- 08 November, 2016: The People’s Republic of China has written off Mauritius' debts amounting to Rs 450 million in view of cementing the concrete friendly relations of cooperation between the two countries.
This was announced by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Jugnauth, yesterday during a press conference in Port Louis regarding his recent mission to China in the context of the 10th Sino-Mauritius Joint Economic Commission held in Beijing.
Minister Pravind Jugnauth welcomed this gesture on behalf of the Chinese Government which he said has come at an opportune time where Mauritius is bringing down its public debt as announced in Budget 2016-2017.
He further spoke of the positive outcomes of his visit which has culminated into fruitful realisations in view of strengthening both bilateral and economic ties between the two countries. They are namely:
· financing by the Chinese Government of a multi-purpose sports complex of Olympic standard at Saint Pierre including a swimming pool of international norm and a stadium to the tune of Rs 1.9 billion in the form of grants and interest-free loan on a Government to Government agreement in the context of the forthcoming 2019 Indian Ocean Island Games to be held in Mauritius;
· donation of a fleet of 30 semi-floor buses by the Chinese Government;
· signing of two Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) pertaining to a joint feasibility study on the Mauritius-China Free Trade Agreement to boost trade and investment; and an MoU with regards reinforcing investment in the Ocean Economy sector respectively;
· setting up of a fishing port by the Chinese society LHF Marine Development Limited at Bain des Dames. The project will comprise of a dock for berthing of fishing boats and a fish market;
· provision of technical expertise by China in the Agricultural sector to encourage bio-farming; and
· the desalination of seawater project among others.
The Joint Economic Commission also evoked the reinforcing of the triangular cooperation involving China-Mauritius-Africa to attract more investors to use Mauritius as platform to tap the African continent and vice versa. Mauritius further solicited Chinese assistance to set up a Currency Swap Mechanism and a RMB Clearance Center under the Africa Strategy to boost the Financial Services sector. Discussions also focused on how Mauritius can benefit from the US $60 billion provided by China for development in Africa under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
During his visit, the Finance Minister met several Ministers with whom he discussed about strengthening commercial exchanges between Mauritius and China as well as the technical and financial assistance provided so far by the Chinese Government for various infrastructure projects in addition to boosting exports to China.
Were also on the agenda, various meetings with funding agencies in China such as the Bank of China and the China-Africa Development Fund who have expressed interest in supporting Mauritius in its initiative of becoming a Financial Hub in the region and also in providing funds for the Small and Medium Enterprises.
Meetings were scheduled with captains of the Chinese business community during a Business Forum organised by the Board of Investment jointly with the China-Africa Development Fund in a bid to consolidate trade relations between the two countries while extending collaboration in various sectors of business. Some 150 high-profile Chinese investors attended the forum and have demonstrated keen interest to invest in Mauritius and use the country as a stepping-stone to access Africa.
Minister Pravind Jugnauth met representatives of business conglomerates such as the Jinfei Group to discuss about the development progress with regards the projects to be undertaken. The Tianli Spinning Company Ltd which is already operating in Mauritius, have expressed interest to extend its activities from the production of some 50 000 yarns to 80 000 yarns thus creating some 150 job opportunities, he concluded.