IDC’s 5-year development plan for outer islands unveiled






The Cabinet of Ministers has approved the third outer islands development plan for the period of 2018-2023 which sets out the strategies for the development of fourteen outer islands.

President Danny Faure chaired the meeting on Wednesday whereby eight legal and policy memoranda including the budgetary programme for 2018 and the introduction of a Student Loan scheme were also approved.

As expected, the Islands Development Company (IDC) is responsible for the development plan on islands and island groups including Remire, Providence, Poivre, Platte, Marie-Louise, Farquhar, Desroches, Desnoeufs, Cosmoledo, Coetivy, Astove, Assomption and Alphonse.

The development plan stipulates IDC’s priorities and targets for the next five years and details the existing services, the current state of the islands, future plans along with the timeline in which the numerous projects are expected to be completed.

Chief executive of IDC Glenny Savy said that the main objective for the next five years is to establish infrastructure on inhabited islands mainly Providence and Cosmoledo.

In a press conference yesterday afternoon, Mr Savy revealed that a small airport on Providence is the first priority on the list. It is to be noted that Providence was inhabited prior to the cyclone in 2006 which caused significant damage.

“The plan was to construct a small airstrip on Providence but at the time, IDC did not have the financial resources for such a project. The sand composition on Providence is extremely small and fine thus a large amount of concrete is required,” he said.

He added that the project is expected to be completed by June 2019 at a cost of R14 million. The government has contributed R5 million towards the project, an amount that Mr Savy says will cover the cost for cement while IDC will be financing the remaining R9 million. Once the airway is completed, Mr Savy said other infrastructure will be established on the island.

A second island which IDC is proposing to develop is an island from the Cosmoledo group which will also be equipped with a runway and certain infrastructure.

“Every island is quite different. There are islands under our responsibility which we have decided to keep in its natural state. For instance, Farquhar is a group of islands and we only plan to develop one and the others will be left in their natural state,” he said.

He added that some islands are ideal for agriculture, others for tourism purposes while others are most suited to aqua-culture.

According to Mr Savy, IDC has already drawn up four land use plans for Coetivy, Desroches, Poivre and Farquhar detailing what activities will take place on each. The land use plans are awaiting approval from the government.

In addition, Mr Savy said that IDC will tender out some of the work to the private sector.

“Individuals and companies in the private sector who may be interested in developing the islands or undertaking activities there such as tourism, agriculture or aqua-culture will have an opportunity to do so. In some instances, IDC is even prepared to partner with such companies to help them establish and grow,” he said.

Asked whether he thought the plan was feasible within the set time-frame, Mr Savy reassured that he is confident that IDC can achieve the majority of its plans.

IDC was incorporated in 1980 to create a structure to enable the economy of the outer islands to be developed. It is responsible for thirteen outer islands and Sihouette.

It employs over 1000 employees with an annual turnover of R350 million. Profits recorded for 2017 amounted to R31 million.




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