Seychelles: AfDB Approves US$ 26 million for Mahe Water Project

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The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has allocated  a loan and a grant amounting to US$ 25.995 million dollars to finance a water project in Mahe in the Seychelles.

The Mahe Sustainable Water Augmentation Project (MSWAP) approved by the AfDB Board on Wednesday, 1 April 2015, in Abidjan, seeks to promote the country’s economic development by improving water supply capacity and resilience against climate change.

The project aims at achieving the Seychelles 2008-2030 Water Development Plan (SWDP) target supported by the African Water Facility (AWF), which is hosted and managed by AfDB. Currently, the country can only meet about 60% of its potable water needs due to limited storage capacity, increased demand for housing construction, and water losses along the network.

Water shortages are common in Mahe, the Seychelles’ largest island, especially during the dry seasons when water rationing is enforced. The project would: (a) Improve water supply services through reduction of the number of days when water is rationed; and (b) Increase water production capacity to cover areas in the island’s northern region.

The project is anchored in the country’s Medium Term National Development Strategy 2013-2017 (MTNDS). The strategy focuses on strengthening the foundations of economic growth; improving the quality of life; and ensuring environmental sustainability.

It is in line with the Bank’s adjusted Seychelles 2011-2015 Country Strategy Paper (CSP), which focuses on infrastructure development, concentrating solely on the water infrastructure sub-sector. The CSP is keen on enhancing the country’s water storage capacity, allowing it to better respond to climatic variability and the increasing water demand. It will also help to promote economic growth by reducing overreliance on desalination and improving social development by increasing access to water and sanitation. The Bank’s intervention will also contribute to greater diversification and competitiveness of the Seychelles economy.

Direct beneficiaries of the project are the water users on the island of Mahe whose demand is projected to increase by 130% by 2030. Domestic, industrial and touristic use, which currently accounts for 36%, 11 % and 5% of the total water demand, are expected to increase by 140%, 400% and 190% respectively. The main impact of the project will be the improvement in quality of life and reliability of water services for household, industrial, commercial activities and tourism, especially in the dry seasons.

The funding comprises US$ 20.60 million ADB loan and US$ 1.40 million grant from the Middle Income Country Technical Assistance Fund. The Seychelles government will provide the remaining US$ 3.995 million.