The Hon. Nandcoomar BODHA, Minister of Foreign Afairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, who is attending the 36th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union in Addis Ababa, met with the following Ministers in the margins of the conference:
(i) India – HE Mr TS Tirumurti, Vice Minister of the Ministry of External Affairs of India called on Minister N. Bodha in respect of the forthcoming India-Africa partnership Summit this year and agreed to explore ways and means of working together.. India and Mauritius reaffirmed their ancestral ties and discussed potential avenues of collaboration on capacity building for big data projects and data privacy, as well as in the education sector, for instance through joint ventures where Mauritius could assist India with the delivery of francophone courses.
(ii) Argentina – the Hon. Minister Bodha also received HE Amb. Daniel Filmus, Argentina’s Minister for Malvinas Affairs. Argentina, as Mauritius’s constant ally in our fight for decolonisation, expressed its dismay at the open disregard of the United Kingdom for the Advisory Opinion delivered by the ICJ and the deadline set by the UNGA to end its unlawful occupation of the Chagos Archipelago by 22 November 2019. Mauritius and Argentina reaffirmed their support for each other’s struggle for decolonisation and agreed to collaborate further.
(iii) Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic – the Hon. Minister Bodha also met with the Foreign Minister of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, the Hon. Mohamed Salem Uld Salek. The SADR heartily thanked Mauritius for its expression of solidarity in Layoune by withdrawing from the FUTSAL. They discussed the situation in the SADR and the continued attempts by Morocco to hold events in occupied territory. The recent case of the Africa Cup of Nations was raised and SADR informed that it would raise the matter at the Summit since what had happened in Layoune was in contravention of AU agreed positions.
The Hon Minister intervened at the Executive Council meeting on a proposal by Nigeria to develop a Common African Position on Asset Recovery. He expressed his support for this proposal, emphasising that, in the same manner that Africa stands together to fight decolonisation, we should stand together to ensure that what legally belonged to Member States of Africa should go back to Africa. The Hon. Minister also highlighted that the new Government Programme of Mauritius, which was presented by the President two weeks ago, states clearly that Mauritius will intensify its fight against corruption with zero tolerance of corrupt practices. Mauritius also emphasised that we have recently adopted a new legislative regime on the Declaration of Assets as part of our transparency legislation also known as “sunshine laws”. Mauritius informed the African Union that we are determined to combat all forms of corruption and therefore support the idea of an initiative at Continental Level to recover the Assets of Africa, whether symbolical or substantive in nature.
The Mauritius intervention in favour of the digital transformation strategy for Africa focused on digitalisation as a key instrument to leapfrog development. In this regard, Mauritius proposed that a mapping exercise of digital Africa be carried out to better understand the state of preparedness of each Member State as this would provide a base for charting out a strategy based on the reality on the ground. Mauritius also indicated that it was working with the Government of Estonia for its digital transformation plan 2030. Mauritius would be ready to participate in capacity building in this area to support the efforts of the Continent.