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‘Seychelles’ lead in gender parity in Africa a key success’ |16 June 2015

Seychelles is ranked number one in Africa for gender parity and President James Michel has described it as a momentous achievement for the country.

“The award for gender parity gives us the opportunity to take stock of what we have done and move forward to do better still to move Africa forward,” said President Michel at the end of the 25th African Union summit held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Seychelles society is said to be matriarchal with the women wielding great influence in the home and in the public sphere.
The theme of this year’s summit was ‘Year of Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063’.

“The theme is not only of great interest to Seychelles but it also gives us the possibility to tell the African Union about our successes, what we have achieved. We also have some good examples of what we have done. It is also an opportunity for Seychelles to share its successes with other countries of the continent because we believe in women empowerment. We’ve done it and are still doing it and we have achieved success.

“We have achieved a lot in empowering our women, our girls in education, health, shelter, in development generally. We have given girls and women in Seychelles opportunities for them to move forward and we have seen results. Today Seychelles has moved forward into a transformation mode which has no precedence. I was able to share this with my counterparts in the summit,” said President Michel in an interview with the Seychelles media.

He noted that “if Africa is to move forward we have to empower our women. The prerequisites are education and health. Let’s do that, let’s liberate them. Give them the opportunities and resources to move forward and we will see the change”.

The President noted that “we cannot change Africa with only one hand. We can change Arica using both hands. So let’s use our women to change Africa”.
While sharing Seychelles’ successes with our African brothers, President Michel said Seychelles has achieved most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and now we are working towards the post-2015 agenda which will be further discussed at the United Nations summit in September.

“For Africa to move forward towards the Agenda 2063, all African countries must meet the MDGs and work towards sustainable development for the continent. This is the only way forward. We have to do it with all our human resources we have available. For Africa to achieve the vision of 2063, it needs stability, peace. The continent does not need wars. We need peace through negotiation so that Africa becomes really the continent of the future,” added President Michel.

The President addressed the summit late in the evening on Sunday following the official opening.
He also met the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma yesterday morning.

During the meeting, they spoke about the Blue Economy and the Day of the Seas declared by the African Union in July.

“I have thanked her for all her help given towards Seychelles’ cause and for adding the Blue Economy to the African Union agenda for the next 10 years and to the agenda 2063. We have also discussed the need to network and see how Seychelles can continue to benefit through the economic infrastructure of African projects. It is important that island states also benefit from this infrastructure,” said President Michel who added that he has also invited Mrs Zuma to attend the next Blue Economy summit in Abu Dhabi in January 2016.

The AU has also declared that 2015 to 2025 will be Africa's Decade of Seas and Oceans, with July 25 declared as Africa's Day of the Seas.

Talking about his meeting with Cabo Verde President Jorge Carlos Fonseca who visited Seychelles last year for our National Day, President Michel said they have discussed issues common to both island states.

“We’ve discussed the vulnerability index and the debt swap which is an initiative of Seychelles which we have shared with our African brothers,” said the President who added that a possible exchange visit will give us the opportunity to discuss such issues further.




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