Day after COP28, France, through Agence Française de Développement (AFD) signed four framework agreements with the Government of Mauritius and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) were signed, on Friday afternoon, at Le Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel, Caudan, in Port Louis.
The Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy; the Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and French Nationals Abroad, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Olivier Becht; the Director Three Oceans, Mr Charles Trottmann; the Director-General of the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA), Mr Sudhamo Lal; and other eminent personalities were present.
The agreements pertain to a first-of-its-kind public policy loan in the water sector, amounting to €200 million; a loan-related technical assistance worth €1,520,000; and a FEXTE (Fonds d’EXpertise Technique et d’Echanges d’expériences) in the waste management and circular economy sector worth €500,000. Furthermore, a Letter of Intent between the Deputy Director-General of Customs and Indirect Duties of Reunion Island and the Director-General of the MRA was signed as regards more exchange of information, joint controls and trainings in the fight against traffics between the two countries.
In his address, Dr Padayachy stated that a new milestone in the cooperation between Mauritius and France has been reached with the signing of the four agreements. He recalled that both countries share the same values such as social inclusion and ecological transition.
The Government of Mauritius has thus positioned the water sector as one of the priority areas of its sustainable development trajectory, taking into account the diversity of related issues namely adaptation/mitigation, biodiversity preservation, and social inclusion, he underpinned. According to him, water can become a key element in the sustainable development of the country.
As regards the €200 million public policy loan, accompanied by the €1,520,000 grant, Dr Padayachy highlighted that it aims to improve access to drinking water and sanitation for the population of Mauritius and Rodrigues. He affirmed that the project will align water policy with the Sustainable Development Goals, better integrate the challenges of climate change and biodiversity, and implement gender-sensitive, inclusive budgeting. This support is co-constructed between the counterparts using a global approach that combines sectoral public policy budget financing, public policy dialogue and technical assistance, he added.
He also dwelt on the FEXTE signed today and stated that it will directly benefit the Solid Waste Management Division (SWMD) of the Ministry of Environment, Waste Management and Climate Change. Through the mobilisation of ADEME Réunion’s expertise, this multi-partner project aims to support the Ministry’s capacity building in waste management, to perpetuate the AFD-SWMD partnership initiated since 2017, and to strengthen regional cooperation between the “sister islands”, he added.
For his part, Mr Olivier Becht underlined that both Mauritius and France share linguistic, cultural and educational ties and are engaged in promoting environmental issues and the well-being of its citizens.
He emphasised that the public policy loan in the water sector aims to ensure uninterrupted service to the population by increasing production and storage capacities, reducing technical and commercial losses, and improving the sanitation connection rate.
Through comprehensive, secure, sustainable and resilient coverage of access to basic drinking water and sanitation services, the programme will improve the living and health conditions of the country’s 1,300,000 inhabitants, establish integrated water resource management and strengthen the protection of biodiversity, he said. He also highlighted that it will reduce territorial disparities between Mauritius and Rodrigues in terms of access to basic services.
As for Mr Trottmann, he stated that France is a long-standing partner of Mauritius in the water sector. For more than 40 years, AFD has financed infrastructure projects such as the construction of reservoirs, water treatment plants, and irrigation systems, and contributed its expertise to co-construct solutions aimed at providing the population with widespread access to water and sanitation. This new financing testifies to our confidence in the France-Mauritius partnership and our shared determination to continue the work we have begun for the benefit of the local population, he added.