Monday, March 30, 2009

Community Spirit – in business and banking too!

AfrAsia recently sponsored an event focusing on the construction sector during these difficult economic times. You can read the full details by clicking here.

What I have always liked about Mauritius is a continued ability to adapt and to engage a very diverse group of stakeholders whenever major economic shifts have hit the country. A lot of good policies and initiatives have resulted. And the dialogue continues at events like this one. The need for this is particularly great now when extreme movements in currency exchange rates, commodity prices and trade and investment flows seem to conspire to make any investment proposition a dangerous one.

I would sound one word of caution though. Strong local industries, whether they are in construction or other sectors are great for employment, tax revenues, social harmony and many other desirable outcomes including, one hopes, good investments! Surely there has to be a minimum competitive ability though in quality and price and we must take care not to reduce the argument to foreign dominance is bad and local dominance is good. The Minister of Finance has a good saying that we can protect people not specific jobs. Once we get through this most extreme set of volatile circumstances consumers and tax payers should not be unduly burdened with supporting inefficient industries. I am confident though that the policies will ultimately put in place time limits, benchmarking and other measures to ensure we get world class products and prices.

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