EIB loans Cyprus €235 million for IT development
The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union’s long-term financing institution, has signed new finance agreements totaling €235 million for the financing of investments in education and information technology (IT) in Cyprus.
The funds are provided under the Bank's current €8.5 billion pre-accession lending facility, which runs up to the year 2003. Pre-accession facility lending is aimed at projects that will support the integration of Acceding and Accession countries with the EU. A particular emphasis is being given to environmental protection, as well as communications infrastructure, industrial competitiveness and regional development. Cyprus has so far received EUR 580 million under this facility.
Some €200 million will be allocated to the Cypriot Ministry of Education and Culture. The project consists of the construction of 46 schools, the extension/modernization of several other buildings, including 200 special classrooms/laboratories, as well as the installation of information and communication technologies (ICT) equipment in schools, for more than 130 000 pupils.
The initiative enhances education at the primary and secondary levels. Additionally it fosters the development and use of ICT networks, catering in this way to the needs of students enrolling in higher education and the University of Cyprus. It contributes to diffusion of knowledge to meet the needs of society, culture, civilization, and economy both in Cyprus and the region.
The remaining €35 million, the first tranche of an overall approved financing of €70 million in favor of the project, is made available to the Republic of Cyprus for the Cypriot Ministry of Finance, Department of Information Technology Services (DITS). This project is mainly driven by the priorities set in the Partnership Agreement concluded between Cyprus and the EU in 2000 and revised in 2002. It concerns investments in IT systems in various Cypriot Government Departments, encompassing investments in physical networks and hardware with the development of specialized software systems.
The enhancement of the Public Administration’s IT systems is a major target for the Cypriot Government, as it is considered essential for ensuring a successful integration of Cyprus into the EU. The project is therefore also in line with the EU’s e-Government initiatives for Acceding and Accession countries.
In addition, the Bank will allocate grant funds for a total amount of €530 000 under the “Mediterranean Environmental Technical Assistance Program” (METAP). Since its establishment in 1990, the Bank put up more than €15 million in the form of grants for technical assistance and preparation of environmental protection projects, in addition to financing environmental protection projects. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)