Press release

Lighting of the African Union Flame

May 20, 2013

Former President France Albert Rene lit the flame of the African Union in the presence of President James Alix Michel in a symbolic ceremony held at State House this morning. The ceremony was attended by dignitaries as well as the third cohort of the Seychelles Young Leaders Programme.

The lighting of the flame commemorates the 50 years of existence of the unity of Africa under the umbrella of the Organisation of African Unity known today as the African Union, which will be celebrated on 26th May at the African Union Summit in Addis Abba, Ethiopia. President Michel will be attending the summit, which is the largest gathering of African leaders, for this Golden Jubilee celebration.

In his address during the ceremony for the lighting of the flame, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam, saluted all those Seychellois who contributed to Seychelles independence and to ideal of the African Union, in particular President Rene who bears witness to the role that Seychelles’ has played in creating this Union, and the late Guy Sinon, a former minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles, who, alongside President René, is recognized as ‘a proud father of the liberation movements of Africa, and a proud father of the African Union.’

“We light this flame today to remind us of how far we have come- and how far we still have to go.  Our achievements tell us, that we cannot be daunted by the scale of the task, as we have already done more than many may have expected.  Above all, this flame represents our determination to succeed,” said Minister Adam.


Minister Adam noted the successes of the OAU/AU in the last 50 years, and also presented the challenged that lay ahead, especially for the island nations of the AU.

“Over the next 50 years, many of Africa’s opportunities will be defined by how we harness the development potential of the ocean.  This is why the ‘blue economy’ concept is so important for us, and for Africa as a whole.  The majority of world trade is by sea.  The majority of the world’s oil is transported by sea.  There is no food security without a sustainable ocean.  The majority of new mineral resources will not be found on land but in the sea.  The Blue economy is our future- and it is Africa’s future.”

A member of the Seychelles Young Leaders Programme, Ms. Nadine Jack, said that the 50th anniversary of African unity should be a celebration of ‘a new dawn,’ as a new beginning for  collective actions and forging the way forward for the future. She said that we should be hopeful and optimistic that Africa has been given a second wind to fill its sails as it steers  towards  its destination of  peace, democracy, development and unity  for all  the children of Africa.

“It is time to wake the sleeping lion and through this torch of peace, let us commit to joining with all of Africa for the, realization of Africa’s Renaissance. To quote a popular African proverb:  “Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable”. …. I call upon the youth of Africa to join together like the proverbial “bundle of sticks” and commit to making the African Renaissance a reality, one that the Founding Fathers of the OAU will be proud of. Like the great Nelson Mandela, and I quote: “I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself”

Congratulations Africa! ” said Ms. Jack.