Seychelles-Sri Lanka-‘Air and maritime links vital for economic ties’


24-August-2012


President Michel and his delegation (right) during talks with Minister Rajpaksa and members of his ministry

President Michel, who is on his first official visit to Sri Lanka, met the country’s Minister for Economic Development, Basil Rohana Rajpaksa, and members of his ministry to discuss ways in which Seychelles and Sri Lanka can strengthen economic cooperation.

“Air links and maritime trade links between Seychelles and Sri Lanka are critical for the development of our economic cooperation,” President Michel said.

“We have invited Sri Lankan airlines to start flying to Seychelles in order to increase trade and travel between our countries. This would increase our volume of imports from Sri Lanka, which has more competitive prices for many commodities,” the President added.

“We are also exploring the possibilities of joint marketing for ‘two-centre’ tourism. Sri Lanka has a wealth of historical and cultural heritage which, combined with Seychelles’ unique natural beauty and world-class Creole hospitality, would be added attractions and incentives for travelers wishing to have a rich Indian Ocean experience,” said the President.

Minister Rajpaksa said that work to establish air links between the two countries would start immediately, including discussions between the respective civil aviation authorities and airlines.

President Michel said that the ‘circle of friendship’ of the Indian Ocean has great potential for trade, as well as investment opportunities for both Seychellois and Sri Lankan investors who wish to expand their activities in the tourism, fisheries and commerce sectors.

President Michel and Minister Rajpaksa also discussed the development of semi-industrial fisheries in Seychelles, with the construction of fishing vessels in Sri Lanka, which Seychellois entrepreneurs have done in the past.

President Michel with Minister Rajpaksa

Minister Rajpaksa said that Sri Lanka will extend a line of credit to Seychelles to use in trade and commercial transaction with Sri Lanka, particularly in the boat-building ventures.

It was also agreed that Seychelles and Sri Lanka will share expertise and experience in the fisheries sector.

The two delegations also discussed the potential for cottage industry development in Seychelles for cinnamon and coconut exploitation. Cinnamon oil and virgin coconut oil have become increasingly valuable commodities on the world market, and Sri Lanka has considerable experience in this sector.

President Michel also met members of the Sri Lankan business community where presentations on fisheries, renewable energy, boat-building and economic performance were made by Sri Lankan enterprises.

Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam -- who is among the delegation accompanying President Michel on the visit -- delivered a speech at the meeting, and called on the business community to foster greater partnership between the two countries.

“Seychelles and Sri Lanka are working together to empower our respective entrepreneurs. We are empowering their ability to maximise the use of our ocean to connect our islands to each other and the world,” said Minister Adam.

The other members of the Presidential delegation include the Minister for Natural Resources and Industry, Peter Sinon; the Seychelles high commissioner to India who is accredited to Sri Lanka, Waven William; the acting director general for Trade in the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment, Charles Morin; the chairperson of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority, David Savy; as well as the chairperson of the Fishing Boat Owners Association, Beatty Hoareau.

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