Seychelles hosts regional parliamentarians’ meeting-Commonwealth offers to help our WTO accession effort


The delegates in a souvenir photo with VP Faure. Mr Laurent is second from left

Edwin Laurent – who heads the Commonwealth’s trade and regional cooperation section – pledged the help when Vice-President Danny Faure launched a regional workshop on trade policy for Commonwealth African Parliamentarians at Berjaya Bay Vallon Bay resort.

“I wish to assure you the Commonwealth will assist you with your preparations to enable you better negotiate and secure the most favourable terms for your accession,” he said.

He told Mr Faure and the parliamentarians that “the right package – which will also include domestic reforms – can set the country on a sound foundation for engaging in its trade and commercial relations with the outside world and advancing the growth and modernisation of the economy”.

Mr Faure welcomed the pledge saying our delegation left last weekend for the third working party meeting on Seychelles’ accession to the WTO.

“As you are aware, International Economic Law under the WTO system calls for systematic trade liberalisation of tariffs and services, reduction in subsidies, and removal of export restrictions, among others,” said Mr Faure.

“At a time when food security and energy resources have become priorities for us all, the fight for Africa is back on the agenda. Our continent is now caught in what some have termed the ‘second scramble’ for Africa.

“Let us allow our political will and pragmatism to prevail.  Let us seize this opportunity for Africa to effectively use its natural resources to fuel economic growth.  Inclusive growth that will uplift millions of our citizens out of poverty, growth that will create more jobs, increase incomes and raise the human development index of our countries.  We remain optimistic,” he said.

At a time when the world is still in turmoil as a result of the financial crisis, where food prices and fuel prices are forever escalating, now more than ever we need to take note that trade policy is not formulated in a vacuum but it needs to be dynamic to respond to the challenges of the global village that we live in today, he said, adding the timing of the workshop is right given our ongoing accession efforts.

“This is the time for our governments, parliamentarians, civil society and private sector to look at intra trade within Africa.

“I strongly believe trade is a key driver for the economic development of any nation. Seychelles has learnt through its macro-economic reform process that focus on monetary and fiscal policy alone does not create wealth for a country but that focus on facilitating business and trade through innovative approaches and through ensuring  that the trade environment is at par with international best practice is a driver for wealth creation.

“Seychelles’ current trade policy is geared towards positioning government as a facilitator and regulator, and the private sector as drivers of sustained growth and creators of wealth.

“The vision is to ensure that Seychelles is brought into the fold of the global economy.

Regional integration will be the necessary platform for the smooth transition of Seychelles into this global economy,” he said.

Delegates at the meeting are members of the Seychelles National Assembly, the local media and the parliaments of Ghana, Uganda, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Cameroon, Mauritius and Tanzania as well as from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA).

The meeting is being hosted by the CPA, the Commonwealth secretariat and the Seychelles National Assembly.

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