The Japanese government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), together with the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), have provided a development assistance loan of $289 million to Mauritius.
The loan provided under the AfDB’s Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa (EPSA), is to help the government of Mauritius contain the Covid-19 pandemic, secure livelihoods, and boost the resilience of the economy.
Senior Vice President of JICA, Toshiyuki Nakamura, commended the efforts of the government of Mauritius to overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and hoped that “this new co-financing program with the African Development Bank will provide new leverage to strengthen such efforts.”
In May 2020, the Bank approved the Mauritius COVID-19 Crisis Response Budget Support Program of €188 million ($227 million) as part of its COVID-19 Response Facility to assist its regional member states in mitigating the multifaceted impacts of the pandemic.
Mauritius’ response to contain the pandemic has been successful. As at 24 February 2021 Mauritius had recorded 610 COVID-19 infections – one of the lowest on the continent- with 10 deaths and 571 recoveries.
However, the country’s economy has been severely hit by the global consequences of the pandemic, impacting its traditional economic pillars such as tourism, foreign direct investment and exports.
The Bank’s forecast anticipates that the country’s real GDP contracted 15% in 2020 – the worst economic performance since 1980 – against a 3.9% growth in 2019.
ESPA is a parallel co-financing agreement between JICA and the AfDB to spur private sector-led sustainable and inclusive growth in Africa. A total commitment of $3.5 billion is targeted under the current EPSA4 over the period 2020 to 2022, with each of the partners co-financing up to $1.75 billion.