Mauritius has received a loan of 300 million Euros from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) to help the country strengthen its capacity for the reduction and management of risks of natural and health disasters.
The signature ceremony was held yesterday in Port-Louis, in presence of the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy, the Director of the AFD, Mr André Pouillès-Duplaix, and the Ambassador of France in Mauritius, Mr Emmanuel Cohet.
The loan, at an interest rate of 1.12%, for a duration of 20 years and moratorium of 10 years, is composed of two parts. Namely a sum of EUR 300 million disbursed for four priority actions, focusing on health and social measures, enhancing capacity building for planning, and strengthening long-term resilience. It will be used for budgetary expenditure for the financial year 2020/2021.
The second component consists of a direct technical assistance program of EUR 1.5 million and several other support measures, which aim to assist the country in the implementation of the four priority actions.
In his address, Minister Renganaden Padayachy expressed gratitude to the AFD and the Government of France for its unwavering support to help advance the development projects of the country. He underscored France's continued support to help Mauritius accelerate its transition to a more just and sustainable world.
He added that this partnership marks a new stage of cooperation between Mauritius and France, which is anchored in a lasting and solid collaboration, while emphasising that the financial assistance will undoubtedly strengthen our capacity to manage and reduce the risks associated with natural and health disasters.
On that score, Dr Renganaden Padayachy pointed out that AFD's loan will be used to finance projects with high social and environmental impacts, particularly relating to Climate, biodiversity, inclusion, training and urban planning.
The Minister also underlined that sustainability is at the core of Government's agenda, and that AFD is supporting Mauritius to implement its concept of sustainable development through the economic, social and environmental sectors.
Dr Renganaden Padayachy also announced that his Ministry is currently in discussion with the AFD regarding the financing of the new Plaine Corail airstrip in Rodrigues, which aims to improve the connectivity and attractiveness of Rodrigues.
As for Mr Emmanuel Cohet , he stressed that the financial assistance illustrates the support that France wants to provide to Mauritius in the wake of the unprecedented challenges that Mauritius is facing following the Covid -19 crisis.
Mauritius and France have always worked together as partners in a very strong relationship of friendship and mutual trust and through this initiative, France renews its commitment to support its Mauritian partner, he stated.
The French Ambassador pointed out that this loan is the highest amount that France has made through AFD in the 115 countries where the institution is intervening to deal with the Covid-19 crisis.
Furthermore, he recalled that France, through AFD, provides multiple support to Mauritius in particular for the development of renewable energies, climate change and the prevention of health risks and natural disasters.
For his part, the Director of AFD, Mr. André Pouillès-Duplaix, underlined that the loan is proof of the solidarity shown by France towards Mauritius in this time of crisis. This will help the Mauritian government to respond to the health, economic, social and fiscal emergencies caused by the pandemic, and also to strengthen the capacities of the authorities in the field of natural disaster risk prevention and health and adaptation to climate change, he said.
He lauded the bold measures taken by the government at the very start of the crisis, in favour of the population and the most vulnerable, which helped to alleviate the economic crisis and the health crisis and undoubtedly avoid a social crisis.
Mr. André Pouillès-Duplaix also highlighted the solid cooperation of Mauritius and France, while reiterating the willingness of France to support Mauritius in its development projects.