AfDB pleased with government’s decisions and positive trajectory By Laura Pillay |24 November 2021
The African Development Bank (AfDB) is pleased that “government is making the right decisions and the positive trajectory” towards positive growth and development for the country.
AfDB director general for regional development and business delivery office for East Africa, Nnenna Nwabufo, yesterday called on President Wavel Ramkalawan at State House, where she congratulated the President, Minister for Finance, Economic Planning and Trade Naadir Hassan and Governor of the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) Caroline Abel for their leadership and brave policy decisions in bringing the economy back from a state of recession last year.
“We are seeing a very, very positive trajectory. I think it is good that they are focused on what they are doing, their desire is to do the best for the people of Seychelles and we see that playing out in the decisions that are taken, and it is also translating into positive growth and positive development for the country,” said Ms Nwabufo.
“Our perspective is very, very positive. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had supported the government with an extended credit facility and they were here in September. They have issued their report and it shows that the government is on-track, not just to meet the targets, but doing even better than the target. A few days ago, the Fitch credit rating upgraded the long-term rating and the short-term rating of the Republic of Seychelles, the exchange rate that had taken a very serious beating has gone back to pre-Covid- levels, so we think that all the policies that the government has put in place, to support itself and the people, and to support businesses in Seychelles have been very instrumental in bringing the economy back,” Ms Nwabufo stated.
As one of Seychelles’ key development partners, the AfDB, similarly to the IMF and World Bank, are AAA rated, allowing these institutions to borrow at lower interest rates than individual governments, and to pass on these benefits to government.
“Our borrowings are long-term, so it gives the government the opportunity to plan. We are key development partners, and we will continue to be partners. We are focused on supporting African governments that is our business and we are happy to be doing the same for the government and people of Seychelles. With the Covid-19 situation, the AfDB in 2020 supported the Seychelles with budget support operation of US $10 million, $20 million in 2021, with more support expected next year.
“We are hoping to next year do slightly more than that, because the government needs to support its fiscal position.
“Last year of course there was recession and the economy grew by a negative of 14 percent, we see positive growth coming and we think that the government is building on the recovery of this year. We expect that in the next two or three years, the recovery is going to be stronger, tourism is picking up, and of course with the challenges in tourism, it means that the government is looking at so many other ways and areas that it can use to support the economy. They are looking at digitalisation, which is a very big issue in the world today, and it affects every economy whether it is the private sector, whether it is e-government, financial sectors. So, a digitalisation strategy will come and build on the positive results. In summary I can say that we are very, very encouraged by what we have seen, by what we have heard and by what we know, that is the current situation. We are here as development partners of the government to support them and discuss with them how we can continue to work together,” Ms Nwabufo added.
In extending assistance to the government, the AfDB combines efforts with other multilateral development partners, working jointly in a united and synchronised approach in providing support to the government.
Ms Nwabufo, who is accompanied by Marcelin NdongNtah, is also in Seychelles to launch a report which the AfDB assisted and supported government in preparing, looking at the impacts of the pandemic in key sectors of the economy, such as tourism, the blue economy and manufacturing.
“The report will help the government because there are proposals and analysis that are supposed to guide the government in terms of policy, to address some of the challenges that these sectors are going through as a result of the pandemic. Even before the pandemic, there were some challenges that I think the pandemic came and even strengthened those challenges, so the idea is to work with the government so that whatever the results of the report, they can integrate it into their policies and action plans to support the economy to bounce back, and bounce back even better than the pre-pandemic level,” Ms Nwabufo added.
The report was officially launched in an event held at Eden Bleu Hotel yesterday morning (see separate story on page 3).
The AfDB delegation arrived in the country on Monday and will be departing this evening following engagements with leaders, government officials, as well as the private sector.