China grants Rs 250 million developmental loan to Mauritius
The Jin fei Economic Zone at Riche Terre in Mauritius (Source: business.mega.mu)
The Chinese government has extended an interest-free loan of RMB Yuan 50 million, (Rs 250 million), repayable over a period of four years, and a grant of RMB Yuan 1.05 million (Rs 5.25 million), to fund development projects in Mauritius.
The interest-free loan will be used partly to finance the Culture House project which will accommodate the National Archives and the National Library to be set up at the Jin fei Economic Zone at Riche Terre. Of the 172 hectares allocated to Chinese developers since 2006, only a few have been developed. Chinese developers Jin- Fei have been paying the Mauritian government an annual sum of Rs 9 million, or Rs 52,325 per hectare, in the form of leasing for the project, started in 2006, which was to serve as a springboard to make Mauritius an economic hub between the People’s Republic of China and Africa. Apart from a much-needed boost to the development of the economic zone, the loan will also aid the setting up of a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centre in Mahebourg.
The grant of Rs 5.25 million will be used for the supply of fifteen teachers from China to teach Mandarin to some 2,300 pupils in the primary schools in Mauritius. This is expected to promote student exchanges between Chinese and Mauritian schools.
The agreements were signed by the Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Xavier-Luc Duval, and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Peoples’ Republic of China, Li Li on September 12 in Port Louis.
Duval said that the agreements will further strengthen the friendly ties between Mauritius and China and enhance their economic and technical cooperation. Expressing gratitude towards the Chinese government for its continuous support to Mauritius, he declared that both countries will build on this foundation to achieve higher development goals. He elaborated on the existing and new modes of cooperation including a mutually beneficial transfer of capital, technology and business opportunities.
Regarding the grant, Duval stated that the provision of Mandarin teachers will further strengthen Sino-Mauritian cooperation. He stated that learning the Mandarin language has become important for the economic development of the country as more and more tourists are coming from China and Chinese are increasing using Mauritius as a springboard for investing in Africa. Strengthening Chinese and Mauritian bilateral ties would reinforce the role of Mauritius as a link between Asia and Africa.
Li Li in turn commended the bilateral cooperation since 1972, and the further strengthening of cooperation in cultural exchange, education and tourism. The agreements, he said, will bring a new dimension to the cooperation between China and Mauritius.
As an important economic hub between China and Africa in terms of facilitating investment flow into China and vice-versa, Mauritius has an important place in the eyes of the Chinese government. He added that the Chinese government was interested in helping Mauritius meet its infrastructure needs.
The Sino-Mauritian Cooperation has been in place for the past 41 years. In this period, Mauritius has obtained over Rs18 billion in the form of grants, interest-free and commercial loans from China. These have been used for financing critical infrastructure projects, such as the airport, roads, housing, closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and the sewerage system.
Source: Government of Mauritius, business.mega.mu