GIS - 20 February, 2020: Three declarations of intent relating to the creation and organisation of the network of French studies in Mauritius, the new landing airstrip in Rodrigues, and the ocean economy were signed, this afternoon, at the Treasury building in Port Louis. The signing ceremony was held in the context of the visit of the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, in Mauritius.
The first declaration of intent, focusing on the creation of the French Studies Network in Mauritius, was signed between the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, and Minister Le Drian.
The second relates to the construction of the airstrip in Rodrigues. The signatories were the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy, and Minister Le Drian.
The third, focusing on ocean economy, was concluded between the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Koosiram Conhye, and the representative of the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), Mrs Gautier. The IRD is a public scientific and technological establishment based in France. Its objective is to implement a strategy geared towards sustainable development and to promote and develop cooperation and technical assistance between France and Mauritius in the field of the blue economy. Cooperation will cover research, training, expertise and scientific information activities.
In her address, the Deputy Prime Minister dwelt on the very strong and cordial ties between France and Mauritius. She expressed gratitude towards France for its support in the higher education sector adding that the creation of the French Studies Network in Mauritius will further increase the visibility of the country and transform Mauritius into a pole of excellence in higher education.
Minister Le Drian, for his part, recalled that France is the leading investor, customer and supplier of tourists to Mauritius. According to him, with the signing of the Declaration of Intent on the creation of the French Studies Network in Mauritius, relations between the two countries will take a new turn, in line with the objectives of the Mauritian Government to transform Mauritius into an education hub.
Courtesy call on the Prime Minister
Prior to the signing ceremony, Minister Le Drian met with the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs, and External Communications, and Minister for Rodrigues, Outer Islands and Territorial Integrity, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, at the Treasury Building in Port Louis.
In a statement after the meeting, the French Minister stressed that the discussions with the Prime Minister were cordial and focused on the opportunities for joint action in areas such as tertiary education, maritime safety, the economy and tourism, among others.
Programme of visit
The signing of these agreements lies in the context of Minister Le Drian's visit to Mauritius on 20 February 2020 which forms part of a trip in the Indian Ocean including Mauritius, Madagascar and Mozambique.
During his visit, he met Mauritian and French business leaders at the Residence of France in Floréal. Several agreements were signed, including a financing agreement for the regional coastal ecosystem resilience project with the Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Commission, Mr Hamada Madi Bolero; and a framework partnership agreement between the Secretariat General of the Africa-France 2020 Summit and Business Mauritius.
A meeting was also held at the Uniciti campus in Pierrefonds, with representatives of public and private Mauritian and French institutions offering French higher education courses in Mauritius, and students from these institutions.
This is the first official visit to Mauritius by a French Minister of Foreign Affairs since those of Mr Michel Debré in 1969 and Mr Alain Juppé in 1993.
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