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Intervention by President James Michel at the Plenary Session of TICAD V, Yokohama, Japan

02.06.2013

Peace and stability are the platforms on which we can build truly inclusive growth for Africa- and we salute the efforts of  Japan which complement those of our African Union.

During this session, I seek to emphasize 2 key points- cross border maritime security and the importance of management of our ‘blue economies’.

Political instability and conflict is a hotbed for terrorism and other illicit activities - including the trade of arms and narcotics, human trafficking, and maritime piracy – which are all transnational threats.

These elements do not remain in the countries in which they are cultivated- by their very nature they diffuse from the local to the national and international level.

We applaud Japan for convening the special conference on Somalia which provides additional momentum to the progress achieved at the London Conference on Somalia earlier this month.

We salute the efforts of the government in Somalia to take ownership in the task of rebuilding from the ground up. A legitimate government has been implemented; Al Shabab is losing ground, pirates are being prosecuted and incarcerated, and piracy attacks are on the decline.

We must also continue to highlight the positive role which can be played by Somalia’s immediate neighbourhood, of which Seychelles is part.

Seychelles also continues to try its best to contribute to the process of establishing stability in the region.

We have recently launched the Regional Anti Piracy and Prosecution Intelligence Coordination Centre (RAPPICC) – aimed at ensnaring not only the ‘foot soldiers’ but the financiers of  transnational crimes that use the ocean as their conduit for illicit activities.

Cross-border maritime law enforcement must also be strengthened and judicial systems must be improved.  Regionally and internationally, we must continue in the sharing of intelligence and information.

While these efforts must be African-led – we look to Japan for its continued support.

Secondly I would like to stress the importance of combating maritime piracy for the sake of our “blue economies”.

The “blue economy” is a relatively new concept that warrants serious attention by Africa, as well as the global community.

Let us not understate the power of Africa’s oceans- and it is this power that we believe can be enhanced based on Japan’s experience.

We want to keep maritime routes open and safe at all times for trade, fisheries, tourism, research and natural resources development.

If secured and used sustainably, Africa’s oceans offer vast opportunities for growth, and feed into Africa’s greater peace and stability.

Seychelles is pleased to see that the Yokohama Declaration and Action Plan make reference to cross-border issues such as maritime piracy – and urge Japan to continue its steady support in helping to combat such transnational threats and stabilizing fragile states.

We also urge that in connection with the need to secure our oceans and harness its valuable resources in a sustainable way, TICAD gives appropriate focus to the ‘blue economy’ concept. We request that this emerging concept be incorporated into the Yokohama Declaration and Action Plan.

Doing so will help us to build on the AU’s “2050 Integrated Maritime Strategy”.

Thank you.

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