Press release

African Islands Stand United at AU Summit

January 27, 2015

The African Island States have reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the voice of island states within the African Union by highlighting the real and valuable contributions they can make to the growth and development of the African continent.

Meeting in the margins of the African Union 26th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of African Foreign Ministers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia ahead of Summit of Heads of States later in the week, the island delegations of Cabo Verde, Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, were convened at the invitation of Seychelles to discuss the role of islands in the African Union Agenda 2063 “The Africa We Want” development plan.

“We have an obligation to defend the commonalities of African island states within the future for Africa envisioned within the Agenda 2063. Though we may be small we must champion the importance of developing our oceanic spaces as an opportunity for the whole of Africa, though we must lead the charge,” said the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr. Jean-Paul Adam, who chaired the gathering.

The discussions focused on the outcomes of the recent island consultation on the Agenda 2063 held in Seychelles in December 2014 and the way forward in ensuring that the key priorities for islands states are included and advanced in an inclusive and equitable manner within the African Union framework. These priorities include a strong focus on the development of the Blue Economy within Africa, as an opportunity for all African States, the fight against climate change, and the growth and development of the tourism sector as a driver for change and economic growth.

The island states also took the opportunity to discuss the under representation of islands in international bodies and expressed solidarity in supporting an increased effort in addressing this matter. With this in mind the delegations made presentations on their respective candidature which included a candidate of Cabo Verde for the post of Presidency of the African Development Bank, the Malagasy candidate for the African Union Commission on Internal Law and the candidacy of Seychelles for a Non-Permanent Seat of the UN Security Council for the period 2017-2018.

The Seychelles delegation, led by Minister Adam, is currently in Addis Ababa attending the 24th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, and includes the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Amb. Barry Faure, the Permanent Representative to the African Union, Ambassador Joseph Nourrice, and the Principal Counsellor in the Seychelles Embassy in Addis Ababa, Mrs. Amanda Bernstein.