The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide a EUR 15m loan to Omnicane to construct two sugar refineries in Mauritius as part of the European Union’s wider support of reform in the Mauritius sugar industry. The funding for Omnicane will also improve sugar storage and handling facilities, and extend an existing mill. The EIB’s support follows a EUR 13m loan made in August 2009 to FUEL Sugar Milling Company Ltd. Both loans will benefit from an interest subsidy from the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).

The Mauritius Sugar Reform Project is the first EIB funded initiative that implements the 2006 Port Moresby Declaration in which EU member states agreed to mobilise through the EIB up to EUR 100m in the form of interest rate subsidies to help ACP sugar producing countries’ industries adapt following gradual sugar price reduction across European markets. The investment is part of a wider adaptation strategy developed for the Mauritian sugar sector by both industry and government to ensure the long term viability of the sector.

“The European Investment Bank is pleased to work closely with Omnicane and FUEL in developing these modern facilities and helping to improve the global competitiveness of the Mauritian sugar industry. This is the first project that implements the Port Moresby Declaration and is yet another example of successful cooperation between the EIB and the European Commission supporting EU policies.” said Plutarchos Sakellaris, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for Africa.

"The European Union has been supporting the sugar sector reform in Mauritius since 2006. In this context EUR 135m of grant funds have been allocated for the period 2006-2010 to be disbursed as budget support to the Government of Mauritius. The objective of this financial assistance is to contribute to ensuring the commercial viability and sustainability of the sugar sector for it to continue fulfilling its multifunctional role in the Mauritian economy as well as to increase the country's economic competitiveness. The EIB's intervention greatly contributes to achieving this objective." said Ambassador Alessandro Mariani, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Mauritius.

Support provided to Omnicane and FUEL will create some 70 new jobs, in addition to the employment of  500 existing workers. Refined sugar produced by the two companies will be sold to German company Südzucker, world market leader in the sugar sector, under a long-term agreement.

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Notes for Editors:

  • The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending bank of the European Union. The EIB is active in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) under the Cotonou partnership agreement.
  • The European Investment Bank has provided EUR 81m for projects in Mauritius between 2004-2009.
  • Mauritius’ main trading partners are the U.K. and France, which together account for 43% of its exports (sugar and textiles). The EU as a whole absorbs 67% of Mauritius’ exports.
  • Mauritius accounts for over 25 % of the EU sugar imports.