President of Cabo Verde discovers world heritage site Vallée de Mai during visit to Praslin
The President of Cabo Verde, H.E. Doctor Jorge Carlos De Almeida Fonseca, visited the Vallée de Mai on Praslin yesterday to experience the natural beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. President Fonseca was accompanied by Minister for Health, Mitcy Larue and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam and was welcomed to the Vallée de Mai by the Chairman of Seychelles Island Foundation (SIF), Ambassador Loustau-Lalanne and the SIF Vallée de Mai staff.
Mr Loustau-Lalanne accompanied the President on a brief tour of the visitor’s centre after which they took a short walk in the unique palm forest. Mr Loustau-Lalanne explained to the President the importance of this forest to the biodiversity of the Seychelles and why it was so unique. President Fonseca had the opportunity to see both the male and female Coco de Mer trees and a chance to play the infamous ‘Guess the weight of the Coco de Mer’ game. The President was an enthusiastic participant and gave an impressive guess, only 2kg more than the actual weight of 21kg. Afterwards a Vallée de Mai staff member demonstrated the de-husking of a giant Coco de Mer nut and the President and his delegation were surprised at the strong odour of the Coco de Mer husk.
On return to the Visitor Centre Mr Loustau-Lalanne took the opportunity to discuss with the President the importance of the Vallée de Mai to the support of Aldabra Atoll, and used some of the display items to show the unique wildlife of Aldabra. Minister Larue then presented the President with a Coco de Mer nut as a ‘souvenir of Praslin’. Ambassador Loustau-Lalanne also presented a book written by SIF CEO Dr Frauke-Fleischer Dogley on the history and biology of the Coco de Mer. ‘We are honoured to share this globally important natural world heritage site with a public figure such as the President of Cabo Verde. It was a delight to host him and his wife at this unique site and we hope that our token will remind him of this experience, and the Vallée de Mai’ said Mr Loustau-Lalanne.
Whilst on Praslin, President Fonseca visited the facilities of the Seychelles Petroleum Company where he was given a tour of a Seychelles oil tanker after which the President was taken to the development project on the newly constructed Ile Eve. The President paid a courtesy visit to Baie Sainte Anne School where he met pupils who demonstrated their knowledge of the Republic of Cabo Verde.
Two memoranda of understanding were signed; a cultural agreement and an agreement between the Chambers of Commerce of the respective countries. These were initialled following a luncheon hosted in honour of President Fonseca by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam.
- text in association with Seychelles Island Foundation
- Communications Officer Rowana Walton- SIF