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Intervention by President James Michel at TICAD V, Yokohoma Japan

01.06.2013

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

We convene this TICAD Summit at a time of incredible growth and opportunity in Africa.  In this 50th year of the AU-OAU, and the 20th year of TICAD, we are determined to turn this opportunity into even more benefits for our peoples. May I also salute the leadership of Japan for fostering growth in a new and robust economic strategy at home and in Africa.

During this session, I seek to emphasize 3 main points.

My first point concerns the importance of Africa’s sustainable development, with special focus on promoting both ‘green’ and ‘blue’ economies.

Africa unfortunately bears the brunt of climate change despite its disparately small carbon footprint.

To provide a small island developing state perspective, Seychelles itself has already begun feeling its severe effects; that is coastal erosion.  Approximately 1000 of our families were affected by severe flooding in January this year, over 200 were displaced from their homes, acres of crops were destroyed, and irreplaceable natural habitats were washed away.

Seychelles is on its way to recovery – but we must all think of the day after tomorrow.

We must endeavour to lead by example as part of our campaign for change.

Africa’s growth can be revolutionary based on a low carbon footprint.  This is Africa’s opportunity to show what it can do for future generations to come.  Our efforts to upgrade Africa’s food security are also situated within our drive to achieve better sustainable models for development.

We must thus continue to promote the “green economy” within the TICAD context.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has already played a significant role in assisting in this regard - and we salute their efforts in supporting Seychelles in particular in battling coastal erosion.

 

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In regards to the “blue economy” –we believe that harnessing the development potential of our oceans is crucial for sustainable development.  The green economy has to be seen hand in hand in the context of developing of the blue economy. Africa’s islands are key to these developments.

The African Continent is surrounded by water on all fronts. 38 out of 54 countries have access to the sea, over 200 million Africans rely on fish for food and nutrition, and around 50 million are engaged in maritime-related employment.

The right investment in fisheries can truly allow African economies to redefine their ownership of their oceanic spaces, earn more from the resources found in their EEZs and simultaneously boost exports based on value addition while increasing food security.

In accordance with the principles of the AU’s “2050 Integrated Maritime Strategy”, we urge that we use this TICAD process to further mobilise support for Africa’s ‘blue economy’, and that we incorporate this concept in our Yokohama declaration and Action Plan.

Secondly, the fundamental role of the private sector cannot be stressed enough, and in this the need to create more opportunities for our young people.

Our drive for inclusivity must recognise that our youth represent powerful engines for economic prosperity today. Our investment strategies must also focus on mobilising this youthful African engine.

Finally I wish to highlight the great potential of Africa’s tourism industry.

Tourism is fast becoming a transformational sector for African economies.  It is an industry that fosters inclusiveness and spreading wealth.  By promoting sustainable tourism within TICAD, we can go beyond extractive industries as the basis for growth and enhance multiplier effects.

We believe that TICAD can enhance Africa’s resilience through investing in these sectors.

Thank you.

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