AWEX braves cyclone ENAWO in a successful mission to Indian Ocean17/06/2017

In spite of adverse weather conditions, the Wallonia Export & Investment Agency (AWEX), lead a successful trade delegation of thirty Belgian business people in Mauritius and Madagascar.

Twenty-one enterprises took part in the journey which started on Sunday 5 March 2017 in Port Louis.  It was the second trade mission of Awex to Mauritius in two years.  Just like in 2015, the Board of Investment (BOI) of Mauritius yet again played an important role in the success of the mission. “The BOI hosted our delegation in their HQ’s and organised a very efficient B2B program for our delegates” says Jean-Pierre Muller, head of Awex Johannesburg. “Their primary role is to attract foreign investment into the island, but they also understand that international SME’s may prefer to first establish business contacts with local partners before investing. The BOI was able to identify the best possible partners for our delegates”, says Muller.

The second leg of the mission proved to be more action-packed. Indeed, the Belgian delegates on-board the flight Air Mauritius MK288 landed at Antananarivo Airport on Tuesday 7 March exactly as the cyclone ENAWO struck the North-eastern part of the island. ENAWO was one of the worst cyclones to hit the country in recent years. It was accompanied by powerful winds, heavy rains and high seas. Fortunately, the capital Antananarivo was spared by most of the chaos, but nevertheless the first part of the mission’s program was largely disrupted.  Eventually, all the bits and pieces of the program fell into place over the next two days.

Awex’ mission to Madagascar was probably overdue as the previous one took place about ten years ago. And Madagascar had recently stepped back onto the international stage by successfully hosting the 19th summit of the COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) in October 2016 and the 16th summit of the Francophonie a month later. The country also organised with success the “donors and investors conference for Madagascar”, in Paris on 1st and 2nd December 2016.

The delegation was officially hosted by the Minister of Industry and Private Sector development, H.E. Chabani Nourdine. High level official contacts were also organised with several Ministries and authorities, as well as multilateral and bilateral donors and funding agencies. Very productive networking sessions with the GEM (Groupement des Enterprises de Madagascar) and the CCIA (Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Antananarivo) were also programmed.

In total for the two stages of the mission, more than 220 pre-set B2B and B2G meetings took place, with the overall satisfaction of the delegates.

This trade mission was coordinated by the Johannesburg office of Awex, whose jurisdiction comprises 11 Southern African countries, including Mauritius and Madagascar.