Seychelles Looks Forward to Operationalisation of SADC Regional Fund
Vice President Danny Faure, leading the Seychelles delegation at the 33rd SADC Heads of state and government summit, has emphasised the importance that regional organisations such as SADC can play for the development of African Small Island Developing States such as Seychelles.
With the operationalisation of the SADC Regional Fund on the agenda, and the need to ensure that islands also benefit from regional investment in infrastructure, the Vice President flagged the increased relevance of the blue economy for the SADC region.
The proposed investment in a regional maritime corridor project is key to provide increased connectivity for the island nations of the organisation.
During the Summit, the Seychelles delegation also highlighted the importance of ensuring that the process to establish a tripartite free trade area regrouping SADC, COMESA and the East African Community (EAC), takes into account the differences in size and capacity of different size in keeping with the principle of ‘variable geometry’.
The Vice President also received support from the Summit for Seychelles’ initiative to strengthen the coordination of tourism marketing on the continent and create a comprehensive tourism strategy for the continent. This initiative was discussed during the recent visit of the Chairperson of the AU, Dr. Nkosazan Dlamini Zuma to Seychelles and will be tabled soon at the AU.
“Given that SADC is playing a leadership role in the development of tourism in Africa, it is important that we build this leadership by further consolidating the cooperation that can be facilitated at the level of the African Union. Tourism is one of the best catalysts for creating wealth, and sharing it across as wide a cross section of our populations as possible.”, the Vice President noted in his intervention.
The Summit also addressed issues of peace and security where Seychelles welcomed recent developments in Madagascar whereby the three contested candidatures of current President of the Transition, Andry Rajoelina, spouse of former President Ravalomanana, Lalao Ravalomanana, and former President Didier Ratsiraka have been dismissed by the reconstituted Special Electoral Court. This development means that the proposals tabled during mediation efforts in Seychelles in 2012 that neither the current President of the Transition nor the former President contest the elections are back on track, in accordance with the principles of the 7 point plan recently concluded by SADC mediator former President Joaquim Chissano and AU Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra.
The Summit also considered the completion of the term of the Global Political Agreement on Zimbabwe with the conclusion of elections on 31st July. The final report of the SADC Electoral Mission is due by the end of August. The Summit congratulated Zimbabwe on organizing peaceful elections.
The Summit also welcomed the deployment of the SADC intervention brigade under the auspices of the UN MONUSCO mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.