SIB works on ‘smoothing investment journey’


Delegates listening to a presentation during the opening session of the workshop yesterday

A two-day workshop which started yesterday at the International Conference Centre (ICCS) and is being run by investment policy and promotion consultant William Mut from Spain, and Moroccan research analyst Mohamed Aref, is aimed at giving the SIB the right tools to achieve its goal of “effectively selling the product called Seychelles”.

This comes at a time when Seychelles is on a steady economic growth path with a stable macro-economic environment characterised by average gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates of 4.2% for the past five years, low inflation rates, and close to full employment.

Seychelles’ ranking on the ‘Doing Business’ report has jumped six positions between 2011 and 2012 and this is a result of the bold economic reforms aimed at improving the business and investment climate implemented over the past few years.

Seychelles also has unparalleled opportunities in the sectors of fisheries, financial services and tourism, a highly educated population, and a business-friendly environment, promising investors a smooth investment journey.

The Comesa (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) Regional Investment Agency encourages this process by carrying out capacity-building activities with the Seychelles investment promotion agency – SIB.

Mr Mut said that during the two-day workshop, the delegates will look at foreign direct investment (FDI) trends from different perspectives, try to understand what the trends are telling them about what is happening, and why it is important to take these into consideration.

“We will also talk about corporate investment trends, how are companies reacting to the current crisis, how can the agency (SIB) position itself in order to reap maximum benefits and incorporate them into its strategy.

“Another important component is demystifying the whole concept of investor and investment. How do we convince investors to come to invest in Seychelles? This is very important as there is a tendency by a lot of investment agencies who are part of government and they behave more like government than investment promoters. They need to speak the language of business because this is what businesses are coming to look for,” said Mr Mut.

The delegates from the SIB, Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment, will also learn how to create a strategy that is marked by specific targets and demystify the whole concept of establishing targets.

“Targets are there to judge how an agency is doing and I think it is important for people to understand that if you are successful in attracting investments, there are a lot of issues that are not under the control of the agency of why the companies come to establish themselves,” said the consultant, who added that the SIB must understand that its role is to ease investors into the country.

“This is a very important role as it is very much what we would expect when we go out to make a big purchase.”

Mr Mut added that attention will also be on a key factor which is “after care – a dimension of investment promotion where you actually go out and promote your existing investors”.

“Firstly, it is six times easier to sell to an existing customer than to get a new one. Secondly a happy investor is the best promotional message as companies talk to each other. A lot of surveys done in the corporate sector show that companies dialogue with industry peers and prove that this is the preferred mode of finding new potential locations for investment. After care is also cost efficient as it does not require going on an air plane and spending a lot of money. The results can be obtained relatively easy,” noted Mr Mut.

After the SIB has gathered the information from existing investors it must know what to do with it and Mr Mut said “this is good as the agency can play a role in alerting the government about policies that are constrictive. The government can therefore review these policies.”

Another area to be covered concerns issues investment agencies are facing today, especially the present crisis, and how the SIB can react to this phenomenon.

Today, the delegates will concentrate on effectively selling the product called Seychelles, and understand the competitive advantage of the country – that is how to package Seychelles into an interesting proposition to potential investors.

Meanwhile, the SIB, in collaboration with the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will tomorrow organise the second Seychelles business round table at the Kempinski resort, starting at 9am. Businesses wishing to take part should contact the SIB on email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   or by calling 4295500 during office hours.

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