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Seychelles represented at 2010 Ministerial Conference for Korea Africa Economic Cooperation - KOAFEC

Seychelles represented at 2010 Ministerial Conference for Korea Africa Economic Cooperation - KOAFEC ( REPRESENTED BY PETER SINON, MINISTER OF INVESTMENTS, NATURAL RESOURCES AND INDUSTRY

This year the 2010 Ministerial Conference for Korea Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) was hosted jointly by the Ministry of Finance and Strategy of the Republic of Korea and the African Development Bank (ADB)–MINRI; September 14-17, 2010. The distinguished presence of the United Nations Secretary General of the Economic Commission for Africa was also noted. This is the third Ministerial KOAFEC Conference. It started in 2006 signaling South Korea’s enhanced interest to deepen its economic cooperation, and partner and prioritize Africa for development and growth. Its experiences that transformed the Korean economy from the ruins of war, colonialism, and poverty to one of the top 10 economic powerhouses of the planet was on offer for Africa to not only benefit from its successes but also from its tried and tested failures in the said transition.

This is Minister Of Investments, Natural Resources And Industry Peter Sinon's second opportunity to attend such a conference since he did so in his previous capacity as Executive Director to the ADB in 2008, the second KOAFEC Conference where he represented 7 countries in Eastern Africa including Seychelles. This year Minister Sinon was accompanied by the Seychelles Honorary Consul in Korea Mr. Jeong.

The theme of the conference this year was “Africa Rising together with Korea.” The conference is timely as the Republic of South Korea prepares to host the G-20 Summit in November 2010. Thus, this time around, apart from focusing exclusively on networkings, site visits, and on identified areas for progress reporting and the deepening of the partnership, one key objective on the agenda was to officially entrust Korea with the responsibility to ensure that Africa’s voice and concerns will be tabled and discussed in November 2010 at the G-20 Summit. On behalf of Africa, a comprehensive document was handed over to the Minister of Finance and Strategy by the ADB President.

In considering this agenda item, Minister Sinon raised the issue of piracy and fragile and/or failed states that should at this juncture be given particular attention. Although it was clear that there was general consensus to focus on unfulfilled commitments rather than to raise new issue, Minister Sinon justified the legitimacy for the consideration of this subject matter by highlighting the national, regional, and international dimensions and concerns of this scourge. He stated that the root causes of open conflicts on the African continent have in many instances been contained and reduced. Sustaining cease fires have in some instances been possible because of such facilities as the then “Post Conflict Facility" and the present “fragile states facility" of the ADB. Such quick disbursing, specifically targeted assistance has and continues to do a lot to quickly demonstrate the dividends and socio-economic gains of peace and stability.

He urged enhanced support for such facilities and greater attention and focus to resolve conflict and its negative spillovers and side effects on the immediate region in various forms such as piracy that if allowed to further proliferate will hinder “investment and trade," which are at the center of Africa’s future development and growth. The activity threatens all initiatives for the realization of a deeper partnership between Korea and Africa. The conference took note that particular attention at the highest level needs to be given to this scourge.

The second core agenda item of the conference focused on the presentation of progress on identified priority areas for cooperation mainly in the following areas: infrastructure, science and technology, agriculture and rural development, small medium enterprises, information and communication technology, energy and mineral resources, and green frowth.

Minister Sinon’s intervention on this agenda item was to highlight the critical importance and potentials of maritime resources. Given Africa’s strategic geographical location bordering the Indian and Atlantic Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea, the sustainable exploitation of those resources and exchange of know-how and technology to add value to such resources was an area that the Minister thought should be given much more attention. The extensive and well-harnessed experiences of Korea both as consumers and producers of maritime products open an avenue for mutually beneficial cooperation. The point was noted as he made it known that in his networking efforts, it is this area that he wanted to promote the most, given Seychelles’ extensive EEZ and constantly evolving fisheries infrastructure.

The Minister was a member of the ministerial panel for discussion on energy and infrastructure. While he spoke about the deficit of energy in Africa, he informed the participants of the existing constraints of supplying power in an archipelagic, island state such as Seychelles. They were also informed of the relatively new and existing venture by SEYPEC to transport oil that is successfully operated opening almost a new industry for our youth. Korea, a net importer of all its hydrocarbons and being the number one ship-building nation, took great interest to inquire further in the one-to-one business networking meetings.

The Minister enticed Korean investors to seriously consider renewable energy solutions for small island states such as Seychelles under the “Green Growth" initiative. A number of Korean participants took great interest and are exploring possibilities and formalities relative to possible investments in Seychelles and beyond. On this note, informing the interested parties of possibilities in light manufacturing in Seychelles ITZ for the COMESA and SADC markets also struck a cord although transportation and other logistics meant further analysis had to be undertaken.

The conference presented ample opportunities for networking with strategic high-level government officials and private sector entrepreneurs such as the various ministers, vice ministers, and CEOs of various companies such as Hyundai, and fishing and fish processing companies. The highlight of this networking was a dinner at the Blue House where the President of the Republic of South Korea hosted the ministers for a dinner.

The minister took the opportunity to follow-up on a number of issues that the President of the Republic of Seychelles had discussed with his counterpart during his official visit to South Korea last year.

The minister touched down in Seychelles briefly on Saturday, September 16 to join the Seychelles delegation heading to New York for Seychelles' first Investment Forum held strategically in the margins of the UN Summit. The forum will have as its main objective present to American captains of industry and entrepreneurs, as well as the media, the potentials of the Republic of Seychelles as a befitting destination to anchor for doing business and investing.

The Seychelles Vice President Mr. D. Faure will open the forum and Dr. D. Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank, will deliver the key note address.

PHOTO: Peter Sinon, Minister Of Investments, Natural Resources And Industry

Alain St.Ange CEO, Seychelles Tourism Board Email:

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