Port Louis: The Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) offers new opportunities for trade, investments, and services activities between Mauritius and India and can accelerate our economic growth, said Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth on Tuesday.

"The CECPA will act as a support to Mauritius in the wake of ongoing global challenges, Jugnauth said, adding that, "India has been a partner and a friend like no other to Mauritius." as he launched the CECPA forum in Pointe aux Piments, Le Matinal reported.

During the event being held to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Mauritius, PM Jugnauth expressed gratitude to the Government of India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his unwavering commitment to making the trade pact CECPA a reality, which he emphasised is the first Agreement that India has signed with an African country.

"The CECPA forms part of a broader strategy between the Governments to broaden our economic horizons and plays an integral part in facilitating cross-border trade and investment," he stated.

Speaking of the event, he said that the initiative aims at elevating the economic and cultural ties between Mauritius and India as well as celebrating the diplomatic relationships between the two countries.

This event, he said, "further highlights our long-lasting friendship and the deep-rooted ties shared by our people."

According to Le Matinal, Jugnauth further highlighting the technical, financial, and diplomatic support India has provided to Mauritius, said that the successful completion of recent projects namely the Metro Express, the New Supreme Court, and the New ENT hospital was possible due to the support India has provided.

He said, "Government is investing massively in the upgrading of infrastructure to make sure businesses operate in the best environment as well as pave the way to a sustainable, intensive, and modern economy."

"The country's economic progress has allowed Government to engage in a resolute fight against poverty and inequality and is now able to invest in social welfare.," he said while reiterating his ambition of striving to ensure that citizens emerge as winners from this growth, Le Matinal reported.

While underlining EDB's key role in charting the future that we want, PM Jugnauth urged all businesses to fully avail of its expertise. He appreciated the friendship and mutual respect between Mauritius and India and reiterated that together both countries can build a prosperous future, Le Matinal reported.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Alan Ganoo described India as a staunch supporter of Mauritius and asserted that India like other privileged partners has accompanied us in our endeavours to emerge as a Small Island State and become a committed partner in our socio-economic development.

He laid emphasis on the numerous developmental activities and other projects ranging from the social to the cultural, encompassing education, capacity-building, trade, and security, for which Mauritius benefited from Indian assistance.

Ganoo said that CECPA is a pivotal milestone that will pave the way for even greater economic cooperation between our two countries and will enhance our economic ties and develop a unique strategic partnership.

"Indian investors can use Mauritius as a gateway for production and subsequent exports to the African market," he said while recalling that Mauritius has duty-free access to a market of 650 million consumers by virtue of its membership in COMESA and SADC, Le Matinal reported.

"And with the entry into force of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Mauritius has now preferential access to a market of approximately 1.3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined GDP valued around USD 3.5 trillion," he said.

The Finance Minister of Mauritius, Renganaden Padayachy, pointed out that the Governments of Mauritius and India have worked together to come up with a historical agreement that is mutually beneficial to both our nations.

"The CECPA is instrumental in opening new opportunities for the country's businesses and added that our economic operators can tap into new opportunities in a market of nearly 1.4 billion people," he highlighted.

The CECPA forms part of the Government's strategy to strengthen the resilience of our economy through the diversification of our markets, and aims at achieving development that transforms both the lives of people and the economy, Padayachy added.

On being asked about the decision of the Grand Peninsula to limit its rice exports, Padayachy said, "In general, in this kind of situation, we do negotiations... the Prime Minister has a privileged link with the Indian Prime Minister."

"And to reassure that there is no shortage in Mauritius so far," he added.

Speaking at the event, the High Commissioner of India K Nandini Singla said that the CECPA will help to enhance the prosperity and wellbeing of the people of both countries.

"The CECPA holds tremendous potential to boost bilateral trade and is an ideal platform to explore new opportunities in Africa," she said, adding, "India has always been one of the top three trading partners of Mauritius after independence while Mauritius has been among the top three sources of FDI into India."

She further stated that Mauritius is at the intersection of three priority areas of India, namely the neighbourhood first policy, the focus on the Indian Ocean region, and on Africa. "We look forward to Mauritius continuing to be a cherished partner in our growth story," Singla concluded.

During the event held in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning, and Development, the Economic Development Board (EDB), and the High Commission of India, a booklet penned by the EDB, entitled 'Mauritius-India CECPA: A guide to Business Development, was launched, Le Matinal reported.

Various personalities including the Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Alan Ganoo, the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy, and the High Commissioner of India, K Nandini Singla, were present on the occasion.