The People's Republic of China has granted an interest-free loan of RMB 50 million, approximately Rs 250 million to the Government of Mauritius and handed over a letter of exchange for technical cooperation with the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation.
Agreements to this effect were signed yesterday in Port Louis by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo, and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China in Mauritius, Mr Li Li. The funding will help support development projects in priority areas in Mauritius.
In his address at the signing ceremony, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Lutchmeenaraidoo underlined that the two agreements will further enhance friendly relations between Mauritius and China and will bring the economic and technical cooperation to new heights. According to him, both countries will build on this foundation to achieve higher development goals
Minister Lutchmeenaraidoo recalled that China remains a strategic partner to Mauritius for having always extended both technical and financial support for the economic development of the country. He recalled that Mauritius is being positioned as an important economic platform between China and Africa in terms of facilitating investment flow into China and vice-versa.
The Finance Minister further highlighted that China has expressed interest to support Mauritius in its new economic strategy aimed at instilling a new impetus to the economic activity namely: the Blue Economy, the Maritime Hub and economic integration within the region and Africa in addition to the Chinese investment in the Jinfei project in Riche Terre.
For his part, the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China, Mr Li Li, said that the agreements will give a new dimension to the existing cooperation between China and Mauritius. He reiterated the support of China in the economic development of Mauritius while helping the country achieve the second economic miracle.
Mr Li Li also spoke of the China-Africa forum held in Johannesburg in December 2015 whereby he added that China has demonstrated a keen interest to increase investment flows in Africa. He further announced the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of China to Mauritius in the first week of February which according to him is a step ahead into strengthening both bilateral relations and friendly ties between China and Mauritius.
It will be noted that official China-Mauritius cooperation dates back to 1972 and since Mauritius has obtained around Rs 20 billion in the form of grants, interest-free and concessional loans to implement key infrastructure projects, such as the new passenger terminal, the Victoria Hospital, roads, housing, closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera, the sewerage system, water sector, as well as the construction of the Bagatelle Dam.
In addition, the Government of China has donated 20 semi-low floor buses to Mauritius and has supported a wide range of training and capacity building opportunities in various fields where there is a scarcity of resources, namely: IT support, education (Mandarin teachers) and youth and sports.