Book launch: ‘Seychelles: How Classic Policies Restored Sustainability’-Seychellois people’s resilience, sacrifices and willpower crowned


President Michel and Dr Dlamini-Zuma after they had been presented with a copy of the book by Minister Laporte (right)

Written by Sawkut Rojid, an economist at the World Bank; Emilio Sacerdoti, senior advisor to the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment; and former finance principal secretary Ahmed Afif, the book was launched in a special ceremony yesterday afternoon at State House.

President James Michel was presented with a copy of the book by Finance, Trade and Investment Minister Pierre Laporte who also gave a copy to special guest for the National Day celebrations, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the chairperson of the African Union Commission.

Former President James Mancham, Vice-President Danny Faure, ministers, dignitaries, members of the Seychelles National Assembly and other distinguished guests attended the ceremony.

“Four and a half years ago, we had to make a very difficult decision. The economic situation was such that, to ensure our very survival as a nation, we had to embark on a radical programme of reforms. I was convinced, though, that we could rise above our challenges if we were united and determined. And, indeed, we have been vindicated,” said President Michel.

The President thanked all Seychellois for their efforts. He noted that the book tells the story of a an economic crisis faced by a small country which highlights the Seychellois people’s resilience, sacrifices and willpower during this difficult time and how it was able to surpass such economic crisis.
Mr Michel said he hopes the book will inspire and guide other countries.

‘Seychelles: How Classic Policies Restored Sustainability’ illustrates one of the many achievements of Seychelles during those 20 years in relation to the global economic crisis of 2008 which impelled Seychelles to embark on a very comprehensive macro-economic reform programme, together with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the European Union. It gives a clear insight of the deep economic crisis Seychelles endured and how the country reacted to the situation, working to ensure the best outcome for its people, which led to a remarkable success through the reform programme.

Thanking the people of Seychelles, Mr Michel said “in many ways, this book would not have been written had it not been for their resilience, their understanding and sacrifices”.
He also had words of thanks for the World Bank for co-sponsoring the book and expressed his appreciation to its authors, and all those who have contributed toward its realisation, for an inspiring piece of work.

Finance, Trade and Investment Minister Pierre Laporte said he recalled as if it was yesterday, when President Michel made the wake-up call to our nation.

“The message was strong and straightforward; that the time had come for the people of Seychelles to wake up to a new reality. But the message also carried hope; hope that under his leadership, his government had the right policies needed to get Seychelles out of trouble. But more importantly, hope for the people that while major sacrifices were needed, no one would be left behind and the assurance that the more vulnerable would be protected at all cost,” said Minister Laporte.

He noted that the months following the announcement proved difficult as the measures were austere and the results initially harsh – 17% of the workforce was laid off, liberalisation of the exchange rate led to a devaluation of over 85% and inflation doubled in a couple of months.

The minister noted that during a time when economies across the world – small or large – continue to struggle to find economic recovery, Seychelles has an economic climate characterised by positive growth, budgetary discipline, a debt trajectory leading towards sustainability, and an ever-improving business environment.

“The book rightly recognises the sacrifices of the Seychellois people.  We often talk of how unlike in many other places, the Seychellois people throughout the difficult moments stood in unity and tolerance,” said Minister Laporte.

He also described the book as a story about how a country and its economy, on its knees and staring into the abyss found the strength and courage to pick itself up, and through great vision of its leader, courage, determination, and sacrifice, overcame what seemed to be an insurmountable challenge, to bring hope and prosperity for its people, and an inspiration for the rest of the world.

The launch of the book ‘Seychelles: How Classic Policies Restored Sustainability’ was one of the many events to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the third Republic of Seychelles.

The work benefitted from the much-appreciated guidance of Vice-President Faure, Minister Laporte, World Bank chief economist for Africa Shanta Devarajan, World Bank country director for Seychelles Haleh Bridi, and World Bank sector manager for poverty reduction and economic management John Panzer,
The book has been sponsored by the government of Seychelles, the office of the chief economist of the World Bank regional vice-presidency for Africa and the Seychelles country management unit of the World Bank regional vice-presidency for Africa (AFCS4).