Second chance for Mauritius’ Jin Fei economic zone?
Once flagging, interest in the Jin Fei economic zone seems to have revived with a delegation of Chinese entrepreneurs visiting the island economy to explore investment opportunities in the ill-fated project. (Image: JICA Research Institute)
Almost given up for the dead, interest in the Jin Fei economic zone has been revived once again with a delegation of Chinese entrepreneurs visiting the island economy to explore investment opportunities in the ill-fated project.
This follows September’s meeting of the deputy governor of the Chinese province of Shanxi, Wang Yixin, with the Vice Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Mauritius, Xavier-Luc Duval.
Hotels, offices, and a light engineering factory were planned to be built on the huge parcel of land outlined for the economic zone, as these assets are considered most productive and have the maximum employment generation potential.
The Jin Fei project started when the Chinese ‘Going Global’ strategy was set up. In 2006, the Chinese government announced that economic and trade cooperation zones should be established in six African countries including Mauritius.
The economic zone is situated in the region of Riche Terre and covers 362 hectares of land. The investment promised for this project was USD 1 billion but nothing has been done till date except by Mauritius which invested in clearing the land and building the road, water and electricity infrastructure.
In 2012, the Mauritian government set up a committee to identify solutions and facilitate the progress of the project. Once implemented, the project is expected to stimulate trade between China and Africa, focus the attention of Chinese firms towards Mauritius, and, finally, to smoothen the setting up of capacity building initiatives for Africa.
To fast track the project, Duval, together with other concerned ministers as well as developers at Jin Fei, harbour authorities and the tourist information office, is planning to hold meetings over its implementation.
Two warehouses for the processing of re-exported products are already set up at Jin Fei. In 2014, a complex of offices and a residential complex will be inaugurated. Besides, Chinese conglomerate Cin Jin has a development project on 71 hectares in the same zone.