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Statement by Jean-Paul Adam, Minister for Foreign Affairs, On behalf of President James Michel, President of the Republic of Seychelles, on the occasion of the 4th Eu-Africa Summit, Brussels, Kingdom of Belgium, 2-3 April 2014

03.04.2014

H.E the President of Islamic Republic of Mauritania and Chair of the African Union,

H.E the President of the European Council,

H.E the President of the EU Commission,

H.E the Chair of the African Union Commission,

Heads of State and Government,

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

The Republic of Seychelles fully endorses the view that investing in ‘people, prosperity and peace’ is at the very heart of the Africa-EU partnership, as called for in the theme of our summit.

We see these three themes as indivisible from one another.

We cannot invest in anyone of them in isolation.

While we build on progress made in our partnership, we must also strive to fill gaps that may exist and identify new opportunities.

In this UN year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Seychelles and other African islands are emphasizing the opportunities of a ‘Blue Economy’.  The Blue Economy can further revolutionise African development prospects and fundamentally enhance our food and energy security, as well as enhance our space for trade and exchanges.

The Blue Economy framework, as developed at the Blue Economy Summit co-organised with the government of UAE in January of this year, aims to better protect and enhance the value of marine and coastal systems through an integrated management approach.

It aims to foster innovation, investment, partnerships and develop policies to support sustainable management of aquatic resources, food security and poverty reduction.

As emphasized by the Chair of the AU Commission, the Blue Economy offers us an essential element for an enhanced EU-Africa cooperation.

Certainly we believe that it is essential to strengthen the ability of African nations to make sustainable use of their ocean based resources, while also creating new scope for renewable energy from the ocean for example.

In relation to the post 2015 development agenda, the Africa-EU partnership can potentially offer a new innovative framework for sustainable development of oceans through technology transfer and empowerment of coastal and island communities.

In the 21st century Africa, the Blue Economy is essential for our people, for our prosperity, and for our peaceful development.  For African islands, the ocean is the cradle of life.  For Africa as a whole, we believe it can be a catalyst for a new era of sustainable development.

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Peace in Africa, means sustainable development for Africa.

The threat of piracy off the coast of Somalia has disrupted trade, investment and development in the whole region.  We cannot forget that this scourge has its roots in the irresponsible extraction of oceanic resources in this region.  Building our Blue Economy, is undoubtedly part of the solution to the security of this region.

We salute the partnership between Africa and the EU in combating piracy successfully.

Seychelles is proud to have contributed decisively to ending impunity of these acts of criminality at sea.

But we cannot be complacent.  We must now continue to enhance the building of sustainable livelihoods in the region, and Somalia in particular, while also strengthening the capacity of African states in terms of maritime security.

Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Africa remains one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change while contributing the least to is causes.  Looking ahead in terms of conflict prevention, we cannot avoid the conclusion that the best way to act decisively against future conflict, is to act decisively against climate change today.

Our future prosperity is also inextricably linked to a real and binding agreement on climate change that recognizes our vulnerability.  This means we must work together to better define our vulnerability to better identify means to make us more resilient.

This is particularly important for islands, but is a common thread for all climate vulnerable countries.

Africa sees the EU as a natural partner in the negotiations for a binding agreement.

Let us not see an agreement that reverses the negative trend of climate change as an option- but rather as an imperative.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Tourism offers us an unparalleled opportunity to boost economic growth in Africa.  Tourism can allow us to multiply opportunities for our populations and the sharing of wealth.  Seychelles is working in partnership with the AU Commission to develop a comprehensive African tourism strategy and we look forward to the support of the EU to reinforce the development perspectives provided by this sector.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me to also underline the importance of accelerating the deployment of resources in support of our sister island of Madagascar.  We salute the successful organization of free and credible elections with the support of the EU, the AU, SADC and the Indian Ocean Commission.  We need to now reinforce the development tools available to our island neighbor of the Indian Ocean region, whose development perspectives are so closely linked to those of our sub-region.

Before concluding, please allow me to express our profound appreciation to the government of the Kingdom of Belgium, and to the EU Commission and AU Commission for the excellent arrangements for the organization of this summit in the historic European capital of Brussels.

I thank you.

 

 

 

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