Need for investment in ICT infrastructure as Seychelles develops its ‘Investor Map’ with UNDP
Discussions have started between Seychelles’ public and private sectors and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to identify new investment opportunities under the Investor Map Project.
In the first working mission to Seychelles for this project, UNDP representatives met with an advisory committee on Tuesday. The objective was to start to validate data and information collected online or through a virtual interface.
UNDP’s resident representative for Seychelles and Mauritius, Amanda Serumaga, said that the investor map is a tool that UNDP has on a global platform. It allows countries to identify investment opportunity areas set to drive local and foreign investment into the island nation.
“We have done some preliminary research, mostly through documentary review. We are now going through five areas of potential investment – tourism, agriculture, aquaculture, renewable energy – and things that Seychelles have already been doing whether it is an investment in cinnamon or vanilla,” said Serumaga.
She added that the creation of an investor map for Seychelles will also help in addressing specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The co-launch of the Investor Map Project in Seychelles is in line with the objective of the Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship, and Industry (MIEI) to facilitate ease of doing business in the country.
Seychelles’ Minister for Investment, Entrepreneurship, and Industry, Devika Vidot, said that while emphasis is being put on the agricultural, fisheries and tourism sectors, the digital economy, and information and technology are sectors with a lot of potential.
“At the moment, most of the delays when it comes to ease of doing business is that most procedures are being carried out manually. With a focus on ICT and digitalising, we will be able to tackle challenges we get having to do with the ease of doing business. There is a need for investment in ICT infrastructure,” said Vidot.
She said that in general, the tool gives direction on which sector Seychelles will put more emphasis on.
“At the same time, it provides the government with the guidance to know which policy and infrastructure need to be put in place to support the sectors that we want to develop,” she added.
A Seychellois entrepreneur who was present, Mustafa Bristol, told the press that the platform will create visibility for industries in Seychelles, such as the cinnamon sector in which his business Globarom is involved.
“Potential investors in the region or internationally might see us as a potential business for them to invest in, pushing the sector even further,” said Bristol.
The project has already been rolled out in 14 African countries, three in Latin America and five in Asia.
The senior SDG investment advisor of the UNDP’s Africa Sustainable Finance Hub, Joanne Manda, said that “the success that we are seeing is that within the impact investment space we’ve got investors that are now very interested in opportunities across Africa.”
“Often people feel that Africa is a difficult area to invest in but the reality is that there are opportunities and if you are smart about how you structure the financial deals, it is possible to really build the domestic and international private sector investment in developing the continent and achieving the SDGs,” she added.
More consultations and meetings will take place in the coming weeks, including one with the advisory committee. The first draft of the investor map is expected to be ready in September.
“We will present this to the government, and with the feedback, we will be able to finalise the map and present it to the private sector,” said the Minister.
Once finalised, the map will be attached to an online platform that will feature other countries that have also participated in the same process. The link for this platform will later become publicly available.