By Beatrice Thomas
Ties between the two nations include $100m in reported aid and Etihad’s 40% stake in Air Seychelles
Abu Dhabi and the Seychelles have begun work on a strategic plan for the island nation in the latest step in a partnership between the two countries that also includes investment in UAE in national carrier Air Seychelles as well as $100m in aid.
Under the Seychelles Strategic Plan, the two countries will work to “articulate a clear vision for the future of the Seychelles, a country spanning over 115 islands in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa”, a joint statement said.
Covering all island, it will particularly focus on the main island of Mahé through the development of a framework plan, with a detailed Master Plan to also be developed for Victoria, the capital city of the Seychelles.
“Based on a thorough analysis of all issues relating to land use planning, the plan will address the priorities for the Seychelles such as; facilitating economic growth and diversification, protecting the environment by ensuring development is undertaken in appropriate locations and in a sustainable manner, appropriate allocation of land for residential and economic use, protecting the character and heritage of the Seychelles, and preserving and enhancing its social and cultural aspects,” the statement said.
Abu Dhabi has reportedly contributed more than $100m in aid in the Seychelles.
In 2012 Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways acquired a 40 percent stake in Air Seychelles under a deal which included both Etihad and the Seychelles government investing $20m in the state-owned airline as well as Etihad providing a $25m loan to help Air Seychelles meet working capital requirements and support network development.
Falah Al Ahbabi, General Manager, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, said of the start of work on the strategic plan: “This is an exciting opportunity for the UPC and is the first time we’ve collaborated with an international government in this capacity. It is testament to our growing reputation globally in planning complete sustainable communities, in line with best practice planning policies, that we are able to advise and assist with the Seychelles’ future development plans.
“Our experience in shaping Abu Dhabi’s rapid growth stands us in good stead to share our expertise with overseas governments and planning agencies.
“As the population of the Seychelles is growing and the economy is changing, the need for a thorough development plan is becoming increasingly important to ensure that the country’s resources are used as efficiently and sustainably as possible, whilst still retaining its history, culture and beauty.”
Christian Lionnet, the Seychelles Minister for Land Use and Housing, said: “This meeting not only reaffirms the strong ties between Abu Dhabi and Seychelles, but it also confirms the commitment of the Government of Abu Dhabi, through the collaboration of the UPC, to assist us in our ultimate goal of enhancing the efficiency of the Planning Authority.
“The Strategic Plan will form the basis for a long-term planning framework for the island of Mahé and a Master Plan for Greater Victoria. It will also provide the Planning Authority with important tools for the performance of its functions,” he said.