By Mike Cohen/ Bloomberg
Cape Town: Mauritius will sell bonds to help fund part of a 4 billion euro ($5.41 billion, Rs22,088 crore) investment program over the next decade that aims to lift economic growth to 7%, deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Ramakrishna Sithanen said.
About half the program will be funded domestically and the rest will be raised abroad, Sithanen told reporters in Shanghai on 16 May, where he is attending the annual general meeting of the African Development Bank.
Some of the money “will have to come from our capacity to mobilize domestic resources” and from international donors, he said. “What is missing will have to come from the market. The less we borrow from the market, the better it is in terms of debt sustainability. We don’t have a concrete timetable” for bond sales.
Mauritius’ economy grew 4.7% last year, from 2.3% in 2005, the statistics office said on 8 January. The new investment program aims to modernize the island nation’s clothing and textiles industries, which face increased competition from China and India, and its sugar industry, which is losing preferential access to European markets.
The African Development Bank, a Tunis-based lender, said on 17 May it would lend Mauritius $30 million to help offset the effects of lower sugar and textile revenue and record high oil prices.
Later this week, Sithanen will sign an accord that will facilitate Shanxi Tianli Enterprises Ltd, a Chinese company with interests in real estate, investing about $500 million in the establishment of an industrial zone in Mauritius.
More than 40 Chinese companies plan to set up operations in the zone, to be situated in the Mauritian capital of Port Louis, which is due for completion in 2012. “It is the biggest investment that Mauritius has ever known,” Sithanen said. “It is starting this year.”