Leading Seychelles' delegation to the World Economic Forum, Foreign Minister Jean-Paul Adam, has highlighted a number of Seychelles' experiences as a basis for sustainable development at the event being held in Cape Town under the patronage of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa.
Minister Adam, and the Minister for Finance, Trade and Investment, Pierre Laporte, are representing Seychelles President Michel at the event which is being attended by a number of heads of state from Africa and around the world.
The forum traditionally provides a platform for innovative ideas to be shared among world leaders with a view to improving the state of the world economy and with a view to improving the global framework for development.
President Zuma opened the forum by noting that having the forum in Africa, was the “the right place, and the right time.”
Minister Pierre Laporte, the Minister for Finance, Trade and Investment, has taken the opportunity of the forum of leaders to illustrate the bold moves that Seychelles has taken, and is continuing to make, to make Seychelles more competitive and also to ensure that economic progress is sustainable.
In sessions on green growth, the Seychelles delegation has emphasized that investment in renewable energy in Africa is essential for its development. In the context of Seychelles, the purchase of fossil fuels are the biggest drain on foreign exchange in the country, and renewable energy allows Seychelles to further maximize the impact of foreign exchange earnings from the pillars of the economy - tourism, fisheries, and financial services.
Seychelles has also called for innovations in policies and the international framework to foster green growth. The initiative of Seychelles within the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) to propose debt reduction through debt for adaptation swaps has been tabled in the forum as an innovative mechanism that can transform the development options of islands, but which can also eventually be very relevant for all countries with significant debt in the African region.
Within the context of innovative mechanisms, the Seychelles delegation has also spoken of its experiences in securing grant components as part of major infrastructure projects on a public private partnership basis (PPP) that would not otherwise get off the ground - the example of the Undersea fiber-optic cable was cited.
Seychelles has also insisted on the importance of “the blue economy” for sustainable development, and that more attention needs to be given to the development of oceanic resources and management of these resources. Within this context, Minister Adam remarked that more African ownership was required of the oceanic space: “We need to be more engaged with our seas. We need to have better laws governing oceanic management. And we need more African-owned companies involved in oceanic development - whether it is fisheries, maritime trade, or tapping into resources on the ocean floor."
Governance also featured prominently in the discussions of the WEF as a key element of sustained economic development. Notably the Mo Ibrahim Index on Governance has hailed Seychelles’ strong record on governance in the continent.
“We must all start by recognizing that there are many areas that we must improve. And we must also recognize that good governance reforms have no end date, as we should always be seeking ways to better engage with our citizens. This is the core of our governance compact in Seychelles - to put the citizen at the center of development," Minister Adam has stated.
In terms of gender equality, the need to ensure that women are not marginalized in political and economic decision making has been highlighted as a cross-cutting issue across themes, and Seychelles experiences also provided a positive reference point.
In the margins of the forum, Minister Adam has also engaged in discussions with the SADC leadership with a view to ensuring that the elections planned for Madagascar go ahead as smoothly as possible. Seychelles has stated its regret at the decision of the President of the Transition to renege on his previous commitment not to stand in forthcoming elections, however, the Seychelles delegation has stressed that the most important element remained to ensure free, fair, and credible elections were held in Madagascar.
PHOTO: Minister Adam with former President of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano, SADC mediator on the Madagascar crisis / Photo from Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Culture
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