed in the country could not be produced locally!
 
Towards a productive redeployment
 
To improve its productive resilience score, Utopies recommends both diversifying and making the economic fabric of Mauritius more complex: the aim is to bring out new activities based on existing know-how and to create more exchanges between local businesses. It is also suggested to carry out transplants of extra-national companies, provided that they can easily adapt and help support the local ecosystem. By targeting the sectors of the new climate economy and by developing organisational models promoting synergies, Mauritius can simultaneously respond to the two challenges of ecological transition and the search for greater productive autonomy.
 
Three strategies to diversify the Mauritian economy
 
Utopies relied on its LOCANOMICS® tool to analyse the "productive proximities" of economic activities present in Mauritius and with other activities that do not exist locally. Three strategies can be implemented, based on the notion of valuing economic assets, which the study illustrates with concrete examples of economic models. For industrial sectors well established in Mauritius, the study recommends deploying territorial industrial ecology approaches. This approach, which aims to pool the flow of materials and skills between several companies, seems mainly relevant in the textile, paper-cardboard and chemical industries.
 
Exceptional entrepreneurial culture
 
Mauritius can also use its exceptional entrepreneurial culture to bring out new activities or to strengthen activities that are deployed in a limited way, within strategic sectors present on the island such as agri-food, repair, re-use and recycling. To promote this type of deployment, it is possible to create innovation hubs consisting of bringing together on a single site a variety of companies that can combine their business skills to create new products and services.
 
Promote links between companies
 
The LOKAL REBOUND report invites Mauritian entrepreneurs to seize opportunities by developing tools and services promoting links between companies: platforms allowing the pooling of production tools or promoting co-products, organized integration structures. The report concludes with a call for "radical action to diversify the productive fabric of the island" to make the current crisis Mauritius' tipping point towards a more resilient and prosperous local economy in the long term.
 
Punch, as an impetus
 
In line with Utopies’ recommendation regarding the need for entrepreneurs to unite and pool production tools, MCB launched the Punch platform, in the wake of of its "Lokal is Beautiful" initiative. Punch.mu, a digital ecosystem for entrepreneurs, was developed by MCB with the collaboration of local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The prime idea behind Punch is to bring together all the services that a business that wants to grow would need, on a single platform. Punch aims to be a dynamic community, where local entrepreneurs can meet, discuss, help each other and be inspired to develop both solutions and their activities. By registering for free on this marketplace, entrepreneurs will find all the services they need to become more professional, structure themselves better, collaborate with other companies, offer their goods and services, and even find investors.

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