JEDDAH: The Saudi Fund for Development has begun negotiations with the Seychelles government to potentially provide financial assistance for infrastructure development in the areas of education, housing and fisheries, according to a report by the state-owned Seychelles News Agency (SNA).
Secretary of State for Finance, Trade, and Investment Patrick Payet told the SNA that the first meeting was held on Friday.
“At the moment, the top-priority social project is the La Digue school. For the diversification of the economy, it is the infrastructure that we need to put in place for SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and fisheries development. These are the discussions that we have had with them. They will now follow their internal process and we will be doing the same once we receive an indicative envelope of how much they will be willing to finance,” Payet was quoted as saying. The Saudi Fund for Development, established in 1974, assists developing countries through financing social and infrastructure projects.
It is already assisting Seychelles and is currently co-funding the development of a 33-kilovolt network for the southern region of the main island of Mahe. Seychelles has also been negotiating a program with the IMF for the past six months, Payet added. “This is mainly because we cannot rely just on domestic financing. In regards to project financing, there is a lot of importation and if you just rely on domestic financing it will put additional pressure on your balance of payment because you need additional foreign exchange. This is why we’ve been discussing how to finance some of those large projects using external finance,” he explained.