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AfricaMoney | September 22, 2017

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Mauritius joins hands with China for development of Smart Cities

Mauritius joins hands with China for development of Smart Cities

Mauritius’ Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo, had a technical meeting and working session with a high level delegation comprising officials from the People’s Republic of China and stakeholders in the Shanxi Jinfei Investment Co. Ltd,tofinalise details of a joint venture with ambitious plans for the development of Smart Cities in the island economy.

 Mauritius’ finance ministerVishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo met a high-level delegation from the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Shanxi Jinfei Investment Co to finalise details of a joint venture between the Government of Mauritius, the Mauritius Jinfei Trade and Cooperation Zone Co. Ltd and the Shanxi Jinfei Investment Co. Ltd.

This major breakthrough in economic cooperation between the two nations, encompassing development of Smart Cities, among other ambitions projects, has been made possible following many months of fruitful negotiations between the concerned parties.

In January 2015, following negotiations with the Jinfei Group, the Government of Mauritius, the Mauritius Jinfei Trade Cooperation Zone Co. Ltd, and the Shanxi Jinfei Investment Co. Ltd had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) over the Jinfei Zone at Riche Terre.

The MoU, which will 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, provides, amongst others, for, the transfer of 500 acres of land initially leased to the Jinfei group back to the Government of Mauritius.

It also covers the signing of a new lease agreement to an extent of 75 acres with the Jinfei group, on which they have already started the development and construction ofcertain buildings.

This will be a rental-free arrangement as a set-off against the investment of Rs 765 million made by Mauritius’ Jinfei in onsite infrastructure and for the provision of utilities such as water, electricity and internal roads network. Besides, a further allocation of 100 acres is being made to the Shanxi Investment Group to complete their Smart City project during Phase 2 of the new development project.

The agreement also covers the lease of the remaining 325 acres by the Government of Mauritius to private investors; and the setting up of 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 will act as a Management Company to attract developers to the Smart City, maintain and manage all onsite infrastructures.

The project at Riche Terre will also comprise port and logistics activities given the strategic location of the site. This project is in line with Government’s vision to modernise the port infrastructure and extend the port zone up north to Baie du Tombeau.

The Riche Terre siteis ideally located to accommodate dry port facilities, Freeport operations, and light industrial processing activities, for which expressions of interests have already been received from Mauritian companies to develop the Freeport warehousing infrastructure.

Finally, besides the joint venture between these three agencies, it is to be noted that the Bank of China will soon set up a branch in Mauritius, thus widening the scope of the financial services sector in the island economy.

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