GIS – 02 May, 2019: An Agreement on “Support Mauritius’ development and youth employability through post-secondary education and innovation initiatives”, a Funding Support programme of the European Union (EU) to the tune of Rs 300 M, was signed this morning at the New Treasury Building in Port-Louis. Signatories were the Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, and the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Mr Neven Mimica.
The Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Nandcoomar Bodha, and the Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation to Mauritius, Mrs Marjaana Sall, were also present.
In a statement, Prime Minister Jugnauth underlined that the official visit of EU Commissioner Mimica bears testimony to the strength of the excellent relations that Mauritius and EU share. The signing of the Agreement, he said, embodies our multidimensional partnership that is anchored in fundamental values of democracy and good governance, human rights and the rule of law.
The Prime Minister expressed gratitude to the EU for its positive contribution which will considerably help to achieve the vision of transforming Mauritius into an innovative knowledge hub. Along with the reforms that have already been engaged in the education sector, the Agreement will also contribute in enhancing post-secondary education in particular at the technical level, he emphasised.
On that score, Prime Minister Jugnauth reiterated Government’s recognition of the critical importance of human capital as well as its aim of providing the young generation with the means to enhance their employability and unlock their full innovative potential and creative energy.
The Mauritius-EU partnership, the Prime Minister recalled, covers a wide range of areas including trade, climate change, capacity building, gender equality, agriculture, fisheries and ICT. In view of further strengthening this long-standing partnership, Mauritius is actively engaged in two sets of important negotiations with the EU, he pointed out.
Mauritius, Prime Minister Jugnauth indicated, has taken the lead in the negotiations between the Eastern and Southern African region and the EU for deepening the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) into a comprehensive one, and is also actively involved with the negotiations between the ACP Group and the EU for the Post-Cotonou Agreement which will lapse in 2020.
In addition, the Prime Minister said that Mauritius is keen to build a strong synergy with EU in Africa and recalled that the ‘Africa-Europe Alliance for sustainable Investment and Jobs’, launched in 2018, contains complementarities with Mauritius’ own Africa strategy, which can be leveraged for joint investment actions on the Continent.
As for EU Commissioner Mimica, he underscored both parties’ longstanding and solid partnership that is essentially based on shared values and is forward-looking. The EU, he remarked, has for long supported Mauritius in its socio-economic development. The signing of the present Agreement, he further observed, which is aimed at supporting youth development and employment in Mauritius, forms part of the vibrant partnership covering a large number of areas including maritime security, trade and investment, human rights and gender equality.
Today’s generation, stated Mr Mimica, needs to be provided with the necessary education, training and skills to reach the labour market since it will be tomorrow’s workforce. According to him, investing in education is crucial as it will enable the young generation to take control of their life and to be equipped to contribute to a more prosperous and inclusive society.
Fundamentally, Mr Mimica pointed out, the EU Funding Support programme is another important step in putting our alliance into action by addressing the skill mismatch in Mauritius. It will also help Mauritius enhance its education and training sector while promoting research and innovation which will unlock future growth and create sustainable jobs, he added.
EU Commissioner Mimica also commended the Mauritian Government on the impressive growth and progress made in the country over the past few years and lauded its firm commitment to the EU for the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. On that note, he reiterated the support of EU as a reliable and responsible partner to Mauritius. The EU will continue to be an ally to the country on its journey to a more modern, prosperous and innovative society, he emphasised.
It is recalled that the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Mr Neven Mimica, is on an official visit to Mauritius to discuss about the future relations between the EU and 79 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Mr Mimica is the EU Chief Negotiator for the negotiations of the Post-Cotonou framework (the Cotonou Agreement currently governing EU-ACP relations is due to expire in 2020).
Under all its programmes, EU’s support to Mauritius totals 50 million euros. The EU also has a longstanding partnership with the Indian Ocean Commission, and funds more than 80% of the organisation's portfolio of programmes.
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