China grants USD 6 million for new Supreme Court building in Seychelles

Posted in International relations, Seychelles government at 12:03 pm by Robert Klien

On November 25, Chinese ambassador Wang Weiguo and Seychellois Finance Minister Danny Faure signed an agreement for the equivalent of a USD 6 million grant.

This money will be used for financing a new Supreme Court building at Ile du Port that will be called the Palais de Justice.

The signing ceremony took place at Liberty House. Among thos who attended the ceremony were Justice Duraikannu Karunakaran – standing in for Chief Justice Frederick Egonda-Ntende – Supreme Court master and registrar Melchior Vidot, technical adviser in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jeanette D’Offay, director general in the ministry Conrad Mederic as well as top officials from the Embassy of Chinese.

The new building will be started in April. Its completion is to take 18 months. It will house 8 Supreme Court rooms and an extra one for the Court of Appeal, but not the Magistrates’ Courts, for which other arrangements will be made.

Faure expressed his gratitude to the government and people of China and noted that they have so far contributed to the education, health and housing sectors. Also, he said that the Chinese government is funding the new National Assembly building.


AfDB ends mission on new bonds

Posted in Diplomatic missions, International relations at 3:19 pm by Robert Klien

A team from the African Development Bank (AfDB) has recently ended a 2-day visit to Seychelles. The visit was aimed at discussing new bonds to be issued.

Advance talks have been held by the mission with the authorities. The talks regarded request for a partial guarantee to be attached to the new bonds. These will result from Seychelles’ forthcoming external debt exchange offer. As part of this offer, holders of eligible claims will be invited to tender their instruments for new bonds – these are holders who will include the 9.125% Eurobond due in 2011.

The AfDB is expected to complete its review of the partial guarantee proposal in the next few weeks. The government intends to launch the exchange offer shortly.


President Michel on working visit in Lebanon

Posted in Business and Economy, International relations at 12:47 pm by Robert Klien

On November 18, President James Michel held bilateral talks with the Lebanese President, General Michel Sleiman.

During this working visit to Beirut. the President aimed at strengthening cooperation and bilateral relations with Lebanon. Also, he intended to exchange ideas on economic development and investment opportunities.

Michel said that Seychelles and Lebanon have much in common in the way they manage economies, environment and tourism marketing. Both jurisdictions have strong tourism industries, and exchanging knowledge and information in this field could be useful for both countries.

The presidents discussed the piracy in the western Indian Ocean and touched upon the issue of the way the global economic crisis influences the tourism industries of both countries.

Michel spoke of the Seychelles’ success in its economic reform programme as well as stressed its achievements in environmental sustainability.

According to General Sleiman, following a slowdown in Lebanon’s economy, it is starting to experience growth in many fields.

The presidents exchanged opinions on this week’s Lebanon 2020 National Summit where Michel was to be a keynote address.


World Bank approves EUR 6.5 million loan for Seychelles

Posted in Business and Economy, International relations at 11:49 am by Robert Klien

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has endorsed the Interim Strategy Note (ISN) for re-engagement with Seychelles and has approved a Development Policy Loan (DPL) of EUR 6.5 million to the jurisdiction.

After 17 years, the Interim Strategy Note is the 1st for Seychelles and lays out a 2-year Bank re-engagement strategy for the country.

The DPL that was approved by the Board will assist the country in implementing the economic reform programme.

It is an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) fixed spread facility with a 25.5 years maturity.


Seychelles to return to UK market

Posted in Business and Economy, International relations at 11:49 am by Robert Klien

A delegation left Seychelles in order to take part in the World Travel Market (WTM). The event was held in London on November 9-12.

The delegation was led by Vice-President Joseph Belmont and Seychelles’ director for tourism marketing Alain St Ange. Seychelles’ presence at the trade fair was significant as it was a message to the world that Seychelles is back in the United Kingdom.

The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) is reopening an office in London after it was closed in 2008. The market has suffered, so the delegation was working hard during the 4 days at the WTM in order to address the lower-than-expected visitor arrival figures from the United Kingdom. Today, visitor arrivals from the United Kingdom stand at 18% below the 2008 figure.

Also, Mr Belmont and Mr St Ange met the British media and answered their questions.


Chinese Minister for Culture in talks with Seychelles’ President

Posted in Diplomatic missions, International relations at 11:41 am by Robert Klien

At the end of October, Chinese Minister for Culture Cai Wu was on a 3-day official visit to Seychelles. During this visit, he held talks with President James Michel and Minister Vincent Meriton.

Mr Cai was leading a delegation at the invitation of his Seychellois counterpart Mr Meriton. This visit formed part of the Chinese Culture in Focus 2009 programme from April until the end of October. The programme was aimed to promote cultural exchanges between China and African countries.

The Chinese team had a chance to discuss and share views on further improving cultural exchanges and cooperation with their Seychellois counterparts.

It should be mentioned that diplomatic relations between Seychelles and China were opened many years ago, and since that cultural ties have been substantially developing. In 1983, the 2 countries signed an agreement of cultural cooperation. Mr Cai noted that recent visits by President James Michel to China and President Hu Jintao to Seychelles have further strengthened bilateral relations between the countries and boosted cultural cooperation.


IMF and World Bank discuss Seychelles’ economic reforms a year after launch

Posted in Seychelles government at 9:26 pm by Robert Klien

On October 30, representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and of the World Bank gave presentations on the economic performance a year after the launch of reforms in Seychelles. Presenters included Paul Mathieu of the IMF and Tracey Lane of the World Bank.

The representatives noted that the situation was getting out of hand with foreign reserves being nearly depleted when unsustainable debts were run amongst widespread shortage of foreign exchange. But a year after the launch the situation has changed.

The symposium said the government of Seychelles has been able to cut its spending and that currently it is running more efficiently (for example, health and education sector has more resources at their disposal as compared with some developed countries).


Seychelles’ Central Bank to discuss reforms

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles banking at 12:03 pm by Robert Klien

On November 3, the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) will host a special event in its series of anniversary lectures at the International Conference Centre.

This year’s lecture is titled “Seychelles’ economic reforms, one year on – what the future holds”.

The event will be a round-table discussion of the reform programme started in November 2008. At the event, the results that have been achieved so far will be outlined. Also, the challenges that have arisen and the outlook for future reforms that will come will be discussed. After the discussion, the participants may ask questions to the speakers.

The panel of the speakers will include:

•    Moderator Peter Sinon,
•    principal secretary for finance Ahmed Afif,
•    CBS governor  Pierre Laporte,
•    Seychelles Bankers’ Association Jocelyn Ah Yu,
•    Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry Dr V. Ramados,
•    Lungos (civil society) the Rev Christine Benoit,
•    Seychelles Polytechnic Sheera Philoe,
•    manufacturing sector  Aubrey Lucas,
•    fishing sector Beatty Hoareau,
•    small business Santasha Hoareau.