The African Development Bank has approved $10 million to the Republic of Seychelles to support the government’s COVID-19 response program. The loan will be channeled toward macroeconomic stabilization, strengthening national health responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and safeguarding livelihoods and social safety nets.
Against a backdrop of declining revenues, the Seychelles government recently amended its budget to respond more effectively to COVID-19, taking on an immense financial burden as it works to enhance the country’s health systems, mitigate job losses, and redress lost business and household incomes.
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The amended budget provides for an additional $ 3.6 million to the health sector, which will help put in place robust early-detection surveillance systems and enhanced testing capability at points of entry. The government is also readying isolation and quarantine facilities ahead of the resumption of international flight arrivals.
The Government has committed to safeguard 37,409 private-sector jobs through provision of a six-month wage grant while also increasing allocations to the national Social Protection Agency to widen safety nets for informal workers and other vulnerable groups.
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The crisis response program is aligned with the Bank Group Ten-Year Strategy-TYS (2013-2022) and the High 5s priorities, specifically “improve the quality of life of the people of Africa”. The operation is also aligned with the Bank’s Seychelles’ Country Strategy Paper (2016-2020), which aims at stimulating private sector activity in support of economic diversification though policy reforms.
Insufficient economic diversification, a small domestic market and vulnerability to external economic and environmental shocks are among the main development challenges the Seychelles economy faces. The pandemic has seriously exacerbated these challenges and wiped out some of the country’s development gains. The Bank has revised the 2020 and 2021 GDP growth rate projections for the country downwards, from 3.3% and 4.2 % to -10.5% and -7.7%, respectively.
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The country recorded its first case of COVID-19 on 14 March and had 11 confirmed imported cases by 6 April. All 11 cases are fully recovered with no new cases or deaths.