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AfDB Approves USD 12 Million for Seychelles Submarine Cable Project

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Tunis, 27 April 2011 - The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved on Wednesday, a USD 12 million senior private sector loan to finance Seychelles East African System “SEAS”.

The project is designed to connect Seychelles to global internet exchange centers using high bandwidth link at lower costs.

The SEAS project will be co-financed by the European Investment Bank, and equity contributions split between the three shareholders: Seychelles government, Cable and Wireless Seychelles and Airtel.

The Project entails engineering works, sea survey, construction and roll-out of a submarine optical cable system and associated equipment to link Seychelles (Victoria, on Mahé Island) to Tanzania (Dar-el-Salam).The system comprises a pair of optical fibers as well as termination equipment at both ends. It is configured to provide 32 wavelengths, allowing a maximum throughput of 320 Gbit/s. From Tanzania, Seychellois telecom operators will have access to international connectivity.

Mobile phones and internet use  in Africa has helped to broaden markets, create better information flow, reduce transaction costs, reduce expensive physical transportation, and improve revenue yields.

In this regard, the project represents considerable infrastructure investment in the country, and will enable Seychelles to link up to other regional ICT infrastructure. It is expected to reduce broadband service costs, and provide alternate and more competitive traffic route.

Furthermore, the project will provide Seychelles businesses with advanced and cost-effective technology that would make them more competitive. The project sponsors will be the immediate beneficiaries as they can access better and higher quality non-satellite international interconnection.

Other telecommunications operators will benefit from the cable’s virtually unlimited capacity which can be leased at lower cost compared to satellite connections. The availability of high quality ICT services will also have considerable impact on other sectors. It will promote modernization in health, industry, education, and business infrastructure.

Overall, the project will propel and sustain improved business environment that would yield higher revenue in terms of VAT entries.  Besides, diversification of the economy and the creation of higher value adding jobs will leverage economic growth which will bring in additional excise revenues for government.

The project is aligned with the Seychelles’ National Information and Communication Technology Policy established in 2007. It is also consistent with AfDB 2008-2010 ICT and regional integration strategies, which recognize the crucial role played by infrastructure in supporting intra-regional and global trade as well as market integration. Finally, as the Bank’s first Public-Private Partnership project in Seychelles, SEAS is consistent with AfDB objective to diversify its private sector operations.

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