Seychelles inputs at economic forum and Madagascar process


16-May-2013

Mr Adam with SADC mediator on the Madagascar crisis, former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano

It took place under the patronage of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa.

Mr Adam and the Minister for Finance, Trade and Investment Pierre Laporte represented President James Michel at the event which was attended by a number of heads of state from Africa and around the world.

The forum traditionally provides a platform for innovative ideas to be shared among world leaders with a view to improving the state of the world economy, and with a view to improving the global framework for development.

President Zuma opened the forum by noting by having it in Africa it was in the “the right place, and the right time”.
Mr Laporte took the opportunity of the forum to show the bold moves Seychelles has taken, and is continuing to make, to make this country more competitive and also to ensure economic progress is sustainable.

In sessions on Green Growth, the Seychelles delegation emphasised that investment in renewable energy in Africa is essential for its development. In the context of Seychelles, the purchase of fossil fuels are the biggest drain on foreign exchange in the country, and renewable energy allows Seychelles to further maximise the impact of foreign exchange earnings from the pillars of the economy – tourism, fisheries and financial services.

Seychelles also called for innovations in policies and the international framework to foster green growth. The initiative of Seychelles within the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) to propose debt reduction through debt for adaptation swaps was tabled in the forum as an innovative mechanism that can transform the development options of islands, but which can also eventually be very relevant for all countries with significant debt in the African region.

Within the context of innovative mechanisms, the Seychelles delegation also spoke of its experiences in securing grant components as part of major infrastructure projects on a public private partnership basis (PPP) that would not otherwise get off the ground, the example of the undersea fibre optic cable was cited.

Seychelles has also insisted on the importance of 'the blue economy' for sustainable development, and that more attention needs to be given to the development of oceanic resources and management of these resources.  Within this context, Mr Adam remarked that more African ownership is required of the oceanic space:

"We need to be more engaged with our seas. We need to have better laws governing oceanic management.  And we need more African owned companies involved in oceanic development –  whether it is fisheries, maritime trade or tapping into resources on the ocean floor."

Governance also featured prominently in the discussions of the WEF as a key element of sustained economic development. Notably the Mo Ibrahim Index on Governance has hailed Seychelles’ strong record on governance in the continent.

"We must all start by recognising there are many areas that we must improve in. And we must also recognise, that good governance reforms have no end date – as we should always be seeking ways to better engage with our citizens. This is the core of our governance compact in Seychelles – to put the citizen at the centre of development," said Mr Adam.

In terms of gender equality, the need to ensure women are not marginalised in political and economic decision making has been highlighted as a cross cutting issue across themes, and Seychelles’ experiences also provided a positive reference point.

In the margins of the forum Mr Adam also engaged in discussions with the Southern African Development Community leadership with a view to ensuring that the elections planned for Madagascar go ahead as smoothly as possible. Seychelles has stated its regret at the decision of the President of the Transition to renege on his previous commitment not to stand in forthcoming elections, however the Seychelles delegation has stressed that the most important element remains to ensure free, fair and credible elections were held in Madagascar.
 

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