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Cyprus and EIB sign loan agreements totaling 235 million euros
2003-10-13 10:48:47

Nicosia, Oct 10 (CNA) -- Cyprus and the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed here today two loan agreements totaling 235 million euros for the financing of investment in education and information technology.

Cyprus Finance Minister Markos Kyprianou and EIB Vice President Gernlando Genuardi signed the agreement during a ceremony at the Finance Ministry.

The first project, co-financed by the Council of Europe Development Bank, consists in providing construction of new schools, expansions and improvements of existing school buildings and the programme of introduction of information technology in education, including the readjustment of classrooms, purchase of hardware and software and training of teachers in basic or advanced computer skills.

The second 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.

Kyprianou said ''the signing of the Loan Agreements is of great importance, because they provide funds for investment programmes that will contribute towards developing a knowledge-based society and formation of human capital, which are also EU objectives and critical determinants of economic prosperity, full employment and social cohesion.''

He also said that the EIB has long standing ties with Cyprus and their co-operation started back in the early 80's and during the period lent a total of some EUR 1030mil for investments in the various sectors of the economy.

Genuardi thanked the minister ''for the continued support they've been giving to the EIB activities in the country'' and said ''the signature of these two loans of 235 million euros represents an additional sign of the well-established and fruitful cooperation between Cyprus and EIB.''

He also announced the allocation of two grants for a total amount of 530 thousand euros within the framework of the EIB METAP-Programme. 350 thousand euros will be given for the update of the Nicosia Sewerage Master Plan, including a feasibility study and an Environmental Impact Assessment and 180 thousand euros for the update of Limassol Sewerage Master plan, including a feasibility study and an Environmental Impact Assessment.

As regards the two agreements signed today he said the first concerns the construction and extension and the modernization of primary and secondary public sector schools.

''It is an important operation that will comprise inter alias the construction of 15 schools and extension work for 200 new classrooms at the pre-primary and primary levels as well as the construction of 9 new lyceums, 16 gymnasiums and 6 technical schools covering a total student population of more than 1300 pupils,'' he noted.

He also said ''this project is expected to enhance the educational environment and raise the quality of education infrastructure in the country and it is fully lined with EU standards for promoting cultural, social and economic development.''

As regards the second loan he said ''this project should lead to a number of economic benefits, increase quality and reliability of the provision of public services, improvement of staff productivity and provision of opportunity for high-skill employment though retraining and new recruitment.''

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