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President Michel at 25th African Union Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa

President Michel at 25th African Union Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa ( Seychelles President James Alix Michel is traveling to South Africa to participate in the 25th African Union Summit to be held in Johannesburg on June 14&15, 2015.

At the summit, President Michel will continue to assert Seychelles' voice and to contribute meaningfully in setting the agenda, direction, and pace of change in the region. This is more so important as Africa, being considered as a region of great untapped potential, is poised to play a more significant role in the global area.

The summit will be held under the theme, “Year of Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa's Agenda 2063." The summit is expected to take the continental program of gender equality and women's empowerment to a higher level.

A particular focus of the debate will be on the First Ten-year Implementation Plan for the realization of the African Agenda 2063, which the summit is expected to adopt.

Agenda 2063 is a global and inclusive African strategy to use Africa's resources for the benefit of all Africans. It is about the transformation of Africa by Africans.

Seychelles has ensured that key priorities for island states are strategically positioned within the African Union framework to provide opportunities for an inclusive and sustainable development in Africa. These priorities include a strong focus on the development of the Blue Economy within Africa as an opportunity for all African states, the fight against climate change, the growth and development of the tourism sector, renewable energy, as well as maritime and air connectivity as drivers for change and economic growth.

It will be an opportunity for Seychelles to express its appreciation for the plan which includes, inter alia, island priorities, and to emphasize the need for the African Union and member states to seek the resources necessary for the sustainable implementation of the plan.

The Blue Economy as a critical component of building climate resilience and innovative thinking for economic growth in Africa and will be highlighted by President Michel at the summit.

In this context, Seychelles' landmark debt swap deal with the Paris Club of creditors will be cited as an example to finance climate change adaptation through the management of a new marine-protected area.

This landmark financing innovation can provide other SIDS (small island developing states) and other African countries with a tested model of sustainable financing for climate change action.

President Michel will, therefore, be calling for the promotion of such a mechanism in this year where the world is seeking to adopt new sustainable goals and reach a binding agreement on climate change.

Another area of focus of the summit, which is also of vital importance to Seychelles, is the question of peace and security, including maritime security.

President Michel will reiterate Seychelles' commitment to continue enhancing regional cooperation in responding to security threats, and ensuring the safety of the seas of the region, the arteries of trade with the outside world. Even if piracy is currently now almost non–existent, attention should be focused in combating the multi-dimentional nature of organized crime and in establishing permanent solutions in dealing with such crimes, consistent with the 2050 Africa's Integrated Maritime Strategy.

In this context, the summit will be appraised of the preparations for the AU-EU Conference on Maritime Safety and Security which is scheduled to take place later this year in Togo.

Seychelles will continue to uphold all these important milestones as priorities for policies and practical actions to generate concrete results and impacts towards providing continued economic opportunities for the Seychellois people and the peoples of the continent.

The summit is preceded by meetings of the different AU organizations and decision-making bodies.

The summit will also provide the opportunity for President Michel to meet with his African counterparts on the enhancement of bilateral relations between Seychelles and their respective countries.

President Michel will be accompanied by Mr. Joel Morgan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport; Ambassador Callixte D'Offay, Diplomatic Adviser in the President's Office; Mr. Claude Morel, Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa; and Mr. Joseph Nourrice, Ambassador to the African Union.

PHOTO: Seychelles President James Michel


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