Investors in marine, fisheries projects can send proposals to Development Bank of Seychelles

Investors in Seychelles interested in sustainable marine activities and fisheries projects can send proposals to the Development Bank of Seychelles, said a top official at the Bank on Monday.

The first call for proposals to attract potential investors under the Blue Investment Fund was launched during a press conference organised by the Department of the Blue Economy.

The department's principal secretary, Kenneth Racombo, said that the blue bonds -- valued at $12 million -- are reserved specifically for value-added fisheries projects such as aquaculture.

The bond is also targeting projects using bycatch, which is later processed to make value-added products such as fish burger and will also make way for people who want to invest in a refrigerated truck, added Racombo.

Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, launched the world's first sovereign blue bond to support marine projects last October. The blue bond has guarantees from the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility and is geared towards supporting the Seychelles' transition to sustainable fisheries.

Bonds are financial instruments to raise public and private capital for specific activities which can generate a return on investment.

The chief executive of the Development Bank of Seychelles (DBS), Daniel Gappy, said this is the first time the bank is undertaking such a project. All proposals have to be submitted within the next eight weeks.

Interested investors will need to send their proposals to DBS first. Then the proposal is sent to the Blue Economy Department to see if the project is sustainable. After that, the proposal is sent back to DBS to see if it will generate a return. If the requirement is met the investor will be eligible to acquire the loan, said Gappy.

The fund is being disbursed in phases over a five-year period. A total of $3 million at an interest rate of 4 percent has been issued for the first call. All promoters will have to make a 25-percent contribution to the amount they will be taking and will make loan repayment over 15 years.

As one of the world's biodiversity hotspots, Seychelles with an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.4 million square kilometres, is balancing the need to both develop economically and protect its natural endowment.

Jan Robinson, project manager of the third South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Governance and Shared Growth Project (SWIOFish3), said that the fund will be available for people also who want to conduct studies to identify potential areas of investment in the fisheries sector.

Despite us encouraging investment, we are very conscious that investment in the value chain can create more pressure on fish resources. Therefore we have to be very careful the way we select the projects, said Robinson.

Fisheries is the second top contributor to the economy of the island nation with 96,000 inhabitants.

Proceeds from the bond will also contribute to the World Bank's South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Governance and Shared Growth Programme, which supports countries in the region to sustainably manage their fisheries resources and increase economic benefits from their fisheries sector.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

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