PRESIDENT ACCELERATES ABU DHABI PROJECTS
President James Michel has returned to Seychelles this morning following a 1 day working visit to Abu Dhabi.
During the visit, President Michel had bilateral meetings with H.H. Gen. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to discuss a number of agreed areas of cooperation. He also had a courtesy meeting with HH Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Emir of Abu Dhabi.
The President also had a meeting with the Director General of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development regarding the implementation arrangements of two crucial projects for Seychelles.
With regards to the 30 million USD grant pledged by the United Arab Emirates as financial support to the Seychelles government’s housing programme over a period of ten years, the two parties have agreed to accelerate the implementation of the project. Both parties have agreed that an initial USD 10 million will be allocated to the completion of 220 units as part of the Perseverance Housing project.
This project will be implemented in the course of 2010.
The President has thanked the government of the United Arab Emirates for its assistance in ensuring that the Seychellois people continue to have access to good quality and affordable housing. The announcement earlier this year of the 30 million USD grant is symbolic of the strong bond of friendship between the two peoples.
The Abu Dhabi Fund for development will also be providing funding for the development of renewable energy in Seychelles through MASDAR- the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company. MASDAR are currently developing a wind power electricity project to be able to provide a significant portion of the country’s electricity needs.
The MASDAR project has also identified the need for the upgrade of the current electricity grid to allow variable sources of electricity generation to complement the centrally produced electricity by PUC. This upgrade will also allow other forms of energy to be developed effectively, including for example, solar power generation or power derived from waste.
Following the President’s visit, the Abu Dhabi Fund will be allocating funds for the grid upgrade at an estimated cost of USD 15 million.
During the bilateral discussions, Sheik Mohammed noted that Seychelles has the potential to be an example in the region with regards to the development of renewable energy and pledged the support of the Abu Dhabi government towards this objective.
During the visit, President Michel was also one of the guests of honour at the ‘Festival of Thinkers’- a conference organised by the UAE government to bring many of the finest minds in the world together to tackle major issues facing the planet. The conference was attended by world leaders such as His Majesty Karl XVI Gustaf, the King of Sweden, and numerous Nobel laureates including Dr. Ragendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental panel on Climat Change, Christophe Fournier, President of Médecins Sans Frontières and Professor John Nash, former winner of the Nobel prize for economics. The conference was chaired by HH Sheik Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, under the patronage of the Crown Prince.
President Michel has noted that the Conference’s theme of ‘Inspire, Invent, Innovate’, was particularly suited to the current times of economic turbulence, where ‘out of the box thinking’ was essential to ensure adaptation to the world’s challenges.
President Michel was also a guest of honour of Sheik Mohammed at the inaugural Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix. The event was attended by a number of heads of state. President Michel congratulated Sheik Mohammed on the organisation of the landmark event.