The European Investment Bank Hails Seychelles as Success Story
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has hailed Seychelles as a success story during a ministerial meeting of the Joint ACP-EU Council in Brussels last week, from the 3rd-7th June.
The EIB cited the submarine fibre optic cable project, a public-private partnership investment with financing from key international financial development institutions (EIB and ADB), which has increased international connectivity to the archipelago and will provide free internet service to schools, hospitals and social services, as an example of an excellent innovative financing solution for development projects.
Secretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Barry Faure, and the Seychelles Ambassador to the European Union, Ambassador Vivianne Fock-Tave, attended the meeting. They were in Brussels to represent Seychelles at the 97th Council of Ministers of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) and the 38th Session of the Joint Council, from 3rd to 7th June 2013. They also participated in the Bureau of the ACP Council of Ministers and the Development Finance Ministerial Committee meetings with the ACP and the EU.
The meetings took place during challenging times for the ACP Group, which is currently undertaking serious internal reflections on its future perspectives beyond 2020, and for the EU which is reorienting its development policy with developing partners. The EU’s new development policy of ‘Agenda for Change’ will target more resources to eliminating extreme poverty whilst reducing the volumes of aid to the higher middle-income countries like Seychelles. The latter group of countries are expected to benefit from other cooperation instruments (like the EIB) given their higher capacity to access these resources. Seychelles is thus seen as an example of the change that the EU is seeking in its new international development strategy.
The ACP Group itself is not leaving any stones unturned as shown by the proposal to set up an ACP trade and investment Bank to cater for the deficit in financing in the ACP Group of countries. The creation of the Bank is seen as a driving force for transforming the ACP into a sustainable transcontinental body aimed at mobilising resources to increase the standard of living of its peoples.
As a sign of its resoluteness on the occasion of the celebration of the 38th anniversary of the Georgetown Agreement, which established the group in 1975, the ACP Council also adopted a flag and anthem for the ACP.
A major highlight of the ACP-EU Council was its decision on the next financial envelope (the 11th European Development Fund/EDF) of EUR 31.589 billion for financing of programmes in the ACP countries and regions for the period 2014-2020. EUR 29.089 billion shall be made available under the multiannual financial framework and EUR 2.5 billion shall be made available by the EIB in the form of loans from its own resources. Seychelles expects to access more resources under these facilities, both in terms of budget support and investments in the infrastructure and financial sectors.
1. The ACP-EU relationship is a unique North-South Development Cooperation model with the aim of eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development in the ACP States. With the Cotonou Partnership Agreement expiring in 7 years time, the ACP Group is hopeful for a new and mutually beneficial partnership agreement with the EU after 2020.
2. The EU assisted Seychelles with EUR 16.5 million in the form of general budgrt support to implement its macro-economic reform programme of 2008 with the double objective of mitigating the consequences of the global crisis and contributing to achieve macro-economic stability.
3.The EIB celebrates its 50th anniversary in participating in the development of ACP countries. Aside from telecommedications, other sectors which expect to benefit from EIB financing are banking (DBS), utilities (PUC) and transport infrastructure.
4. The photo shows the Seychelles delegation at the Bureau of the ACP Council on 3rd June 2013, Brussels.
5. The new ACP flag and anthem can be viewed on ACP Secretariat-Secretariat/Facebook.
6. Visit www.acp.int fora full press communique on the Joint ACP-EU Council.