Finance Minister Laporte receives 2 international honours

Posted in Diplomatic missions, International relations, Seychelles government at 1:17 pm by Robert Klien

Last week, Finance, Trade and Investment Minister Pierre Laporte received 2 international awards.

First, he was awarded the Southern African Finance Minister of the Year Award for 2013 by the International Leadership Magazine. On May 5-6, the US-Africa Investment Forum and International Business Leadership award was held in Houston, Texas, United States of America. The forum was held on the margins of the 2014 annual Offshore Technology Conference organised by the African Leadership Magazine in collaboration with its sponsors and partners. Held under the theme ‘Africa Rising – Driving Investments, Innovation, Growth & Competitiveness in the New Frontier’ the forum recognised and honoured those who have excelled through actions and best practices which have helped the people in communities across Africa. The award presented to Minister Laporte was in recognition of his “exceptional stewardship which led to global acclaim for the economic recovery of Seychelles leading to unprecedented growth and macro-economic stability in the country, initially as Central Bank of Seychelles governor, and later as Finance Minister.”

Second, Laporte received the Special Commendation Award from the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus – the biggest caucus in the State of Georgia House of Representatives. The award is the highest honour presented by the Georgia legislative body in honour of outstanding contribution and service to humanity. It was presented by the Honourable Dee Dawkins-Haigler, chair of the Caucus. The legislative body’s resolution for the award recognises Minister Laporte as an integral part of Seychelles’ changing fortunes and for playing a key role in the country’s successful economic transformation as part of the International Monetary Fund-supported reform package of 2008. The Caucus also recognised his role as the former IMF resident representative in Africa (Niger).

Minister Laporte dedicated both awards to his family as well as to the government and people of Seychelles.


New Zambian high commissioner to Seychelles accredited

Posted in Diplomatic missions, International relations at 2:14 pm by Robert Klien

On March 4, the new Zambian high commissioner to Seychelles, Chilufya Mumbi Phiri, presented her credentials to President James Michel in a brief ceremony at State House.

After meeting the President, Mrs Phiri announced that Zambia and Seychelles intend to renew diplomatic relations in the fields of tourism, trade and agriculture.

While Zambia has a lot to learn from Seychelles where tourism is concerned, she said, its government also wishes to attract Seychellois investors.

Mrs Phiri said: “In the tourism sector we have a lot to learn from Seychelles. Zambia wants to diversify from mining to tourism, trade and agriculture. So we want to develop necessary infrastructure in order to attract investors, including from Seychelles. For example, as part of the ‘Link Zambia 2000 Programme’ we want to land link every part of our country. As Seychelles depends a lot on importation and we have vast land in Zambia, we can invite investors to grow food in Zambia”.

According to Mrs Phiri, it is safe to invest in Zambia as it is one of the safest countriesin the world: “Zambia has been declared one of the safest places in the world. Zambia is the mother of democracy. We are the ones in Africa which started multi-partism and we have changed five presidents democratically without any war. So it is safe to invest in Zambia.”

It was concluded that Seychellois government officials will be invited to Zambia in order to explore cooperation possibilities.


Seychelles’ consuls meet in London

Posted in Diplomatic missions, Seychelles government at 10:43 am by Robert Klien

Last week, the Seychelles high commission in London arranged the 1st meeting with Seychelles consuls falling under its jurisdiction.

The meeting was aimed at collaboration as regards helping Seychelles achieve its targets and vision as a nation. It provided an opportunity for the consuls to share experiences as well as add constructive input for the bi-annual consuls’ conferences.

Seychelles’ high commissioner in London, Marie Pierre Lloyd, opened this meeting. She thanked the consuls on behalf of President James Michel and Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Paul Adam for coming to London for this first meeting. Lloyd urged the consuls to continue putting to maximum use their expertise, skills resources, and network of contacts at the service of Seychelles.

The recommendations and conclusions derived from discussions will be shared at the consuls meeting to be held in Seychelles in April 2014.


Seychelles’ Commitment to access WTO membership welcomed

Posted in Bilateral Treaties, Business and Economy, Diplomatic missions, International Organisations, International relations at 8:48 am by Robert Klien

The Seychelles has been praised for undertaking reforms of its legislative and trade regime aimed to achieve membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

On July 10, 2012, WTO member states at the 3rd Working Party on the Seychelles’ accession reviewed the state of play in the bilateral market access negotiations and examined legislative developments and its trade regime.

According to the Chief Negotiator for the Seychelles, Charles Morin, significant progress has been made to meet accession requirements. In April and May 2012, revised goods and services offers were presented. Despite the limited human and financial resources, the Seychelles has made remarkable progress. Also, he noted that the jurisdiction has recently established a mission in Geneva. It was emphasized that the Seychelles has a unique position as one of the smallest economies in the world and its economy is prone to external shocks.

Representatives from the EU, the US, China, Canada, Australia, Lesotho (on behalf of the African Group), Oman, Brazil, Mauritius (on behalf of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group), India, South Africa, and Barbados expressed their appreciation for the substantive work that Seychelles has undertaken to advance its accession. Some members voiced their support for allowing for more flexibility in the accession of such a small and vulnerable economy as the Seychelles.

The Chairperson of the Working Party, Hilda Ali Al-Hinai (from Oman), said that the examination of all aspects of the Seychelles’ economic and trade regime has been advanced at the meeting. She congratulated the Seychelles for successfully establishing a mission in Geneva as well as praised it for the quantity and quality of the documents it has submitted.

The Seychelles began its accession bid in 1995. It has already signed three bilateral market access agreements with Oman, Mauritius and Canada. In addition, the EU, South Africa, Thailand, and the US have registered progress in the bilateral negotiations with the Seychelles.


Seychelles’ President on working visit to India

Posted in Diplomatic missions, International relations at 12:12 pm by Robert Klien

In the beginning of February 2012, President James Michel travels to India in order to address the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit 2012.

The 2-day summit opens on Februaty 2 in Delhi. It will be inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The President is to make an address on the challenges of small islands states in the face of continuing climate change, as well as key targets for international climate change negotiations in the future.

The Delhi Sustainable Development Summit 2012 will also be attended by the Finnish President Tarja Halonen, and the President of Kiribati Anote Tong, as well as former heads of state and heads of governments, decision-makers from governments, private sector, non-governmental organisations, multi/bilateral organisations, academia and research institutions. Also, Nobel Laureate Dr Elinor Ostrom (Professor, Columbia University, USA), former deputy Prime Minister of the UK, John Prescott, and the former Governor of California (USA), Arnold Schwazenegger, will participate and talk at the event.


Seychelles’ Ambassador Nourrice accredited to Mozambique

Posted in Diplomatic missions, International relations at 4:46 pm by Robert Klien

Joseph Nourrice has been accredited as Seychelles’ high commissioner to Mozambique. On November 16, he presented his credentials to Mozambican President Armando Guebuza. Mr Nourrice is also Seychelles’ resident high commissioner in South Africa.

Mr Nourrice is Seychelles’ 2nd high commissioner since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the jurisdiction and Mozambique in 1983.

During his audience with President Guebuza, discussions centred on some of the common interests of the two countries of which piracy was prominently featured.

Mozambique’s President Guebuza expressed satisfaction at the level of relationship between the two countries as well as noted the need to further enhance co-operation at bilateral level in new emerging areas. It was said that with globalization cooperation within the region is becoming more important and, so it should be further developed at both bilateral and multilateral levels.


Seychellois President meets Australian Governor-General to discuss trade

Posted in Diplomatic missions, International relations at 3:32 pm by Robert Klien

On August 23, 2011, President James Michel and the Governor-General of Australia, Quentin Bryce, met in Canberra to hold talks. The meeting was focused on trade, education, and conservation.

On the 2nd day of his state visit to Australia, President Michel was greeted in the Australian capital by Mrs Bryce. Following his arrival, the President visited the Australian War Memorial and laid a wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier as well as observed the President inspecting a Guard of Honour minute of silence.

Governor-General Bryce and Seychelles’ President Michel discussed cooperation between Seychelles and Australia, in the fields of trade, education, and conservation. Mr Michel said that the traditional ties between Seychelles and Australia are strong; particularly as many Seychellois reside in Australia and contribute positively to society. Also, Seychelles and Australia are partners in ensuring better governance of their environmental assets and acting on climate change.

The meeting was attended by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam, the chief executive officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Alain St Ange, the vice-chancellor of the University of Seychelles, Rolph Payet, and the Seychelles high commissioner to India, Dick Esparon, who is accredited to Australia.


Seychelles’ opinion is respected abroad

Posted in Diplomatic missions, Seychelles government at 6:04 pm by Robert Klien

When welcoming the Seychelles’ overseas-based ambassadors at State House on May 17, President Michel heard that Seychelles is well-respected abroad and that other countries listen when this jurisdiction offers guidance or ideas towards global efforts.

The overseas based ambassadors present at the meeting yesterday were Claude Morel (France), Ronny Jumeau (USA), Dick Esparon (India), Vivianne Fock Tave (Belgium), Joseph Nourrice (South Africa). Also, 2 ambassadors based in Seychelles – Maurice Loustau-Lalanne and Marie-Pierre Lloyd – where present. Patrick Pillay (England) and Philippe Le Gall (China) were the ambassadors who could not attend the meeting.

Claude Morel, the longest-serving ambassador, said: “Our contribution at bilateral, multilateral and also at non-governmental organisations’ levels is appreciated”.

During the annual meeting, the ambassadors informed Michel on the efforts being made by them and progress they have achieved.

Foreign Affairs Minister Jean Paul Adam said as Head of State, President Michel leads all diplomatic efforts so the ambassadors meet him and share ideas on what strategies to adopt. According to him, the meeting focused on piracy, small island states’ issues and climate change.


Seychelles’ Vice President visits Oman to talk about piracy

Posted in Diplomatic missions, International relations at 7:04 pm by Robert Klien

In mid-January, Seychelles’ Vice President Danny Faure made an official visit to Oman. The threat that piracy poses to sea trade was one of the most significant issues on the agenda.

Faure was accompanied by Foreign Minister Jean-Paul Adam and director general for trade Melanie Stravens. During the 2-day visit, he had talks with Omani Deputy Prime Minister Fahd bin Mahmud al-Said.

According to the Office of the Vice-President, Oman and Seychelles have enjoyed long-standing diplomatic relations, and now the 2 jurisdictions are expanding their trade relations.

It should be reminded that Seychelles has bilateral agreements with Oman for air services and double taxation avoidance (DTA). Also, the 2 countries have agreements for the tourism and fisheries sectors signed in 2002 and 2010. A memorandum of understanding has been negotiated by the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry with its Omani counterparts, and it is to be signed soon.


IMF says Seychelles’ economy continues to recover

Posted in Business and Economy, Diplomatic missions, International Organisations at 3:19 pm by Robert Klien

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the economy of Seychelles is expected to grow by more than 6% in 2010 due to its government’s track record of sound fiscal and monetary policy management.

In May 2010, the IMF suggested that the economy of Seychelles has shown strong resilience to global financial shocks of the year 2009 and its economy is recovering faster than expected from measures taken to adjust it. In October 2010, the IMF mission assessed the Seychelles’ economy and stated that the Seychelles’ economy continues to recover strongly.

Jean Le Dem, leader of the IMF mission, said: “Its far-reaching economic program, supported by the IMF, under which the government removed all exchange restrictions, floated the currency, liberalized interest rates, introduced a modern monetary policy framework, and significantly tightened fiscal policy, has borne fruit. Inflation has fallen from over 30% in 2008 to low single digits and the exchange rate has stabilized. It also helped Seychelles successfully restructure most of its external debt obligations, returning Seychelles to a path towards sustainable debt levels.”

Le Dem suggested that prospects for 2011 are favourable. He also urged the jurisdiction to continue with its ambitious agenda of structural reforms, including the modernization of the tax system aimed to usher in a value-added tax (VAT). The government launched a comprehensive reform of the tax system with the 2010 budget, of which the 1st stage was the introduction of a revised Business Tax Act from January 1, 2010, while the 2nd stage has been the introduction, from July 1, 2010, of a withholding-based personal income tax (PIT) on wages to replace social security contributions. VAT will be introduced in Seychelles from January 1, 2012.

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