There has been a plethora of views expressed lately with concern for our country in the local press concerning the dire situation we have been pushed into by the coronavirus. Allow me to add mine which I hope will enrich the suggestions.
Most opinions have dwelt on the best source of finance to be obtained for the recovery of our economy rendered sluggish by lockdowns. My concern, formed after reading our predicaments as stated by our top brains, is a bit different.
Our livelihood relies on the good health of our financial services, our tourism and our manufacturing industry. However, all expert opinions voiced so far tend to say that tourism should be placed on life support. What will be the prescriptions of the Administrator of Air Mauritius will not be pleasant to hear. For how long will we have to keep the sector on ICU is anybody’s guess… 6 months to two years. The future of manufacturing and financial services is unsure, all depending on so many ifs. Reviving the three legs on which our economy is standing will be a perilous exercise of uncertain consequences.
I suggest that we should turn seriously to China for more cooperation, which seems curiously to be the least favourable choice of many opinion leaders, for a dose of serum. Can’t we revive the Jin Fei project? I vaguely remember that when it was inaugurated with much fanfare, the Chinese connection was going to inject billions to create a satellite town with all amenities and enlarge the port to reach Tombeau Bay, and used as a hub for the Chinese merchant navy on its way to Africa and South America. Port Louis would have been used as an entrepôt for Chinese goods destined for Africa and Chinese imports from South America such as Brazil. Further, it would also be used as fish market. The turnout generated by the activity would make the other economic sectors pale into distant second and third places.
The time is now or never if we want to come out of the challenges of this pandemic unscathed and stronger.