Seychelles was represented at the Meeting of Foreign Ministers ahead of the India-Africa Summit on 27th October by Ambassador Barry Faure, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, standing in for Foreign Minister Joël Morgan. Ambassador Faure, delivering Seychelles’ statement at the meeting which was highly attended, said: “This Third India-Africa Summit is an opportunity for us to jointly assess achievements, scrutinize problematic areas and map out new avenues in which to build the India-Africa Partnership and the implementation of the newly-revised Africa-India Framework of Cooperation. This new framework of cooperation is timely in that it has allowed us the opportunity to refocus our collaborative efforts on key areas of our African development aspirations, articulated through the Agenda 2063, to areas where India enjoys a unique position of expertise and comparative advantage.”
Speaking to the subject of the partnership between India and Africa, the Seychelles statement ariculates why Africa has selected India as a development partner: “Our Union has a vision for the continent, one of growth and prosperity, and we are coming to a limited, but uniquely qualified number of partners who we recognise as friends and development partners of Africa as we continue on our journey. India is one such partner, a partner who has a unique experience of transforming its economy for the benefit of its people, despite a global system that offers more impediment than support. We have very convergent aspirations and visions towards poverty eradication, economic growth and prosperity as we enter the 21st century.”
Elaborating further on the “mutually beneficial” partnership between the two regions, the Seychelles statement talks of the “inseparable ties and bonds of friendship that bind our two continents” and “the determination of Africa to partner in India’s economic resurgence and in the commitment of India to be a trusted partner in Africa’s renaissance”.
The Seychelles statement also addresses questions of climate change, sustainability, the blue economy and trade.
On climate change, the Seychelles statement calls for “a new dynamism in south-south cooperation” to “face up to the global challenges that are threatening our collective futures”.
It says: “It doesn’t take much to connect the dots and see that the majority of the problems and environmental disasters we are facing today can be traced back to the continued abuse of our planet. It certainly doesn’t take much to see who is going to pay the price. We are. And our future generation if the matter is not addressed in a collective and very holistic manner.”
Speaking on the newly-adopted Sustainable Development Goals, the Seychelles statement clarifies: “Sustainability is not just the new ‘it’ word, it is the very foundation of any future we hope to have. The ability to maintain sustainable development resilience is paramount for survival of all our economies. Environmental protection and the ability to exploit our resourses in a carefully considered manner is part and parcel of that.”
The Foreign Affairs statement hails the importance that the renewed partnership gives to the Blue Economy whilst singling out the need for adequate port facilities and marine transportation to boost trade, our maritime defences, and to allow for the judicious exploitation of ocean resources.
On trade, the Seychelles statement shows deep appreciation to India for introducing and expanding its Duty Free Trade Preference Scheme for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to allow for greater trade flows and strengthening their economies. It, however, appeals for the extension of the scheme to ALL African countries, Seychelles being a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) and, as such, having specific peculiarities and vulnerabilities that require special consideration in international trade and development policies.
The New Delhi meeting was also attended by resident High Commissioner to India, Waven William, Ambassador to the African Union with residence in Addis, Joseph Nourrice, Director General for Trade, Cillia Mangroo, and Second Secretary in the Seychelles High Commission to India, Patsy Moustache. The Summit is due to take place on 29th October, and President James Michel is to be represented by Foreign Minister Joël Morgan.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles