Avinaash Munohur, a consultant with a consultancy firm specialising in political strategy and lobbying, is part of a commission set up by his party, the MMM, on sustainable development. They spoke to us in our magazine (Journal des Archipels March April 2022) about the Offshore Petroleum Bill, a government bill aimed at allowing oil exploration in Mauritian waters.
Here is the rest of his intervention.
JDA: Is it still relevant to talk about the political science theory of the resource curse?
MA: No! We tend to misunderstand the ecological issues if we take this point of view. Any productive system, any society that lives and is organised around production needs work and investment. As a result, man’s socialised relationship with nature will always be one of exploitation. From this point on, the question of natural resources poses a problem because we are in a world with finite natural resources and the economic trend of the current growth model is towards infinite growth. And the primary question of sustainability is precisely that: how to manage and regenerate resources in order to meet environmental challenges. That’s the cliché.
It is clear that the Offshore Petroleum Bill raises this question of governance, and allows us to question current practices in a concrete example. It is from this that we can say whether we are for or against because we can argue (or not) that governance in Mauritius does not allow us to do this in conditions that will be beneficial to the Mauritian people in conditions where the rent would really be used to invest in our social, educational and health systems and in our infrastructures. If we have a resource we must use it and know how to use it. It’s not just a question of resources but of management and rationality. Once again, the Norwegian model should be an inspiration for us from this point of view.
Avinaash Munohur, political scientist and young politician
Political scientist Avinaash Munohur is 38 years old and holds a doctorate in political science with a background in political philosophy. His doctoral thesis, defended in 2020, was on the subject of the Mauritian political system. Avinaash Munohur has been particularly interested in issues of political economy and how colonial histories lay the foundation for its economic infrastructure. He was a legislative candidate in 2019 and is a consultant with a Parisian consultancy firm, which has opened an office in Mauritius, specialising in political strategy and lobbying, particularly in the areas of energy, security, agribusiness and construction.