Seychelles highlights importance of trade connectivity at IORA Ministers meeting
While addressing the Indian Ocean Rim Association Ministers meeting, Minister Jean-Paul Adam has emphasised the importance of trade connectivity for development.
“Moving beyond the nexus of North-South trade is essential for us to achieve sustainable development. For a small island country like Seychelles – the realities of global trade mean that it can sometime be more challenging to export or import to and from our closest neighbours in East Africa, than to Europe thousand miles away. We are however encouraged by efforts being made within our region to better connect our economies through shipping and airlines. We strongly support the IORA initiative to explore ways to improve our shipping links and make them more viable.”
The Ministers of the Member States of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) met in Perth, Australia, for the 13th Meeting of the Council of Ministers on 1 November 2013. The Seychelles delegation was led by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jean-Paul Adam, who was also accompanied by Non-Resident Seychelles High Commissioner, Ambassador Waven William and Development Program Officer, Ms. Shirley Low-Meng.
The Council of Minister’s was preceded by productive meetings of the Committee of Senior Officials, Working Group on Trade and Investment, IOR Business Forum and IOR Academic Group.
During the Ministerial meeting, the Seychelles delegation also emphasized the importance of Tourism for the region and looked forward to welcome all IORA nations to the first IORA Travel and Tourism Mart in Seychelles in 2014.
IORA is the lead body for promoting regional collaboration across the Indian Ocean rim. It confirmed its role in addressing the development, security, resource and environmental challenges that face our region through high-quality projects and policy-oriented consideration of opportunities and risks in the six priority areas: Maritime Safety and Security; Trade and Investment Facilitation; Fisheries Management; Disaster Risk Management; Academic and Science & Technology Cooperation; and Tourism and Cultural Exchanges.
The Council of Ministers reaffirmed their shared interest in the stability, security and prosperity of all countries of the Indian Ocean rim and their commitment to enhancing cooperation to deliver sustained economic growth and broad-based development in this strategically vital region.
The meeting highlighted the potential for IORA to build cooperation among Member States and others in disaster response and risk management, including by drawing on ‘best practice’ models developed in other regions and through other organizations. This includes natural and other disasters especially in the maritime domain, particularly including tsunamis, as well as activities such as search and rescue and response to oil spills.
Another vital focus of IORA is increasing trade and investment intra-regionally. This is central to IORA’s purpose. Regional trade facilitation is an area of cooperation that offers many prospects for Seychelles. Further work among IORA Member States is encouraged to promote economic integration and development in the Indian Ocean region.
IORA strongly encourages private sector involvement in IORA activities to regional trade and investment, and commit to developing business-friendly initiatives to address issues related to energy security, food security, tourism and infrastructure.