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Remarks by jean-Paul Adam, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles at the opening of the ‘ African Union Tourism Development Strategy Meeting: Tourism , a transformative for Africa.”- Kempinski Resort, Seychelles Friday 14th March 2014

14.03.2014

 

Dr. Elham Mahmood Ahmed Ibrahim, AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy,

Ministers and Heads of Delegation,

Ambassador Baso Sangqu, AU Chief Advisor

Representatives from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

To make the African Union’s Agenda 2063 a reality- we must reinforce those economic fundamentals that will truly transform Africa’s development potential.

All those who have joined us here today are united in our belief that tourism provides us with one of these fundamentals.

It is clear to all that Africa already has a great economic story to tell.  Our shared and sustained growth has allowed investors to see Africa as the real land of opportunity that we know it to be.

However- as we continue to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our African Union- we know that the transformation of the next 50 years must go beyond exports of raw materials and extractive industries.

Tourism allows us to construct this new narrative about Africa.

A narrative of inclusive growth.  A narrative of wealth shared across borders.  A narrative of sustainable development based on creating opportunities for local populations.

There is no stronger narrative to drive Agenda 2063.

Excellencies and ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to express our appreciation to the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma for giving her support to this vision following her visit to Seychelles last year, and thus for making it a key part of our discussions for the next 50 years.  I also thank H.E Dr. Elham Mahmood Ahmed Ibrahim, the AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, for ensuring that we work in partnership to give substance to this vision.

In our strategic exchanges, we aim to build on the work of NEPAD action plan which identifies many key interventions- but perhaps most importantly stresses policy coherence across our continent.  It is essential that we reinforce our understanding of what are the key deliverables for transformation in Africa.  These are deliverables that must start at a local level, which are also owned at a national level, and which also build synergies with regional initiatives such as our own Vanilla Island concept, and which fit into a framework for tourism on our continent.

Our Tourism Strategy initiative builds on the pillars of African economic independence which are embedded in the ideals of our Union.

By strengthening the wealth creation of our continent we will boost our regional integration, while also boosting internal demand for production of goods and provision of services.

To ensure the success of this strategy- we need a continent which is better branded, better connected, better trained.

In our discussions I look forward to exchanging on ways in which we can reinforce an African tourism brand which takes the strengths of all our existing national and regional efforts to create an unprecedented global impact.  Together, we will be offering more than just beaches and safaris.  More than just eco-tourism and cultural immersion.  We will be offering a truly African experience in all its diversity.

I look forward to exploring how we can truly liberate Africa’s airways and seaways to facilitate travel within Africa, and from beyond.  We must connect ourselves to each other and to the world to ensure that globalisation is an opportunity and not a risk.

And we look forward to exchanging on the ways to create better earning jobs for all our people, while ensuring that we reinforce the skills acquisition that will make African tourism a global leader in terms of hospitality and service.

Excellences,

Mesdames et Messieurs,

Aux Seychelles, nous n'avons jamais eu d'énormes ressources naturelles au point d’en faire le pilier de notre économie nationale. Le tourisme est devenu notre pilier, parce que nous avons fait des ressources humaines notre pilier.

Développer convenablement le tourisme, c'est donc investir dans les ressources humaines comme élément central de notre développement.

Toutefois, nous sommes conscients combien les gains du tourisme peuvent être très fragiles. Il suffit que le spectre d’un conflit commence à émerger dans la région pour qu’une ombre plane aussitôt sur les perspectives de développement touristique. En effet, le défi de la piraterie nous a montré comment une menace initialement localisée devient un phénomène qui peut drastiquement modifier nos recettes touristiques.

C’est dire que les efforts visant à renforcer notre stratégie continentale sont les moyens par lesquels nous pouvons bâtir notre résistance, ce à travers des partenariats.

Mesdames et Messieurs,

Les Nations Unies ont proclamé  2014 comme l'Année internationale des petits États insulaires en développement. Et en tant que petit État insulaire d'Afrique, les Seychelles savent que son  développement durable est indubitablement lié d’abord et avant tout à ses partenariats en Afrique. En effet, nous ne nous développerons, que si seulement notre région se développe.

Les Seychelles considèrent, par ailleurs, le tourisme comme un élément clé du développement du concept de «l'Economie Bleue». Il en est de même de la durabilité de notre industrie du tourisme qui reste tributaire de la façon dont nous pouvons exploiter durablement notre espace océanique. Car c’est notre océan qui nous relie au plateau continental africain, et qui constitue la route pour les nouvelles activités de loisirs en mer.

 

Excellencies ladies and gentlemen,

It is our intention to use the reflections of this conference to work with the AU Commission towards developing an overarching framework for tourism development to be considered by the Assembly of the African Union.

Our shared prosperity, our common future, depends on the articulation of sound strategies that will transform our individual economies as well as our continent as a whole.

There is no industry that fosters this interconnectivity- this shared opportunity- better than tourism.

Seychelles stands ready with you to bring the transformation required to make Agenda 2063 possible.

I thank you

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