$9 million Abu Dhabi grant to provide 100 families in Seychelles with housing
ADFD’s Director of Operations Department, Adel Abdulla al Hosani, and Seychelles Minister Wallace Cosgrow laid the foundation stone for a social housing project at Bel Ombre on Thursday last week. (Seychelles Nation)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Over 100 units of social housing will be built in the Seychelles in the next 18 months due to an AED33 million ($9 million) grant to the Indian Ocean island nation from the government of Abu Dhabi.
The housing units, which will benefit some of the neediest of the 115-island archipelago’s population of 90,000, will be situated at several sites across the main island of Mahé, where the majority of the country’s inhabitants live.
Aside from the housing units, the project, which is administered by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), will also include the associated infrastructure needed, such as electricity grids, water and sanitation networks, roads and parks.
One of the projects, on 4.6 hectares of land in the southernmost district of Mahé called Takamaka, will eventually boast dozens of houses and a sewage treatment plant.
According to a report in local newspaper the Seychelles Nation, the commencement of the first phase of construction was marked by the laying of the foundation stone by ADFD representative Adel Abdulla al Hosani and Seychelles’ Minister for Agriculture, Wallace Cosgrow on behalf of Land Use and Housing Minister, Christian Lionnet, last week Friday.
The first phase for the Takamaka site entails the construction of 36 residential units, including 24 three-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom units.
Another 24 units have similarly been commenced at the Bel Ombre site in the northern part of the island, and around 40 at Barbarons on the western coastline of Mahé.
Speaking to SNA in a telephonic interview today, the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Land Use and Housing, Yves Choppy said the Barbarons and Takamaka projects were split into phases because the $9 million would not have covered the construction of all the housing units originally planned - 72 at Takamaka and 84 at Barbarons.
"There are approximately 3,500 people on the Home Savings Scheme, and currently around a thousand of these qualify to receive housing because they have completed their 12-month savings contribution," said Choppy.
Choppy said the government would continue to work towards providing more low-cost housing to the inhabitants of Seychelles despite the growing backlog.
Choppy added that the reason for starting these regional housing projects was to lessen the impact of migration to the large housing project on the reclaimed island development of Perseverance.
"There is a need for the government to provide social housing in Seychelles because the private market is not offering affordable housing options to the majority of the population," said Choppy.
ADFD first became involved in financing development projects in the Seychelles in 1979, and has since contributed around AED215 million ($58.5 million) in foreign aid for the archipelago’s development, primarily in the housing, energy, communications and transportation sectors.
Described as committed to supporting infrastructure projects in developing countries, ADFD has since its establishment in 1971 allocated around AED7.6 billion in grants to 42 development projects in various countries, with housing projects making up 12 percent of the total share.
In 2013, Abu Dhabi-based energy firm Masdar handed over a AED103 million ($28 million) wind farm of eight 750kW turbines, manufacturing around 2.2 percent of Seychelles’ total energy requirements, or equivalent to powering around 2,000 homes.
Al Hosani, who is ADFD’s Director of Operations Department, was quoted in Thompson Reuters’ Zawya news website as saying: “The contribution of the UAE to the social housing project in Seychelles reflects the country's commitment to supporting economic development in Seychelles and providing excellent housing services to its citizens through financing infrastructure projects in the country.”
“The UAE will continue to support the Government of Seychelles in implementing infrastructure projects and economic reform programs to improve the living standards of its citizens,” he continued. “To this end, ADFD has undertaken several major development projects that serve key economic and social sectors while contributing to the sustainable development of the country.”
Abu Dhabi is not the only country to have given housing development aid to the Seychelles - according to Choppy, the governments of China and Qatar have contributed to the development of 32 units at Corgate Estate and 40 units at St. Louis respectively, both situated on the outskirts of the Seychelles capital of Victoria.