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Signing of the Mahe Sustainable Water augmentation Project ADB loan Agreement and MIC-TAF Grant Letter of Agreement

May 29, 2015

In the margins of the 50th Anniversary and Annual Meetings of the AfDB held in Abidjan, Jean-Paul Adam, Minister of Finance, Trade and the Blue Economy and Honourable Aly Abou-Sabaa, Vice-President of Operations of the African Development Bank (ADB) signed the Loan Agreement (USD 20.6m) and grant component (USD 1.4m) from the ‘Middle Income Country – Technical Assistance Fund’s (MIC-TAF) Letters of Agreement for the ‘Mahe Sustainable Water Augmentation Project’ on 27th May at Sofitel Hotel, Abidjan.

At the same function the Minister for Finance, Trade and Blue Economy signed another grant agreement from the Africa Water Facility (AWF) of the African Development Bank for an amount of 1,0731Million Euros with Mr. Mohamed El Azizi, Director of the Water and Sanitation Department.

The first project was approved by the Bank’s Board of Directors on 1st April 2015.

Minister Adam highlighted that the finalisation of these projects represent the strength of the partnership between Seychelles and the ADB with regards to sustainable development. He noted that while the challenge for sustainable water investments was a global one- SIDS such as Seychelles faced the most risk in relation to disruption of water resources due to climate change. He emphasised the importance of these projects as part of Seychelles’ integrated water strategy.

The project outputs include raising the height of the La Gogue Dam embankment by six (6) metres; constructing a new water treatment plant downstream of the dam; enhancing the Public Utilities Corporation’s capacity to execute the project through recruitment of experienced dam engineering supervision consultancy firm and project management technical assistants (TAs) to ensure the design, formulation and implementation of a viable project. These investments through the ADB facility will also complement investments already being undertaken by the Government and PUC in desalination plants as well as enhancing the network of water pipes around the islands.

The second MIC-TAF project aims to prepare/conduct a comprehensive study on the groundwater and small/medium scale storage potential on the islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.

Both projects are anchored in the country’s ‘Medium Term National Development Strategy 2013-2017’ whose focus is to fulfil the following three development goals: strengthening the foundations of economic growth; improving the quality of life; and ensuring environmental sustainability.

In addition, the project seeks to fulfil the country’s targets as set out in the Seychelles Water Development Plan 2008–2030 supported by the African Water Facility (AWF).

The Bank’s intervention in Seychelles is anchored in component 1 of the adjusted Country Strategy Paper (CSP) of Seychelles 2011-2015. The strategy focused on Infrastructure Development, concentrating solely on the water infrastructure sub-sector. The CSP aimed to enhance the country’s water storage capacity thereby allowing it to better respond to climatic variability and increasing water storage, promoting economic growth and ensuring more reliable water services. This intervention will also contribute to greater diversification and competitiveness of the Seychellois’ economy.

In 2012, the Bank provided financing under an MIC-TAF grant for the preparation of feasibility studies and the detailed designs of this project. This is, therefore, a natural progression of the country and the Bank’s prior engagements in the sector.

As a small island developing state, Seychelles is extremely vulnerable to rainfall variability. The project will contribute to building a resilient society and solid economic foundation.

In conclusion of the ceremony,, Minister Adam also engaged with the bank on the opportunities represented by the Blue Economy and on areas of engagement that would be possible with Seychelles on this subject to further enhance the shared commitment for sustainable development.

He highlighted that the Blue Economy was a key path towards simultaneously building economic and environmental residence.

Minister Adam was accompanied at the signing by Mr. Peter Sinon, former Executive Director at the ADB assisting the Minister in an advisory capacity and Ms. Fatime Kante, Economist from the Ministry of Finance.

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