MESSAGE ON THE OCCASION OF AFRICA DAY 2012
From the Indian Ocean, Today on 25th May, Seychelles joins the rest of the world in celebrating Africa day.
Africa Day is an occasion, not only for us to celebrate, but also an opportunity to take pride in Africa and all its diversity- a continent which continues to export is values, culture, music to the rest of the world-thereby enriching it.
On this day, we therefore reflect on the promise of Africa.
Africa is now widely recognized as the continent of the future. Our opportunities are infinite and our potential boundless.
With an average growth rate of over five percent over the last five years, substantial reserves of natural and energy resources and a young vibrant population, Africa has great opportunities to transform itself into one of the leading economic regions of the world.
The theme of this year’s celebration ‘Boosting trade and intra-African trade’ is therefore timely and fitting as it is quite clear that over the last decade the global economy has gone though significant and unprecedented change. Our traditional trading relationships and patterns are changing. The impacts of these shifts on our individual member states is something we need to seriously consider and reflect upon in order to have a thorough appreciation of these developments on our economies. Boosting trade and intra-African trade is therefore an imperative. We have to take bold steps to boost trade within our countries.
The challenge for the rest of the world is to stand by Africa in managing a transformation to which it has freely pledged itself. It is clear that the prerequisites for and the foundations of this transformation are unquestionably peace and security, trade, education, science and culture. Many of the advances made by Africa in these sectors will form the basis of the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Brazil next month whereby defining an equitable green and blue economy for Africa will be crucial.
Africa has also made considerable gains in consolidating democracy. Supporting the African people’s efforts to realize their right to choose their own leaders, ensuring that elections are a route to peace, not violence, finding durable solutions to the crisis in Somalia as we continue to combat the threat of piracy are imperative for our growth.
Africa must grasp the opportunity it has today to mould the future it deserves . Seychelles as the smallest african state will join to this cause and in the words of UN Secretary General on Africa day 2012 “as the World tries to forge a renewed Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, an agenda that will set the continent on the path to the future we all want: dynamic, equitable and sustainable growth that benefits all Africans”.
Happy Africa day.