Bank of China mulls Mauritius branch; Jinfei Zone set to take off
Finance Minister Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo announced that the Bank of China has expressed interest in setting up a branch in Mauritius, which will be a welcome addition to the financial landscape of the island economy and bolster ties between the two countries, taken together with the MoU on the Jinfei economic zone at Riche Terre. (Image:ionnews.mu)
Mauritius’ minister of Finance and Economic development, Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo, announced last week that the Bank of China is considering setting up a branch in Mauritius.
He made this announcement during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) over the Jinfei Zone at Riche Terre, which is a special economic zone whose development has been pending since long.
Lutchmeenaraidoo lauded the People’s Republic of China’s intention to set up a Bank of China branch in the island economy. He noted that the branch will be a significant addition to the financial landscape of Mauritius as well as an important financial tunnel from China to Africa through Mauritius.
It is to be noted that the Bank of China is one of the five biggest state-owned commercial banks in China and is also China’s most international and diversified bank present in 37 countries.
Furthermore, it is to be recalled that the MoU on the Jinfei Zone at Riche Terre was signed by the government of Mauritius and the Mauritius Jinfei Trade and Cooperation Zone Co. Ltd and the Shanxi Jinfei Investment Co. Ltd in view of further consolidating bilateral relations between the two countries following negotiations with the Jinfei Group in January 2015.
The MoU is expected to pave the way for a more pragmatic approach to the development of the resources at the Jinfei Zone in Riche Terre to the mutual benefit and satisfaction of all parties. It also provides for the 500 hectares of land initially leased to the Jinfei group to be transferred back to the government of Mauritius, and finally, covers the signing a new lease agreement to an extent of 75 hectares with the Jinfei group, on which they have already started development and constructed some buildings, which will be a rent-free arrangement as a set off against the investment of Rs 765 million made by Mauritius Jinfei in on-site infrastructure and for the provision of utilities such as water, electricity and internal roads network.
In Phase 2 of the new development project, a further 100 hectares will be allocated to the Shanxi Investment Group to complete their Smart City project and the remaining 325 hectares will be leased by the government of Mauritius to private investors and towards setting up a joint-venture company with the government of Mauritius holding 80% of the shares and the Shanxi Investment Group 20%.
The company will design and develop a Master Plan for a Smart City Project at Riche Terre and act as a Management Company to attract developers, maintain and manage all onsite infrastructures at the Smart City.
The project at Riche Terre will also comprise port and logistics activities given the strategic location of the site in line with the government’s vision to modernise the port infrastructure and extend the port zone up north to Baie du Tombeau.