President urges boost to Africa’s ‘blue economy’


03-June-2013

President Michel making his opening remarks at the conference


“The right investment in fisheries can truly allow African economies to redefine their ownership of their oceanic spaces, earn more from the resources found in their exclusive economic zones and simultaneously boost exports based on value addition while increasing food security. In accordance with the principles of the AU’s ‘2050 Integrated Maritime Strategy’, we urge that we use this Ticad process to further mobilise support for Africa’s ‘blue economy’,” he said.

Speaking during the opening day of the 5th Tokyo International Conference for African Development (Ticad), President Michel said that the summit opens at a time of 'incredible growth and opportunity' in Africa – in the 50th year of the AU-OAU, and the 20th year of Ticad.

The President also saluted the leadership of Japan for fostering growth in a new and robust economic strategy in Japan and in Africa.

President Michel highlighted the need to create more opportunities for the young people of Africa, and to recognise that the youth represent 'powerful engines for economic prosperity.'
He noted that there is great potential for Africa’s tourism industry as it is fast becoming a ‘transformational sector’ for African economies.

 “It is an industry that fosters inclusiveness and spreading wealth.  By promoting sustainable tourism within Ticad, we can go beyond extractive industries as the basis for growth and enhance multiplier effects,” said Mr Michel.

He also commended the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) for the significant role it played in assisting Seychelles to tackle coastal erosion, following flooding disaster in January, as he noted that Africa bears the brunt of climate change despite its disparately small carbon footprint.

A partial view of delegates during the opening session

In his opening remarks at the conference, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe pledged a Japanese assistance package to Africa worth USD 32 billion in the next five years. These will be centred on projects to boost trade and investment, private sector development, building capacity for natural resources development, building infrastructure, human resource development, science and technology research, agricultural empowerment, reducing deforestation and reduction of carbon energy consumption, disaster reduction (especially island countries) and providing quality education, a business women exchange programme, support for health capacity building as well as improving access to safe water and sanitation.

The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki Moon, the President of the African Union, Hailemariam Desalegn (who is also the Prime Minister of Ethiopia), World Bank Group President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, the UNDP administrator, Helen Clark, and the African Union Commission chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma also addressed the opening of the international conference.

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