Philippe Germain and Charlot Salwai, Prime Minister of Vanuatu, signed a convention on Monday, March 19, to finance the first installment of the work of the future bilingual National University in Port Vila. This is an opportunity to highlight the good health of the cooperation that unites the two countries, particularly since 2015.
Thursday, March 1, Philippe Germain and Philippe Renault, director of the French Development Agency (AFD) in Nouméa, signed a financing agreement for the construction of the National Bilingual University of Vanuatu, by which the AFD granted 83, 5 million francs to New Caledonia. Monday, March 19, eighteen days later, the signing of an agreement by President Germain and the Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai - in the presence of Jean-Pierre Nirua and Hélène Iékawé, their Ministers of Education - concretizes the transfer of these funds (and those of New Caledonia on own funds) to Vanuatu (read details below).
"This agreement will build the premises that will prefigure a university in which students will receive education in French and English," said the president of the Government of New Caledonia. It is a concrete illustration of the cooperation that has existed between our two countries since 2015, in two areas that are essential for Pacific youth, education and the Francophonie, which is the hallmark of Charlot Salwai's government. "
A quarter of the budget of the Republic of Vanuatu is indeed devoted to education, as recalled by the Prime Minister. For many years, the country was planning to create its own national university, in order to limit the flight of its elites. Mission accomplished by 2020. "Vanuatu is today embarking on an ambitious path: the emancipation and development of our youth. Let's give him the opportunity today to measure himself intellectually with Melanesian, Polynesian, Micronesian and even Australian and New Zealand cousins. For that, we are lucky to be accompanied by our New Caledonian friends who, through this convention, show us once again that we can count on their unfailing support. "
The Republic of Vanuatu is indeed the first partner of New Caledonia in terms of regional cooperation. The various actions are part of a cooperation agreement concluded in 2002 between the two neighbors and France, and always renewed since then. This cooperation has been strengthened, in accordance with the joint will of the two governments, by the signing, in March 2017, of a "joint cooperation framework" which lays the foundations for a genuine partnership between the two countries in a dozen countries. activity area.
Slag exported to Vanuatu
The last joint committee, the deliberative body that ratifies the annual cooperation program, was held in Port Vila on 17 July 2017. For the second consecutive year, the priority actions concerned the sectors of training, education, Francophonie, higher education and research. But between the two neighbors and cousins, the axes of cooperation - bilateral or regional - are multiple: economic, scientific, cultural, health, sports, etc. "We share with Vanuatu different ambitions, continues Philippe Germain. In terms of fishing, management of marine protected areas, air services or airport infrastructure. The latest example is SLN's sale of slag in Vanuatu for the modernization of the road network. "It responds to the desire of the Vanuatu government to preserve its sand resource and offers us the opportunity to export a product that until now was not valued outside.