World Bank executive director calls on President Ramkalawan |16 June 2021
Assistance from the World Bank to the Republic of Seychelles towards the recovery of the domestic economy was among other topics discussed by the executive director of the World Bank Taufila Nyamadzabo and President Wavel Ramkalawan at State House yesterday morning.
Dr Nyamadzabo, who represents 22 countries on the African continent – three in Western Africa, eleven in East Africa and eight in Southern Africa including Seychelles – discussed with the President the country’s needs for financial assistance and the various ways that the domestic economy can be strengthened and diversified, and made more resilient.
“There are a number of issues that we talked about including Covid-19 vaccines, and the need to help Seychelles with resources, especially for post Covid-19 recovery. It is the World Bank policy to be able to ensure that Seychelles is able to recover, especially with resilience to address issues and sectors which are affected by Covid-19, the tourism sector and the fisheries sector,” he said.
“And also, we talked about issues related to the need for diversification, so that in the future when we have similar problems, we can also develop other sectors. In terms of Seychelles, the emphasis on sectors like the digital side, further processing agriculture and even within fisheries itself, there are greater value addition that could be done in that regard,” Dr Nyamadzabo stated.
The World Bank group provides support to countries, including budget support loans. As Seychelles is considered a high-income country, a Development Policy loan is a more favourable loan option, affording to government the flexibility to use the funds where it is required. Presently, negotiations are ongoing with both the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial assistance.
“We think the original timeframe was September or October, but we feel that the country requires resources much earlier, so it depends, for that loan to be provided, it also needs clearance on the IMF side, because it requires the multiple variable resources. So, when the IMF has done its part, we as the World Bank then consider that issue.”
Despite the high-income status, the fact that Seychelles’ economy is fragile and the economy based on very few sectors is an important consideration for the World Bank. Therefore, Dr Nyamadzabo is of the view that there is scope to assist Seychelles to make progress through policy advice.
“When things are submitted to the World Bank, when a country is considered as high income, it is not as easy as the lower or middle income countries, but in the case of Seychelles, like other island departments, there is something that we can point out to say that these countries are very fragile and that their economies are based on very few sectors, so there is really a need to support. The high income is based on the fact that the economy grew very quickly in the past, and given the smaller population, when you divide the Gross Domestic product (GDP) by the population, the capita income tends to be around USD ($) 17,000. But in terms of diversification, the economy is still less diversified, there are issues of poverty at lower level, there are issues of mismatch between skills and education, so all of those things need to be considered for Seychelles to really move forward,” he added.
The World Bank has stepped up to assist Seychelles on numerous occasions. The World Bank’s Treasury supported the Seychelles in reaching out to investors and advising on how to structure the use of proceeds from the world’s first sovereign Blue Bond, issued in 2018.