Through the Covid 19, Nature is telling us that the more we destroy, the more we are cutting the branch on which we are sitting.

H.E. Prof Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, 6th President of the Republic of Mauritius: Through the Covid 19, Nature is telling us that the more we destroy, the more we are cutting the branch on which we are sitting. 

 

Covid 19, Tuna fishing and the closure of the ‘Esquel Group’ have increased our awareness on how interconnected we are to each other on this planet and how our future depends on a healthy environment. Through the Covid 19, Nature is telling us that the more we destroy, the more we are cutting the branch on which we are sitting. Covid hasseriously damaged one major pillar our the economy – Tourism which contributes almost 25% of our GDP. MajorAirlines are predicting a return to the pre-pandemic scenario only in 2025!..More challenges are to come as faceup to the challenges of a changing climate. Rising sea level are gradually eroding our best beaches.

 

As global temperatures increase, warmer oceans mean more deadly cyclones. More Green House Gas emission absorbed by the sea will result in a more acidic ocean resulting in coral bleaching. A healthy reef provides 40% ofglobal fish caught. Our fishing industry is already bearing the brunt of unsustainable practices of the Yellow Fin Tuna.The direct visible impact is Job loss. To compound it all, we now have the Wakashio which has soiled our waters. Asa population we still do not have answers to so many questions – what is the impact of this oil on our ecosystem?What type of oil is it? How long is it likely to linger and what is the impact on the local ecosystem? What is the stateof the coral reef  after the oil spill? Etc.

 

Over and above the environment, our economy depends on so many other factors – Geopolitics is one of them. The textile sector is reeling from the closure of the Esquel Group. The latter is a Chinese company and is feelingthe shockwaves on the Uighurs issue. Their markets dry up in USA and we lose jobs here in Mauritius. These are justa few examples of how a small economy like ours depends on the global environment.

 

The next question is – What next? How do we address the great reset? How nimble footed are we as a country? How prepared and independent are our institutions? What resources are we putting at disposal to help the youthbecome job creators? Which new pillars are we adding to the economy?  How are we capitalizing on our assetsincluding our strategic positioning in the Indian Ocean, the diversity of our people and to maximise on thepotential of a – White, Green, Blue economies…