Press release

Seychelles represented at the 17th Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)

October 19, 2017

Ambassador Claude Morel, Foreign Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs attended the 17th Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) held in Durban, South Africa on 18th October 2017.The Meeting was chaired by Hon. Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Foreign Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, as the new Chair of the Association. 

The meeting was held under the theme “Uniting the Peoples of Africa, Australasia and the Middle East Through Enhanced Cooperation for Peace, Stability and Sustainable Development” and was represented by the 21 member states and 7 dialogue partners of the IORA.

The meeting witnessed the official handing over of the two-year Chairmanship of the IORA from Indonesia to South Africa and handing of the Vice Chairmanship from South Africa to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Member States extensively praised the leadership and vision of Indonesia, the Outgoing Chair, who elevated the Association through a Leaders Summit in March 2017. Sincere appreciation was also expressed to Ambassador K.V. Bhagirath (India) who completes his second terms as Secretary General and oversaw substantial growth and change. Member States welcomed the appointment of Dr. Nomvuyo Nokwe (South Africa) as the Incoming Secretary General, who will commence in early 2018. To note that Dr. Nokwe was the former South African Ambassador accredited to Seychelles. 

Ambassador Morel’s statement highlighted several important priority areas of the Association such as the importance of the Maritime Safety and Security to safeguard the security of the Indian Ocean region to ensure the prosperity of the region and beyond. The importance of Climate change was also touched upon as well as the Blue Economy concept which the IORA is giving more and more importance to and has called for the creation of a working group on the Blue Economy. Ambassador Morel ended his statement by reiterating Seychelles commitment to work closely with the secretariat, member states, dialogue partners and stakeholders of the IORA with the aim of achieving sustainable economic growth and development in the Indian Ocean rim.

The Ministers issued the Durban Communiqué which, among other issues, emphasized the importance of the Jakarta Concord and the IORA Action Plan for 2017 – 2021 which was adopted at the Leaders’ Summit held in Indonesia last March.During the meeting, Member States also shared updates on upcoming initiatives including Ministerial Conferences on Renewable Energy (New Delhi, 8-9 December 2017) and on Women’s Economic Empowerment (Mauritius, 26-27 February 2018), as well as the launch of the Journal of the Indian Ocean Rim Studies. Countries made generous contributions to implement the Action Plan, including Australia, India and South Africa. Dialogue Partners also expressed their willingness to support IORA, noting significant support from Germany to strengthen expertise in climate change and disaster risk management.

Ambassador Morel on behalf of the Ministry of Industry, Entrepreneurship Development and Business Innovation, signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Governments of the Member States of the IORA for the promotion of small and medium enterprises (SME).The aim of the MOU is to provide an appropriate platform to IORA SMEs to interact with each other, participate in trade fairs, facilitate buyer-seller meetings and visits of delegations, acquire appropriate technology and explore trade and investment opportunities.