1. Cabinet has taken note that HE Mr Sellapan Ramanathan, President of Singapore, will effect a State Visit to Mauritius from 4 to 7 June 2011. He will lead a delegation comprising members of Government and the private sector. During his visit, he would pay courtesy calls on the President of the Republic, and the Prime Minister, participate in a Business Forum and address the National Assembly. The University of Mauritius would confer the degree Honoris Causa to him.
2. Cabinet has taken note that, following the intervention of the Prime Minister during his last visit to Singapore, a delegation from the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit Corporation fielded a mission in March 2011 in the context of the introduction of the Light Rail Transit system in Mauritius. The Corporation has, now, submitted its report which is being examined.
3. Cabinet has taken note that Mauritius was elected as Member of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice for the term 2012-2014 at the elections held during the resumed session of the UN Economic and Social Council in New York on 27 April 2011.
4. Cabinet has taken note that, in view of the increasing demand for skilled workers to work on board cruise ships, the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Leisure and the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, National Development Unit, Land Transport and Shipping, would launch a training programme for those wishing to take up employment on board cruise ships. The training programme, which would run for about four months, would comprise training in the field of hospitality and the Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping Certificate, fundamental for mariners.
5. Cabinet has taken note that, with a view to further modernizing the legal system and better promoting justice, the Attorney General would, on 12 May 2011, launch the Laws of Mauritius Online Database which would, inter alia, contain the Constitution of Mauritius, regulations and Order made under it, as well as Acts of Parliament.
6. Cabinet has taken note that, according to the last statistical bulletin, 341,799 tourists visited Mauritius during the period January to April 2011 as compared to 314,768 for the corresponding period in 2010, i.e., an increase of 8.6%. During the month of April 2011, some 79,173 tourists visited Mauritius as compared to 64,797 in April 2010, i.e., an increase of 22.2%. Growth has been registered in the following tourist markets: France (+14.3%), U.K. (+14.0%), Italy (+23.9%), Germany (+18.2%), Switzerland (+67.5%), CIS (+95.7%), China (+39.1%), India (+7.5%), Republic of South Africa (+40.5%) and Reunion Island (+13.3%).
7. Cabinet has taken note that last year, the National Assessment Programme in Form III was successfully implemented, on a pilot basis, in 33 secondary schools, i.e., 16 State Secondary Schools and 17 grant-aided Private Secondary Schools. The aim of the Programme was to evaluate competencies of students after three years of secondary schooling and determine weaknesses. This year, the Programme would be implemented in all State Secondary Schools and 70 Private Secondary Schools, including 2 in Rodrigues. The number of subjects, which would be assessed, would be increased to five; science being included. In 2012, the National Assessment Programme would be extended to all secondary schools.
8. Cabinet has taken note of the setting up of a Council for Consumer Education and Information under the aegis of the Ministry of Business, Enterprise, Cooperatives and Consumer Protection to educate and inform consumers, formulate consumer education and information strategies, and assess the strategies through surveys and studies with a view to better protecting the rights and interests of consumers.
9. Cabinet has taken note that Prof. Dhanjay Jhurry has been awarded the Best Mauritian Scientist Award 2010. The Award aims at recognizing and rewarding Mauritian researchers whose contributions impact on the daily life of Mauritian citizens, and upgrading local research competencies for a knowledge-based society.
10. Cabinet has taken note of activities that would be organized, as from 11 May 2011, by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, National Development Unit, Land Transport and Shipping, in collaboration with the Special Road Safety Unit of the Prime Minister’s Office, to mark the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, viz.-
(a) organization of a Road Safety March and sensitization campaigns on road safety;
(b) demonstrations by the Accident Rescue Teams;
(c) presentation of the concept of retro-reflective jackets for two wheelers;
(d) road safety défilé by motorcycles/cars (vintage) and Scouts; and
(e) clip competition on mobile phones on road safety.
In March 2010, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed a Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 with a view to stabilizing and reducing road deaths due to road accidents worldwide, which is forecast at about 1.9 million by 2020.
11. Cabinet has taken note of progress in the digitization of the National Archives with a view to restoring documents of historical value and uploading them on the website of the National Archives.
12. Cabinet has taken note that, in June 2011, Mauritius and the Republic of Turkey would sign a Free Trade Agreement providing for -
(a) Duty Free Quota Free on all industrial products, with the exception of 60 textiles products on which Turkey has agreed to phase out tariffs over four years;
(b) duty-free access on some 40 agricultural products, including raw fish, vegetables, palm heart, sweet biscuits, animal feed, flowers, and tropical fruits, such as mangoes, guavas and pineapples;
(c) 20% margin of preference on canned tuna with unlimited quota access;
(d) flexible rules of origin as contained in the interim Economic Partnership Agreement; and
(e) possibility of sourcing raw material from third countries and exporting to Turkey.
13. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund (Amendment) Bill, which aims at amending the Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund Act to enable the control of development in the Buffer Zones of the Aapravasi Ghat.
14. Cabinet has taken note that the Board of Investment would hold the Mauritius International Investment Forum on 15 and 16 June 2011. The Forum would showcase Mauritius as an attractive investment destination with focus on promoting the traditional sectors, the emerging value-added activities, as well as future industries. It will also position Mauritius as the natural gateway to invest in the region. Lord Meghnad Desai of the UK House of Lords and Dr Paul Romer, renowned Economist from the US, would be the Guest Speakers at the Forum.
15. Cabinet has agreed to the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. The Optional Protocol creates obligations on State Parties to criminalize and punish activities related to the offences of sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
Cabinet has further taken note that Ms Najat M’jid Maalla, Special Rapporteur appointed by the United Nations, is currently visiting Mauritius to gather information on the situation regarding the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
16. Cabinet has taken note that a Meeting of the Regional Technical Implementation Team of the Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project for Southern Africa would be held in Mauritius from 19 to 22 July 2011. The Project aims at improving the ability of national meteorological organizations to forecast and minimize the lead time to alert the population of severe weather events. Participants from countries of the Southern African region would attend the Meeting.
17. Cabinet has taken note that the Fourth Annual General Meeting of the Association for Women Managers in the Maritime Sector in the Eastern and Southern Africa would be held in Mauritius in December 2011. The objectives of the Association are, inter alia, to –
(a) advocate gender equity in the East and Southern African Maritime Sector;
(b) integrate women in the mainstream maritime activities; and
(c) promote women’s access to the maritime sector through education, training, research and business opportunities.
18. Cabinet has taken note that the World Committee of the “Femmes Chefs d’Entreprise Mondiales” would be held in Mauritius from 25 to 28 May 2011. The theme for this year’s Meeting is “Women Entrepreneurs: the Driving Force for Economic Empowerment”. The Meeting would be an opportunity to foster exchanges and build relationships between Member States and women entrepreneurs. Participants from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Benin, Canada, Cameroon, Comoros, Croatia, France, Germany, India, Madagascar, Mauritius, Pakistan, Reunion Island, Senegal, Seychelles, South Korea, United Kingdom, and the USA would attend the meeting.
19. Cabinet has taken note that the Ninth International Telecommunication Union World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Meeting would be held in Mauritius in December 2011. The Meeting is the main global forum where issues relating to definition of indicators in the field of telecommunication/ICTs, data collection and analysis, as well as methodology are discussed with a view to ensuring international coordination in the area of ICT measurement. The Meeting would enhance the visibility of Mauritius in the field of ICT on the international scene. Some 175 foreign delegates from 90 countries would to attend the Meeting.
20. Cabinet has taken note that the Agricultural Marketing Board would hand over its buildings at Citronelle and Pointe d’Herbe in Rodrigues to the Rodrigues Regional Assembly.
Cabinet has further taken note that Rodrigues has been given special consideration in the Food Security Fund Strategic Plan to boost its agro-industry sector.
21. Cabinet has taken note of activities that would be organized by the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare to mark the International Day of Families commemorated on 15 May. The theme chosen by the United Nations for the International Day of Families is Confronting Family Poverty and Social Exclusion. At national level, the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare has retained the theme La Famille – Source du Bonheur. On 15 May 2011, a Family Day would be organized at the Gymkhana Grounds to sensitize families on the importance to strengthen family values. The Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare would also organize a National Programme on Marriage Enrichment to strengthen and promote understanding and respect between spouses.
22. Cabinet has taken note of activities that would be organized by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life to mark the World No Tobacco Day observed on 31 May. On the occasion, a mass-media campaign would be launched when a website advocating a Tobacco Smoke Free environment would be launched, and during which seminars and workshops pledging for a Tobacco Smoke Free Mauritius organized. The theme chosen by the WHO for this year is The WHO Framework Control on Tobacco Control.
23. Cabinet has taken note of the activities that would be organized by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology to mark the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day observed on 17 May, viz., -
(a) organization of the Get Online Week and provision of internet facilities free of charge in all Post Offices to Senior Citizens to raise their awareness on the opportunities offered by Internet;
(b) sensitization campaigns on the use and benefits of ICT; and
(c) launching of a third Cybercaravan.
The theme for the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day for this year is Better life in rural communities with ICTs.
24. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Energy and Public Utilities to Paris where he participated in the Paris-Nairobi Ministerial Conference on Energy for Africa and Other Countries that are Vulnerable to Climate Change. The objective of the Conference was to discuss political, technical and financial actions needed to scale up access to clean energy for all, in Africa and other countries most vulnerable to climate change.
In the margins of the Conference, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Energy and Public Utilities met Mr Jean Louis Mathias, Executive Director of Electricité de France in the context of the support for capacity building in renewable energy provided by the Company, and the Deputy Director General of Agence Française de Développement with whom he reviewed progress of projects funded by the agency.
25. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Economic Development to Brussels and Washington where he participated in the ACP National Authorising Officers Meeting and the IMF/ World Bank Meetings respectively. The ACP National Authorising Officers took stock of progress in the utilization of funds earmarked for regional projects, discussed the effectiveness of regional operations and engaged the EU on innovative instruments to support the regional integration agenda.
In the margins of the Meeting in Brussels, the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Economic Development met Mr Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development, and Mr Karel de Gutch, EU Commissioner for Trade, where they discussed bilateral and regional issues, including a proposal to conclude negotiations on the full EPA.
In Washington, the Vice-Prime Minister had discussions with the Deputy Managing Director of the IMF and the Director of the IMF Institute on, inter alia, the possible establishment of a Training Institute in Mauritius. He also met the Managing Director of the World Bank, the United States Trade Representative and the Minister of Finance of South Africa.
26. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the visit of the Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security to Rodrigues. He met the Chief Commissioner and the Commissioner for Agriculture with whom he discussed a number of issues including storage of seeds, labour and agricultural equipment. He also met the representative of Rodrigues on the Food Security Fund, and onion and chilli growers. The Minister also laid the foundation stone of a modern slaughter house at Baie Diamant.
27. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions to the People’s Republic of China with a view to further strengthening cooperation between her Ministry and the Ministry of Civil Affairs of China in the field of social welfare, particularly in elderly and disability areas. During her mission, the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions visited various institutions providing care and assistance to the elderly and disabled persons, viz., the National Research Centre for Rehabilitation Technical Aids, the Dongcheng University of The Third Age and the Community Service Centre for the elderly in the Xinzhongjie District of Beijing.
In the margins of her visit, the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions met the Minister of Civil Affairs who has agreed to provide support for capacity building in the elderly and disability areas.
28. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Fisheries and Rodrigues to Madagascar. The main objective of the mission was to understudy the breeding of sea cucumber on an industrial scale as it is proposed to start, on a pilot basis, the breeding of sea cucumber in Mauritius and Rodrigues under the project Regional Programme for the Sustainable Management of Coastal Zones of Member Countries of the Indian Ocean Commission. On the success of the pilot project, a full project with the capacity of producing some one million sea cucumbers (Holothuria Scabra) which is of high commercial value, would be implemented.