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François Hollande to discuss illegal immigration, development in Mayotte

media French President François Hollande on a three-day visit to the Indian Ocean. REUTERS/Laurent Capmas (REUNION - Tags: POLITICS)

French President François Hollande arrived in Mayotte on Friday as part of his tour of the Indian Ocean to encourage development on the Island that became a French department just over three years ago.

“What matters now is to go beyond departmentalisation and to ensure that economic development of this part of our territory,” said Hollande. “Because here we are in France, and it is vital that we give all of the conditions of success.”

The French leader also specified government efforts over the past two years aimed at improving the lives of people in Mayotte.

“There are still some significant investments needed especially in terms of training and education because the population is still very young,” Hollande said. “You cannot leave a population to grow at this pace without securing the conditions for development and success.”

This will include a new airport to be inaugurated by Hollande.

Illegal immigration is also a major problem in Mayotte, with up to 40 per cent of the population believed to be unauthorised.

Last year, 476 boats packed with illegal immigrants were intercepted along the 70 kilometres of inlets between Comoros and Mayotte.

Hollande would like to develop regional cooperation in a bid to resolve this issue.

On Saturday, Hollande will join other heads of state at the 4th Summit of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) in the city of Moroni.

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