Regional investment agencies work on improving competitiveness


Delegates in a souvenir photograph with guests after the opening ceremony

Some 30 delegates – mainly chief executives, managing directors, director generals and directors –   from Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, including Seychelles, took part in the conference hosted by the Seychelles Investment Board in collaboration with the SADC.

The one-day conference held at Le Méridien Barbarons hotel yesterday is the second such meeting to be organised.

Held under the theme ‘Regional efforts in time of economic crisis’, this year’s meeting focused on the discussion and setting up coordinated approaches among the investment promotion agencies (IPAs) of the SADC with the aim of maximising potential and benefits.

The member states taking part also shared best practices and achievements accomplished in their respective business environments through legislative or administrative reforms.

The role of information communication technology (ICT) was also discussed as the sector has been identified as a key aspect in business reform processes to further attract SADC member states to learn from each other in that domain.

ICT is also being recognised as the virtual platform allowing members to share common information and best practices.

Speaking at the launch ceremony yesterday morning, Finance, Investment and Trade Minister Pierre Laporte said a market niche within the SADC that readily offers a wide diversity of opportunities is tourism – one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, where the SADC can easily offer a unique package compared to other regions.

“Regional integration also provides us with a strong tool to secure new market access and investment opportunities. With the challenges being brought today by globalisation, many economies are turning more towards the integration of economies for support while others for sheer survival. Seychelles is definitely no exception,” he said.

“Seychelles has recently attracted strong interest from investors in SADC member states. These include Seychelles offshore and financial services, airport and port development, agriculture, aviation, fisheries, tourism development and renewable energy, although, however, the distance and links of Seychelles and other Indian Ocean countries with the continent remains a challenge for enhancing trade and investment with the other member states.”

Mr Laporte also stressed that in the era of global economic crisis and fierce global competition for market access, it is important for South-South countries to enhance economic cooperation to promote trade and investment in the region and improve competitiveness.
On the seminar’s programme was also a session to look at other ways member states can cooperate to achieve greater yield in their initiatives by bringing out each others’ strong attributes and complement one another’s efforts rather than compete against.

The conference ended with the findings and recommendations from the various working groups being compiled into a proposed way forward for the SADC member states.