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17 government officials head to China for seminar | 02 September 2019

17 government officials head to China for seminar

Ambassador Guo Wei in a souvenir photo with the Seychellois mid-level employees who will soon be heading to China for a seminar

A group of 17 Seychellois mid-level employees from various government departments are heading off to China for a seminar from September 5-25.

Government officials who are taking part in the seminar are those directly involved in the implementation of development projects sponsored by bilateral and multilateral partners.

These include representatives from the departments of immigration, finance, infrastructure, foreign affairs and others.

China is one of the world's 10 largest providers of development assistance and has helped Seychelles with over R2.5 billion from 1976 to date.

The seminar is a bid to better understand how China's development assistance works.

The delegates were treated to a sending-off banquet on Friday evening hosted at the Chinese Embassy by the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China, Guo Wei.

Francis He, chief of the economic and commercial office at the embassy, noted that the embassy sponsors 80 to 100 Seychellois to attend various seminars in China each year.

However, Mr Francis noted that this particular seminar is the only one organised over recent years exclusively for Seychellois officials.

"The seminar is about China's foreign aid system with the aim of helping participants to better understand China's foreign aid policy and therefore take full advantage of it," he highlighted.

"China, once upon a time, was the largest foreign aid recipient in the world and is now ready to contribute to the world in return. We prefer a win-win instead of a zero-sum game and we prefer the free-trade instead of protectionism," he added.

Mr Francis stressed that about 90% of Chinese aid come in the form of grants which ensure that there are no debt-traps.

In Seychelles, the Chinese government is currently engaged in the social housing at Corgat Estate, Mont Fleuri and constructing a new headquarters for the Seychelles Broadcasting Company (SBC).

"The seminar will have its educational side where the Chinese and Seychellois delegates will find ways to improve cooperation. The participants will also discover Chinese culture,” Terrence Malbrook, project coordinator at the department of foreign affairs, later detailed.

"Each country or external party has particular conditions to their aid and, at times, not every department understands the procedures and mechanisms that our partners have. This in turn creates certain delays in the implementation of projects,” he added.

Seychelles has benefited significantly from China in various fields of cooperation such as education, capacity building, housing, sports, energy sector and health.

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