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Russia Has Become 'Very Important Partner' in New Conditions, Mauritius Ambassador Says

© AFP 2023 ALEXEI DRUZHININRussian President Vladimir Putin meets with acting President of Mauritius Barlen Vyapoory on the sidelines of the 2019 Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi on October 24, 2019
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with acting President of Mauritius Barlen Vyapoory on the sidelines of the 2019 Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi on October 24, 2019 - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 08.04.2023
Mauritian Ambassador to Russia Kheswar Jankee took part in the African International Congress (AIC) held in Moscow from April 5 to 6, during which he shared his views on how Africa should react to shifts in the global economic structure and called for the establishment of "a new world order".
Russia has become an important "player" for Mauritius amid the changing international environment, Ambassador of the Republic of Mauritius to Russia Kheswar Jankee told Sputnik.
He added that both countries have concluded a number of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) in areas including education, military, and fishing.

"With lots of changes at the international level […] and with the diversification of the economy of Mauritius, I think Russia has become a very important player, an important partner for Mauritius [...]. I have signed a lot of MoUs and we are finalizing a number of MoUs with the Russian Federation," Jankee stated.

Similarly, Mauritius has "lots of opportunities" for Russia, the ambassador said, outlining the most prospective areas for cooperation.

"I have already requested some shipping companies to go to Mauritius […] In the fishing industry, for example, we have already signed a MoU [memorandum of understanding], I think it is going to Mauritius to develop the shipping, or how we call it 'the blue economy'," Jankee mentioned.

Furthermore, Mauritius is interested in Russia's expertise in constructing tourist and transport infrastructure, the ambassador explained, praising the quality of buildings, bridges and roads in Russia. Jankee invited Russian investors to take part in infrastructure projects, invest in hotels and smart cities in his country.
Jankee also mentioned that he had invited Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin to the African island nation so that he could see the opportunities the country has for Russian investors, adding that bilateral relations have to be maintained.

"The two countries should follow through at the high level, at the prime minister's level […] I keep requesting that the prime minister and his delegation visit [us]," Jankee said, adding that he believes there will be "some chemistry" between Russia and Mauritius when this visit takes place.

As for trade relations, Mauritius is interested in Russian fertilizers as well as in fish products and beef, while the latter imports sugar, tuna and many other products, said Jankee.
Moreover, the African country is also interested in importing Russian petrol and petroleum products, including jet fuel.
The ambassador also mentioned that Mauritius expects direct flights from Russia will be launched within a few months. In this regard, the African nation is currently working with Russian Aeroflot airlines, adding that the relevant work has been underway since January 2022.

He specified that an additional route, Mauritius – Seychelles – Russia, is also being worked out with the Russian flag carrier and a relevant request has been sent to the Republic of Seychelles.
He also stated that the African nation is now working to ensure the island-state can accept Russian "MIR" banking cards, so that the stay of Russian tourists in the country is more comfortable.
Speaking about the upcoming Russia-Africa Summit to be held this summer in St. Petersburg, the ambassador named the main topics for discussion, including defense. Mauritius recently signed an agreement with the Russian Ministry of Defense regarding assistance in ensuring maritime security in the region. He noted that the agreement can also contribute to the modernization of the army and police, as well as in the fight against drug trafficking.
Moreover, he also noted that the countries will discuss the development of training programs in several areas, including technologies and communication systems that could help in detecting cyclones.
Recently, Mauritius has become one of the African nations that suffered from cyclone Freddy's drastic consequences. According to Jankee, the island nation has a very powerful electrical system and the government provides a lot of means to fight the cyclones' impact.
The ambassador likewise highlighted education as one of the crucial spheres of cooperation between Russia and Mauritius.
He stressed that the USSR was one of the first countries to establish official relations with Mauritius – only two weeks after it had gained independence – noting that many Mauritians studied in the USSR, and then in Russia, receiving scholarships, studying engineering, medicine and other specialties.
According to the ambassador, Russian universities are interested in holding an exchange of students and teaching staff, training and even the development of courses. He also noted that Russia generously provided scholarships to Mauritius.
Earlier, Russia's Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education Natalia Bocharova said that from next year the number of preferential places in Russian universities for students from Africa will almost double.
At a press conference in Angola during his African tour, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov outlined that the humanitarian sphere is of the utmost importance in relations between Russia and African nations.
"We positively assessed cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, especially in education. There is a high interest in the Russian language in Angola. In this regard, we have increased the quota from 150 scholarships this academic year to 300 next," he said.
During Lavrov's visit to Eswatini, the country's Foreign Minister Thuli Dladla announced that the two countries are also deepening ties in the educational field, as Russia has agreed to increase the annual number of scholarships it awards Eswatinian students to 25 from 10.