While companies are usually in competition, in the Indian Ocean we are witnessing a completely different phenomenon. Indeed, clusters seem to have the motto “unity is strength”. Thus, alliances are created between private sector companies in order to reduce costs and improve the competitiveness of each sector.
Clusters: uniting companies in the Indian Ocean
These collaborative projects cover the Seychelles and Comoros archipelagos, but also Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar and Mayotte. The fields are diverse and varied, ranging from cosmetics to digital services and renewable energy. But in concrete terms, what is it all about?
What they represent in the corporate world
Going much further than cooperatives, these clusters are intended to represent “organized ecosystems that bring together various actors in the value chain of one or more activities”. This includes producers and distributors, as well as research and development organizations, financial services and other private and public entities.
Cutting through counterproductive competition
This way of working contrasts with the counterproductive competition. And this by stimulating entrepreneurship and promoting the emergence of start-ups. Moreover, this collaborative method facilitates exchanges in the Indian Ocean islands. Clusters also have an impact in terms of economic development on these territories through the creation of jobs in the private sector. In order to continue to develop this formula, UCCIOI is even considering recruiting and training.
Responding to local needs
However, not all Indian Ocean clusters are geared towards international trade. For example, in the Seychelles, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry is supporting an association of some fifteen women farmers in Mahé, involved in the production of fruit and vegetables, in order to meet local needs, in addition to the expensive imports that currently dominate the market.
“The next steps will consist precisely in training managers who will know how to share these tools for developing collective intelligence and supporting networking.
To illustrate the approach, the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the Indian Ocean cite the CHESE as an example. It is the Cluster of essential oils of the south-east of Madagascar which has made a place for itself internationally. The Comoros are also counting heavily on the Ylang sector because this working method seems to hold great promise.
Image credit: JDM