The STAR Businessweek

The Star (St. Lucia) - Business Week - - DEVELOPMENT – MAURITIUS - BY CHRIS­TIAN WAYNE – ED­I­TOR AT LARGE

As I put to­gether this week’s edi­tion of The STAR Businessweek, I can’t help but re­call a con­tri­bu­tion made to Rick Wayne’s TALK! tele­vi­sion pro­gramme on DBS last Thurs­day Oc­to­ber 25th. Seated with his guest, lo­cal politi­cian and Min­is­ter for Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Guy Joseph—a min­is­ter for­ever at the cen­tre of op­po­si­tion roro, al­le­ga­tions of bobol, and other di­syl­labic cre­ole ac­cu­sa­tions—Wayne wel­comed a phone call from an ob­vi­ously irate viewer. The con­tri­bu­tion, less pre­scient than it was ob­vi­ous, was a mod­est yet crit­i­cal re­quest for Saint Lu­cia’s two po­lit­i­cal par­ties to come to an agree­ment on the de­vel­op­ment tra­jec­tory of our na­tion. In other words, the caller was ask­ing for the bobol and roro to be set aside, even if for just a hot Cas­tries minute, so that the rul­ing party and the op­po­si­tion could set over­ar­ch­ing, bi­par­ti­san ground rules on how to ad­dress ba­sic facets of Saint Lu­cia’s de­vel­op­ment: an agree­ment on how to tackle pub­lic debt, the size of the pub­lic ser­vice, tax­a­tion, ed­u­ca­tion, and our ap­proach to FDI, to name a few. Earnest as the con­tri­bu­tion was, it smacked of naivety as much as it did of des­per­a­tion. Con­jured im­ages of a frus­trated fel­low cit­i­zen throw­ing his hands in the air as he makes one last-ditch ef­fort (on his last 2 min­utes of phone credit) to in­state rules of en­gage­ment in an is­land that can only be de­scribed as a po­lit­i­cal back­wa­ter. Thank­fully, not every small is­land state is run as poorly or as my­opi­cally as ours.

In this week’s edi­tion, Mau­ri­tius and the Sey­chelles, two is­lands in the In­dian ocean, are the sub­jects of re­port­ing by the Fi­nan­cial Times. De­spite be­ing run for half a cen­tury by only two po­lit­i­cal par­ties (sound fa­mil­iar?), Mau­ri­tius is a text­book ex­am­ple of how an is­land na­tion can rein­vent it­self over and over again while pro­gres­sively im­prov­ing the qual­ity of life for its cit­i­zens and its pri­vate sec­tor in each of its pro­ceed­ing eco­nomic chap­ters. Read that story on pages 3 & 7.

The Sey­chelles, though they haven’t been able to crest the de­vel­op­ment suc­cess of their Mau­ri­tian neigh­bour, are op­er­at­ing at the cut­ting-edge of in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ment fi­nance by lever­ag­ing the trans­for­ma­tive pow­ers of the world’s cap­i­tal mar­kets (in­stead of lazily en­gag­ing in the usual Chi­nese-Tai­wanese co­quetry we’ve be­come so fond of).

For more on that story, read “Sey­chelles sells world’s first blue bond in ‘dol­phin debt’ deal” on page 7.

Fi­nally, be sure to read this week’s lead story “Pro­jec­tions vs Po­ten­tial: Saint Lu­cia and the IMF’s 3.4% Growth Fore­cast” start­ing on page 1. Spoiler alert, much of that pro­jected growth seems to be based on what our Tourism Min­is­ter Do­minic Fedee is fond of re­fer­ring to as ‘projects in the pipeline’. But how long will those projects re­main in utero? That’s above my pay­grade … and his!

It’s Noth­ing Per­sonal. It’s Busi­ness.

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