DBS invites investors to apply for loans under Blue Investment Fund |29 July 2023
The Development Bank of Seychelles (DBS) is once again inviting investors to apply for the Blue Investment Fund aimed at supporting the expansion of sustainable fisheries in Seychelles.
The bank’s chief executive, Jean Preira, made the call at its Blue Investment cocktail held on Thursday evening at the Eden Bleu hotel.
The event organised by DBS in collaboration with the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) and Swiofish, was to meet with potential clients of the Blue Investment Fund (BIF) and explain the concept of the fund so as to entice them.
Mrs Preira said despite strong publicity campaign for businesses to apply for the fund, the interest has been slow, with only two persons coming forward so far for the loan application, and one who eventually backed out.
“The others show interest but they are not coming forward to apply, so this event is to explain everything all over again, and give them that confidence that it is worth it,” she said.
Among those present to address the possible investors was the Minister for Fisheries & the Blue Economy, Jean-François Ferrari, who highlighted some of the government’s moves to push forward the blue economy agenda at national level, and why the sector was a feasible one despite having some few challenges.
He encouraged the guests to seize the opportunity which was to “update you on the recent changes to the BIF offer, to get all partners to network with potential clients, to make new business partners, to have business discussions, and build solid and long-lasting relationships”.
According to DBS, the loan launched in 2019 was now more attractive compared to the initial conditions which were more stringent.
The bank offers loans from US $10,000 to US $ 3million, (in SCR equivalent) at an affordable 4% interest rate. It is open to all Seychellois citizens as well as locally registered civil society organisations and businesses, including those with major foreign ownership. Businesses and entrepreneurs who provide services to sustainable fisheries, including fish processing, laboratories and testing, logistics, marketing, and aquaculture are eligible for the loans.
Mrs Preira said compared to other loans, 4 percent was attractive enough.
“We are giving up to 3 million because we know there are a lot of capital investment as well,” she said.
At Thursday’s event there were presentations by the bank’s head of credit, Rana Fernandes who gave details about the fund as well as Aubrey Lesperance, head of the Aquaculture department, who outlined the project’s progress to date, opportunities and benefits.
Louis Bossi, the founder and manager of Ocean Basket, the Seychelles' by-catch processing companies, which was the first to benefit under the Blue Investment Fund, also shared his journey through the fisheries business, to encourage other investors.
According to DBS, his company can now increase its local fish processing capacity with a loan of over $2.8 million (R40.7 million).
One of the businesses represented at Thursday’s event was ‘Brikolaz’ by its founder and managing director, Kyle de Bouter, who said he wanted to hear what was being offered and explore the possibility of investing under the Blue Investment Fund.
“I am exploring all possibilities. They are saying the money is available and we need to spend it within the next twelve months. The terms look favourable and the BIF loan is not expensive. I am all in favour of keeping resources in the country,” he told Seychelles NATION.
The BIF loan has a 15-year repayment and the minimum a business can apply for is US $10,000.
Photos by Louis Toussaint