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Seychelles former President Mancham participated in the 4th Huatua CEO Forum alongside Bill Clinton of the Americas; Tony Blair of Europe; Lee Myung-bak of Asia and Kevin Rudd of the Oceania

Seychelles former President Mancham participated in the 4th Huatua CEO Forum alongside Bill Clinton of the Americas; Tony Blair of Europe; Lee Myung-bak of Asia and Kevin Rudd of the Oceania ( On July 25, 2014, Seychelles' former President James R. Mancham participated in the 4th Huatuo CEO Forum that was held in Guangzhou, China with the participation of five influential political leaders of world repute from thee five continents: Bill Clinton of the Americas; Tony Blair of Europe; Lee Myung-bak of Asia; Kevin Rudd of the Oceania and James R. Mancham himself representing Africa and the Indian Ocean.

Also participating in the dialogue were some selected political, business and academic elites represented by Gene Sperling - former Director of the US National Economic Council, USA and Thomas Sargent - Nobel Peace Prize winner.

The VIP guests of the forum discussed global hot issues with Yan Yiehe - China's most successful entrepreneur who is the Founder and Chairman of The China Pacific Construction Group.

The 4th Huatuo CEO Forum aims was to clear up the distance and gap of geolocations and to connect people and different culture with the ultimate target of providing each other’s understanding. A common view shared what that “Chinese development needs the global support: Global harmony also needs the effort from China."

The procedure adopted was for the VIP guests to make a 20 minutes address to the 2,500 Chinese business leaders attending the Forum and afterwards answer questions for another 30 minutes each.
The office of former President Mancham has this day issued the full texts of Mr. Mancham's address to the Forum –


“Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen,

This week I was committed to be in Seychelles to co-host with the Seychelles Ministry of Foreign Affairs a retreat of the Elders of the Committee of COMESA, which is the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa – a market with a population totaling over 600 million people. As members of the Committee of Elders we are considered to be wise senior citizens who can advise the various governments as to the best way of securing a better future for the African people. The retreat is still now in progress but considering the most important contribution which China is making to the socio-economic development of Africa, all elders present enthusiastically applauded my decision to break away from the retreat and be here today at this most important gathering in Guangzhou.

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen,

I convey to you all here today and through you to the government and people of China COMESA’s deep felt appreciation for assisting Africa in several aspects of vital and necessary infrastructural development. We are of course aware of the fact that the recently built headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa is a gift of the Chinese people to the people of Africa. We are also mindful of the heavy investment of China in several infrastructural projects in many African nations. China is active and busy in Zambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles and everywhere else. Recently it was announced that China will be providing Kenya with a whole new railway system that will link Mombasa to Nairobi and beyond, an investment estimated at over 3.8 billion dollars.

Nostalgia may not be what it used to be but I do remember travelling on the old railway – which China is going to replace – back in 1947 when I was seven years old and my parents took me with them on a visit to East Africa.

Many waters have gone under the bridge of international politics and development over these years. Today China is no longer a sleeping giant which is inwardly focused. China has expanded its influence abroad and is now acting, with justification, on the international diplomatic stage with a newfound confidence anchored in its growing economic power.

And now I speak not just as a member of the Committee of Elders of COMESA but also as a global citizen when I ask the question which is on everybody’s mind as to what China wants from the rest of the world and how will she use her power in shaping the 21st Century. So far as I am concerned, China today has become the most important factor in global politics. No global architecture can be developed without her participation. That’s why Mr. Chairman, distinguished guests, I feel so proud and honored to have been given the privilege of being here with you today at this important forum.

As can be expected, China’s involvement and impact in the global socio-economic development has become of concern by other competitive nations who have become anxious as to what would be the impact of a Chinese dominated world.

“We have known Chinese smiling diplomacy, Chinese Ping-Pong diplomacy, but will China adopt an arrogant diplomacy if it predominated in world business and politics?”
Last year on a visit to Sri Lanka I had a breakfast meeting with two Chinese business executives who asked me how I thought the world was reacting to the incredible economic success and advancement of China today. I told them that the world has been amazed by the progress and achievements China has made in so short a time, but it was concerned about a China which became militarily speaking all too powerful in future.

One of the two gentlemen looked at me and said:

“Sir James, look at the shirts which my friend and I are wearing today; they are designer label shirts. Look at our shoes; they are top quality footwear. Both of us have known what hardship and poverty are all about. All this prosperity is the result of free trade in the world which can only exist when there is peace. How can therefore anyone think that now that China is becoming prosperous it would want to go to war?”

Mr. Chairman, my first visit to the People’s Republic of China was in 1978. At that time I was in exile in London when Lars-Eric Landlady, a Swedish-American friend who was pioneering an eco-tourism worldwide became the first western travel agent to China, invited to China to assist the Chinese Government in the formulation of its national tourism policy.

It should be borne in mind that from 1949-1974 the gate to China had been firmly shut. You can imagine my delight when Mr. Landlady invited me to join him on a Yangtze cruise he was organizing in association with the China International Travel Service (CITS).

Of course, as we know, the Yangtze is the longest river in China plunging over 3000 miles down from the interior and navigable much of the way. Traditionally, the river was considered the borderline of North and South China, the scene of many battles and wars and a final hurdle with the Chinese Communist troops crossed it to capture Chiang Kai-Sek capital, Nanjing.

Through the entire voyage, a cross section of China’s life and culture could be viewed along the shores in the most colorful panorama. The trip took us all the way up to Shanghai and from Shanghai all along China’s eastern coast into ports which had not seen foreign faces for over 25 years. You can imagine the curiosity of the younger Chinese people when we disembarked on their shores.

At the end of the cruise which ended in Hong Kong as it was customary on Lindblad’s cruises, every passenger agreed to fork out a 60 dollar tip for the cabin attendant who had been so helpful and graceful throughout the voyage. Unfortunately, we soon find out from the ship’s captain that the money collected could not be paid to the attendants because if we did their monthly earning would be 3 times more than what the ship’s officers on the ship were getting. In the circumstances, the Captain said that the money collected would go to the Chinese Red Cross Society.

Yes, the food on board was excellent but the services lousy. Why? In the dining room all waiters and waitresses were equal in status and there was no one among them to take over the role of head waiter. Without a leader designated to guide and supervise, the organization at the service level was certainly not well orchestrated.

In those days it was difficult to get a visa to visit China. The only tourist visa that was being granted at that time was issued under carefully quoted quotas which had been offered to certain airlines. These included airlines from Pakistan, Yugoslavia, Romania, Ethiopia and other countries which had active cordial relationship with the People’s Republic for many years. But the problem on the then horizon was that the planes were flying empty and were losing money on their operations.

Mr. Chairman, I thought that I should speak about that visit to China, some 36 years ago in order that we may realize the great changes and progress which the Chinese people have achieved over recent years since opening up of China to the outside world.

Of course this has not personally taken me by surprise because I have always known that the Chinese people have exceptional genes when it comes to entrepreneurship, business and trading. Otherwise, how can one explain that after all the decades of socialist economic indoctrination you find Chinese people all over the world today with entrepreneurial talents in the pursuit and creation of wealth?

Mr. Chairman, China is right to continue to advance and support the policy of right is might. The prevailing atmosphere of might is right politics is very disturbing with competitive powers advocating more and more money to defense and military budgets at the expense of human resource development such as alleviation of poverty, housing, water supply, energy and other social essentials. Against the background of nuclear capacity nobody tomorrow can envisage victory through war. China therefore must become the nation which wins the peace.

Today we live in a world where things do not just happen but more often than not are made to happen when people of vision and goodwill see an opportunity and decide to collaborate together to turn the vision into reality. This is certainly the foundation for joint ventures when Chinese entrepreneurs venture forth to other countries to assist different governments and local entrepreneurs in realizing the common vision. When an edifice has been created it is good for both parties to be able to look at it in the knowledge that they have both participated in the creation of it and that they will both share the fruits of success.

With the world becoming a global village we must all work together to develop our potential in a common endeavour to alleviate poverty and to improve the standard of living and the quality of life of all the people in the world."

PHOTO: Sir James R. Mancham


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