A half-day seminar on the theme “The role of Mauritius in linking Africa and Asia” was held today at the Ebène branch of the University of Mauritius in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo. The Minister of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment, Mr Alain Wong, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Mauritius, Mr Sun Gongyi, and other personalities were also present on the occasion.
Organised by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in collaboration with the University of Mauritius, the seminar aimed at providing a platform for the holding of panel discussions. Speakers from the University of Mauritius, the Economic Development Board, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Bank of China (Mauritius) Ltd, and Business Mauritius addressed the participants. Their interventions were followed by a question and answer session.
In his address, Minister Lutchmeenaraidoo highlighted that, since Africa is a vital continent with some 30% of global natural resources and has the youngest population around the globe, Mauritius can serve as a link between Africa and Asia, and as a lighthouse for the region. He underscored that India and China have a major role to play in the future.
He underscored that Mauritius, in a bid to link Africa and Asia, needs to sign several free trade agreements. The country, he stated, is already a stakeholder in the African Continental Free Trade Area and agreements are already being prepared with some 12 African countries for bilateral cooperation. Furthermore, the Mauritian financial sector can be a significant focal point for massive foreign investment on the African continent, he added.
For his part, Ambassador Gongyi underlined that 2018 is a historical year for bilateral relations between Mauritius and China, following the friendship visit of the Chinese President, Mr Xi Jinping, to Mauritius as well as the participation of the Mauritian Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, in the 3rd Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit.
Mauritius, he observed, whether through bilateral cooperation with China, multilateral cooperation under FOCAC, or tripartite cooperation, has the required potential and assets to play an active role in the implementation of the eight major initiatives enunciated in the FOCAC summit. China will earmark some USD 60 billion in view of supporting the African continent to implement the eight initiatives, he added.
Source: Government of Mauritius