Mauritius Time Zone UTC+04:00
Capital City Port Louis
Currency Mauritian rupee
National Day 12 March
THE HIGH COMMISSIONER for Mauritius, His Excellency Mr Girish Nunkoo, arrived in London in August 2015 accompanied by his wife Kamal and their daughter Anya. Already familiar with the British system, he declares: “As a global city, the seat of many international organisations and an important financial centre, London provides me with a unique opportunity to explore new avenues of cooperation for my country.”
An Attorney at Law since 1992, the new diplomat firmly believes that his experiences have prepared him well to tackle the challenges of the diplomatic world. Soon after assuming office, His Excellency attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta. He says Mauritius was particularly satisfied with the outcomes of CHOGM as it adopted certain decisions that were highly significant for small states like his own. “I’m pleased to say that the issues discussed are being actively pursued, and are expected to be finalised shortly for the benefit of our people.” What’s more, CHOGM 2015 launched the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub. Based in Mauritius, the hub will help small states and those vulnerable to climate change to access climate finance.
Mr Nunkoo is happy for his work as High Commissioner to be based on the solid historical foundations between Mauritius and the UK: “One of my priorities is to further strengthen these bilateral relations as well as extending cooperation in several sectors including trade and investment, tourism and education, among others.” He continues: “The UK has been one of our important traditional trading partners. Over the past five years the UK has been our highest source of FDI, representing 26.5 per cent of all in-flows. Plus the opening of the UK Trade and Investment Office in Mauritius in January 2015 signifies the potential trade and business still to be done between our two countries.”
In tourism, the UK remains an important market, representing 17.7 per cent of arrivals in 2014, and the UK is a preferred destination for Mauritian students pursuing tertiary education. “We have a large number of Mauritians in London to whom I must provide an effective consular service. I also intend to encourage our diaspora to take advantage of the facilities offered by the Mauritius government to invest at home.”
Furthermore, the High Commissioner firmly believes that “Mauritius should be promoted as a serious investment destination,” and will be encouraging British business to take advantage of these opportunities. “We provide an ideal investment environment with a highly educated and adaptable population. There is great potential for investment in tourism, manufacturing, renewable energy, port-linked activities, financial services, ICT, education, healthcare and ocean economy.” He clarifies: “Potential investors can be guided by the fact that Mauritius consistently tops the Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance, as well as being ranked first in Africa for the Global Competiveness Index 2014-2015 and the Forbes Survey of the Best Countries for Business 2014.” Investment will help to implement the Prime Minister’s recently launched ‘Economic Mission Statement – Vision 2030,’ which plans to take the country to the next level of development.
His Excellency is particularly concerned with climate change and global warming issues, the principal subject at CHOGM. “As a vulnerable Small Island Developing State, Mauritius is currently experiencing the effects of climate change. Seeking cooperation and collaboration from the international community to help us address the negative impacts of climate change is one our most pressing diplomatic challenges.”
Besides from being the Mauritius High Commissioner, he is also his country’s Permanent Representative to the Commonwealth, the International Maritime Organisation, the International Sugar Organisation and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. “Mauritius highly values its membership of these organisations and I will strive to promote the interests of my country with them.” His Excellency’s office is also accredited to the following countries: Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and the Holy See. The list of tasks may be lengthy, but His Excellency asserts that this is a challenge that he is eager to meet. Undaunted, he’s an avid reader who is particularly drawn to the philosophy of Albert Camus: “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”