Seychelles underlines island specificities at AU ministers meeting in Equatorial Guinea.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Seychelles, Mr. Jean Paul Adam headed the Seychelles delegation at the 26th session of the Executive council of the African Union Commission which was held in Malabo between 23-24June 2014.
Minister Adam joined other Island member States of the Commission including Cabo Verde, Mauritius and São Tomé and Principe to name a few, to advocate for solidarity towards Small Island Developing States to be incorporated in the agenda 2063 document for Africa which is being crafted by the Commission, and to also ensure that island issues are mainstreamed within the work of the AU in this international year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Minister Adam extended the support of the Republic of Seychelles to Agenda 2063 and appreciation for its efforts towards mobilising the potential of the blue economy- a key development issue for SIDS.
"Agenda 2063 is about increased economic independence from development partners. It is about moving beyond the shackles of our debts, which are a particular burden for islands. It is about ensuring good governance and sustainable development for the next 50 years. We look forward to the transformation of our economies as we together carve the way towards the implementation of more sustainable renewable energy resources and the construct of a more stable, empowered, people-centered and developed continent, away from the curse of civil unrest and conflict", said the Minister.
The Minister also underlined the importance of the Blue economy for the development of the AU and welcomed the operationalisation of Africa's Integrated Maritime Strategy, which was also on the agenda of the meeting.
Seychelles also reported on the new strategic direction it is proposing for African tourism, to make Africa the worlds's preferred tourism destination and develop a unique brand of African tourism. The AU Executive Council fully endorsed Seychelles' proposals and this will be further considered by the heads of state.
Seychelles and other island states also joined with other African countries that depend on tourism to also underline that any proposed levies on tourism will have a negative effect on the development of the industry and hamper Africa's development as whole.
The proposed levy on tourism is part of a series of measures proposed to raise additional funds to finance the AU's programmed.
The meeting of ministers agreed that further consultation was required with the ministers of finance, while other options for alternative financing must also be considered.
"Seychelles joins other countries in agreeing that we need to be innovative to identify ways to fund our Union more efficiently and be less dependent on outside sources. But we must ensure that whatever we agree does not place a disproportionate burden on any particular state. Tourism has the potential to be one of the greatest creators of inclusive wealth on our continent- these type of levies will hamper this potential immeasurably", the minister remarked.
In her presentation on alternative sources of financing to raise funds for the running of the Commission, Dr. Nkoana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, outlined the need to gain increased engagement from member states to pay their contributions to the Commission whilst appealing that the alternative sources presented by the committee on alternative financing be enlarged beyond the five proposed sources.
In his intervention, Minister Adam extended Seychelles support to finding new innovative ways for the funding of the Commission and also expressed Seychelles solemn call for the Commission to undertake more judicious research on potential resources for financing, in order to ensure that mechanisms adopted do not jeopardize member states' national economic growth structures considerably in the process.
"This year's Executive Council has brought a new dimension to the African Union Commission, especially as we work on the agenda 2063 and the post 2015 development agenda. Seychelles has strongly expressed its support alongside its concerns on various the issues discussed by the Executive Council. We, for example, extended strong support to SIDS issues and to the call for Africa to move towards ensuring that we go to other multilateral platforms such as the upcoming COP 2015 in France and the Africa-US conference with one voice and one agreed way forward. We also called for the meeting of our Ministers of Finance at the sidelines of the upcoming IMF conference in New York, scrutinize on alternative sources of financing extensively "
The Minister was accompanied by Mr. Joseph Nourrice, Seychelles High Commissioner accredited to the African Union Commission.