Seychelles and Cape Verde strengthen African Island leadership for sustainable development: President of Cape Verde to be guest of honour at national Day celebrations
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam, has underlined the importance of African islands providing leadership in terms of sustainable development in this United Nations designated year of Small Island Developing States as he begins an official visit to the Republic of Cape Verde.
“Seychelles and Cape Verde are naturally aligned as two countries that have put sustainability and good governance at the heart of their development efforts. We also share concerns that existing International development frameworks do not match the specific vulnerabilities of island states. And we are also united in our efforts to ensure that continental integration measures fully take into account our situation as insular African island States” said Minister Adam.
This visit is also situated as a preparatory visit for the state visit of His Excellency Mr. Jorge Carlos Fonseca, President of the Republic of Cape Verde on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of Seychelles National Day on 18th June 2014.
In official talks with Minister for External Relations of Cape Verde, H.E Mr. Jorge Borges, Minister Adam emphasised the cooperation that the two countries can pursue as an example of partnership between African SIDS.
The two countries have often referred to each other’s experiences to build new policies that better reflect their realities than when comparing to the situation of larger countries.
The two ministers discussed partnerships in the tourism sector, and expressed support for the need to develop an enhanced tourism strategy at the level of the African Union, while also avoiding attempts to add taxes to the tourism sector as a means of raising revenue.
Minister Adam also indicated that Cape Verde had been innovative in its renewable energy strategy, allowing it to have already reached 30% of its energy requirements from renewable sources. The Ministers agreed to strengthen the partnership between Cape Verde renewable energy authorities and the Seychelles Energy Commission. Minister Adam also had the opportunity to visit the private, public partnership in wind energy just outside the capital city of Praia.
The Minister also met with Minister of Environment, Habitat and Land Use Management, Dr. Antero Veiga, where they discussed potential partnerships in relation to management of protected areas. Minister Veiga remarked that Seychelles’ leadership in designating over 50% of its land territory as reserves was exemplary, while Cape Verde was also interested in further developing its marine reserves. In that regard, the ministers also exchanged views on Seychelles’ proposals to bring about debt for adaptation swaps that can allow SIDS such as Cape Verde and Seychelles to reduce their debts while continuing to invest in environment protection and climate change adaptation measures. The two ministers emphasised the importance of such innovations as SIDS did not have enough access to affordable financing and were often faced with high debt to GDP ratios. Cape Verde is itself facing challenges in relation to its debt as this has exceeded 90%.
Minister Veiga also welcomed Seychelles’ efforts to promote the Blue Economy and expressed support for the conclusions of the Abu Dhabi conference held in January and expressed the hope that its recommendations could deliver tangible proposals following the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States to be held in Samoa later this year.
Minister Adam also met with Minister for Tourism, Industry and Energy, H.E Mr. Humberto Brito, where they further emphasized the partnership opportunities to be developed.