Speeches

Statement to the Business and Private Sector Forum by President Danny Faure, Nairobi, Kenya

28 November 2018 | Blue Economy

Statement to the Business and Private Sector Forum by President Danny Faure, Nairobi, Kenya

 

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Good morning.

It is a pleasure to address you all today on the matter of business development in the blue economy, a sustainable development concept that Seychelles has been proudly championing globally.

Seychelles has always recognised the need to balance economic growth with environmental sustainability. For us, the Blue Economy represents the next frontier for development. It offers an alternative model for sustainable exploitation of the ocean’s resources, and socially inclusive economic development.

However, the Blue Economy agenda is not exclusively for islands. Coastal states and landlocked states with inland waterways and water bodies also stand benefit significantly.

Implementation is very much about national or regional visions for the Blue Economy in specific socio-economic and environmental circumstances.

As small Island Developing State in the Indian Ocean with a population of 94,000 people, Seychelles has for more than 200 years, relied on the ocean for fisheries, international and domestic shipping to support trade, and more recently, for tourism.

Today, tourism and fisheries, both important sectors of the country’s blue economy development agenda, contribute 25% and 8% respectively to the nation’s GDP.

With an ocean space of almost 1.4 million square kilometres, we are convinced that we are nowhere close to realizing the potential that the blue economy can offer for further development.

Our brand of Blue Economy focuses on economic diversification, sharing prosperity, food security, and most importantly, healthy oceans. Our Blue Economy Strategic Policy Framework and Roadmap identifies strategic objectives for action and investment in our Blue Economy, from enabling new maritime sectors to climate resilience. The priorities are customised to suit Seychelles’ current socio-political, economic and environmental circumstances, its aspirations and future prospects.

Championing the blue economy concept les us to develop two landmark blue financing projects, with the critical assistance of international partners – namely the Debt Swap for the Conservation and Climate Adaptation and the Sovereign Blue Bond.

In return for protecting a third of our waters, the Debt Swap allowed is to restructure our debt and fund marine-based economic activities, coastal and marine conservation, and climate change adaptation. The financing also promotes the implementation of a Marine Spatial Plan for Seychelles’ vast Exclusive Economic Zone. I am proud to say that just three weeks ago, ahead of schedule, we approved the setting aside of 26% of our EEZ as a protected area.

Secondly , on 29th October this year, we announced the issuance of the World’s first sovereign Blue Bond. Valued at 15 million US Dollars, the Blue Bond raises financing from capital market investors for projects that support the sustainable use of ocean resources. Designed with the support of the World Bank. The Global Environment Facility and the Prince of Wales’ Charities International Sustainability Unit, the principal objective of this bond is to attract private investment to finance a transition to sustainable fisheries.

There will be blue grants for fisheries reform and concessionary blue loans to enable businesses to improve their value chains to reduce overcapacity and overfishing.

We are now keen to explore how blue finance can assist us with emerging technology-based sectors, such as renewable energy and waste management. Public private partnership and collaborations are key to this development agenda.

My Government is carrying out a comprehensive review of the investment and business operating framework to create a more consistent, transparent and predictable environment where any private individual or firm may have the confidence to invest and do business in Seychelles.

I am confident, that within the next year or so, Seychelles shall begin to see the fruits of the blue economy development agenda.

Let me end by noting that our ocean innovation is not restricted to finance. A well-oriented blue economy should transform investment patterns and promote blue value chains as drivers for future development and environmental conservation.

Partnerships and collaboration are key. Let us work together to secure a healthy and productive future for our oceans.

Thank you.

 

 

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