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USTDA PROMOTES DEVELOPMENT OF LAND-BASED OCEAN INDUSTRY IN MAURITIUS

PORT LOUIS, MAURITIUS (September 28, 2007) – Supporting efforts to diversify the economy of Mauritius through the development of a robust and sustainable land-based ocean industry (LBOI) is the focus of a USTDA grant to the Board of Investment (BOI) of Mauritius. The USTDA grant will be used to provide technical assistance in the establishment of an appropriate LBOI regulatory framework and an action plan for downstream applications for the deep sea water resource.

A ceremony to announce the $375,000 technical assistance program was held in Port Louis. The Honorable Cesar Cabrera, U.S. Ambassador to Mauritius, and The Honorable Ramakrishna Sithanen, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Mauritius, signed the grant agreement on behalf of USTDA and the Mauritian governments, respectively.

The Government of Mauritius has prioritized the diversification of the country's economy, which is currently dependent on textiles, sugar and tourism. The development of an LBOI in Mauritius has been proposed as a means of furthering this objective. LBOI involves drawing up large quantities of sea water from great depths to be used for a number of land-based applications, either in its original condition or after desalination. The rationale for exploiting the deep sea water around Mauritius lies in the exceptional properties of the water. It is highly pure, free of pollutants and pathogens, rich in important minerals and very cold. Potential downstream applications for the water include bottled water and aquaculture.

The USTDA grant will support the emergence of an LBOI in Mauritius by assisting the government in establishing the necessary regulatory framework for the private sector to operate. Moreover, the grant will fund the development of an action plan that will address infrastructure issues that could otherwise serve as a constraint on the development of an LBOI in Mauritius.

The opportunity to provide technical assistance to the BOI under the grant awarded today will be competed on the Federal Business Opportunities website at www.fbo.gov. Interested U.S. firms should submit proposals according to the instructions contained in the Federal Business Opportunities announcement. The BOI will select the U.S. contractor that will conduct the technical assistance program.

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries. The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, early investment analysis, training, reverse trade missions and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair, open trading environment. USTDA's strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development. In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.

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