President offers advice for African leaders


The UN Africa Renewal article carrying the exclusive interview

In an exclusive interview, Africa Renewal – which is published at the UN’s New York headquarters – asked Mr Michel recently:

“What advice would you give to emerging leaders in Africa?”
 “Invest in the people and have belief in them, especially the young generation. No nation is built in a day. The culture of popular participation, openness and good governance helps a great deal. Africa is a huge continent waiting for new things to happen. This is the excitement!” he answered.

Earlier, an Africa Renewal journalist has asked him why his country is always ranked high on economic management and good governance, to which Mr Michel said:

“Just after independence 35 years ago, we started investing in the welfare of our nation. All our money, and the assistance we got from partners overseas, was well-spent on education, health, decent housing and infrastructure.

“We were determined to move Seychelles from an economic backwater to a middle-income country. “We are a nation of opportunities. We spend on education and learning, giving young people and professionals the chance to develop themselves and increase their knowledge.

“With a more educated population, there are greater demands for transparency. There is greater debate and exchange of ideas, and with these there is an increased sense of scrutiny.”

He said we have a vibrant democracy where government actions are scrutinised by politicians and different bodies, the media and other stakeholders.

“We have to deliver and always look for ways to do better. People have to know where their money is being spent, and see the tangible results of the investments. We are happy we have established the tradition of good economic management and good governance,” he said.

He said though some Seychellois thought change would not come fast enough after he became President, “the majority saw from the day of my swearing-in that I was pushing for a modern economy and I was for dialogue with representatives of all sections of our population. I was ushering in greater transparency, involving more people in national affairs.

It was necessary at the same time to have some continuity, and maintain stability”.

The publication said Mr Michel took a gamble when he liberalised the economy in 2008 and asked him for details of how the economy “was turned around”.

The publication – which is available online – also carries Mr Michel’s answers to their questions on the role of Seychelles in the anti-piracy fight and climate change.