Men and women are the ones who make history. The task befalls onto us Mauritians to build our future together. At the beginning of the 21st century, our society is in the process of finding its place on the global stage as globalization marches on in its political, economic, ethical, technological, and cultural dimensions. Thus, it is on that stage that we must imagine our future, as the problematics are the same, with their own local flavours of course. Let us revisit and update the analytical tools, the processes, and the methods of yesteryear: and as such forge new ones. The deep transformations taking place demand a new perspective to fully consider this new landscape, rife with contradictions, so as to honestly witness “lavi ki pe deroule”. 

Nature and humanity

Let us start by stating a fact: the coming change has to be green because our natural heritage is our greatest asset. Of course, this green future extends to the blue of the seas and oceans. Damage has already been done, the warning signs are here and the dangers are real and contemporary—meaning that all current and future initiatives and practices need to work in the framework of sustainable development. In some of these domains, the dynamics are more than worrying. A clinical assessment of the current state of affairs is necessary to cover all the issues relating to water, energy, transportation, land and coastal planning, biodiversity, erosion, deforestation, the fate of wetlands, waste disposal, production, and ultimately consumption. The nature of economic growth itself needs to be debated. 

Let’s go green! A massive undertaking! 

Our human resources, together with our natural heritage, have always been our greatest wealth. We need to give development with a human dimension the pillars it needs to rest upon, these pillars being the values of liberty, equality, brotherhood, and solidarity throughout the different spheres of society. The IMF and other institutions have concluded that the neo-liberal model has failed, creating unbearable and counter-productive inequalities in many countries. What about Mauritius? There are other models in the world that can inspire us. Beyond the socio-economic model with at its core the human dimension, there are all the questions about real civil equality, the creation of wealth and its redistribution methods, the fight against inequalities, the varying degrees of poverty, precarity, the future of work, and the social model. 

 

Investing in the digital continent 

The digital revolution fundamentally changed the concepts of space and time, social relationships, and previous notions of ‘territory’. Let us fully consider this revolution to identify the opportunities and threats. Entire socio-economic groups of the country, as well as the important departments of our companies need to go through the digital transition posthaste. Time is of the essence. The conquest of the “digital continent” is a strategic priority. Beyond networks, content is important. Our society has at its disposal many assets that it can leverage to foster the synergy between new technologies and the advent of cultural industries. The challenge herein is to find how to deploy the strong potential of the knowledge economy. Let us not forget either that grey matter is the premium currency of the 21st century. 

Social change & cultural revolution 

All societal projects incorporate change, now vitally more important than ever before. The process and method is to convince and not to coerce through autocratic methods or technocratic approaches. Active listening in the context of dialogue is of utmost importance. All agents of development are concerned. We need to stop with the “us against them” discourse. The political crisis is central to this upcoming change where the citizens demand both respect from the political class to engage in the practice of serving the people instead of being self-serving and the moralization of public and political life. Beyond politics, our society also seriously suffers from the existential crisis of a number of our elites in the worlds of business, media, unions, NGOs, and civil society. 

It is time for the elites to undergo a serious internal reevaluation to contribute actively to a societal project worthy of the 21st century. We need to work on deficits of the heart, of logic, of intelligence, and of commonsense so as to remedy them. How do we lay down the foundations of a participative democracy to assemble progressive forces to build our future? Indeed, we are talking about a necessary cultural revolution to bring about a discourse-based democracy. 


The issues

The issues that follow are the challenges that need to be conquered. In the articles dedicated to each, we are going to analyze the issue to identify the positive initiatives and dynamics to reinforce, as well as consider the dangers and the limitations. The issues are as follows: development and the fight against inequalities; sustainable development; enriching ourselves with half the sky; the question of equality; the creation of a healthy system of production and consumption; succeeding in the digital transition; ethical standards and good governance; a living democracy strong of its rights and liberties; the optimization of our “ocean-state”; becoming a nation of “doers” and innovators; consolidating and deepening the ideas of living together; spatial planning of the country (including the coastline); a participative democracy propped up by its citizenry; our place in the world and an intelligent openness to it; education and knowledge economy; the development of human capital; the rebuilding of politics; the enshrinement of quality standards; leisure and quality of life; the new generation; art, culture, and creativity.

Throughout the three centuries of our history, we have forged our ‘build-together’ and ‘live-together’ which constitute the Mauritian DNA. Our history bears witness to our capacity to accept divergences, to search for the areas of convergence, to rule fairly between conflicting interests, to come up with a consensus. The stakes are high and come with a strict individual responsibility that excludes all ambient demagoguery and simplistic populism. This is ultimately about looking to the horizon to throw wide open the doors of possibilities. Let us open our minds to bring our contribution to advance development with a human dimension, a development that is healthy, humane, fair, and just.

-Malenn Oodiah

 

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