Seychelles and Indonesia join hands for SMEs development


The forum’s participants in a souvenir photograph

One of the foremost links in thriving economic cooperation between Africa and Asean is the entrepreneurial spirit of small and medium enterprise (SME), which is believed to offer sustainable growth of international business and foreign direct investment as alternative to multinationals.

Seychelles’ special envoy for Asean, Nico Barito, together with the Minister for Cooperatives and SMEs of Indonesia, Syarifudin Hasan, hosted a breakfast meeting last Friday at the Borobudur Hotel, Jakarta to socialise the joint initiative to launch the gateway for small medium business endeavours “FORSEAA” (Forum of Small Medium Enterprise Africa Asean).

The breakfast meeting was attended by Alex Retraubun, vice-minister of Industry of Indonesia, ambassadors and representatives of African countries in Jakarta and Asean Mission, and senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia.

In his opening remarks, Mr Barito stated that being a niche eco-tourism destination, Seychelles relies very much on products from Indonesia especially to complement its hospitality. 

Despite Seychelles being small in size, there exist unrivalled opportunities for businesses to select Seychelles’ profound international business and financial services. 

The existing treaty to avoid double taxation with Indonesia, the Seychelles international free trade zone and the good relationship with European partners will make Seychelles a competitive hub for Indonesia and Asean businesses to enter Africa and Europe.

Furthermore, Seychelles and its active role in the African Union and Indian Ocean Commission will also invite more friends for Africa to reciprocally utilise Indonesia as its hub for Asean businesses.

Minister Syarifudin Hasan reaffirmed that Indonesia has made its presence felt in Asean and it has been his strong intention to realise strategic partnership between the small medium business stakeholders of Indonesia with the SMEs of Seychelles.

Indonesians know that Seychelles are visited by tourists from all over the world and the presence of Indonesia SMEs in collaboration with Seychelles SMEs will create a new innovation of wide range of products to attract the exclusive tourism network from various part of the world.

Indonesia is looking for expanded advantage to work with Seychelles and Africa as a whole with its over 1 billion people in one big market.

Mr Hasan mentioned that the SME sector contributes to 60 percent of the national economic of Indonesia, and that SMEs always survive any downturn in the economy.

Further, Indonesia will be delighted to share its skills and experience in the multi discipline of SME from informal sector, micro business, small business to small medium business development to friends from Seychelles and Africa, which include the technicalities, design, brand image and financing.

The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps of Indonesia, Ambassador Alice Mageza of Zimbabwe, applauded the initiative and reiterated the full support of all African missions in Indonesia to the brilliant initiative to launch the new forum of SME Africa Asean.

Other African ambassadors and representatives present at the breakfast meeting were from Sudan, Tunisia, Somalia, Syria, Libya, Nigeria, Guinea, Burkina Faso and South Africa.

Ambassador Ngurah Swajaya, Indonesia’s permanent representative to Asean, said that the mission of FORSEAA will help more Asean countries to expand to Africa, while the director general for Small Medium Industry of the Ministry of Industry, Euis Saedah, also complimented FORSEAA and wish to include one of the niche yearly programmes Indonesian Fashion Week to incorporate Indonesia- Seychelles Fashion Week to be carried out in Seychelles.

In closing the vice-minister of Industry of Indonesia highly commended the initiative of Ministry of Cooperative of Indonesia and the government of Seychelles to establish such productive forum.

All participants from Africa and Asean missions are looking forward to the realisation of FORSEAA at the earliest convenience and looking forward to its first conference in Seychelles or Indonesia before the end of 2012.