The AfCFTA Secretariat Mission to Seychelles

The aim of the AfCFTA is to create a single market for goods and services on the continent, with free movement of people and investments. The Seychelles is one of the signatory countries to the AfCFTA, becoming the 39th country to ratify the Agreement on the 15th of September, 2021.The Seychelles is well-positioned to benefit from the AfCFTA given its strategic location and strong tourism sector.

The small island nation of Seychelles may not come to mind when considering global trade, but it boasts a thriving export industry based primarily on the Blue Economy. The country’s main exports are in the leisure and fishing industries, with recreational boats making up the majority of exported products at $445 million. Seychelles is also a top supplier of processed fish, with exports totaling nearly a quarter of a billion dollars. In addition to these primary goods, the country also exports refined petroleum and passenger and cargo ships. The most common destinations for these exports are Bermuda, France, and the Cayman Islands, but Seychelles also sends products as far as the United Kingdom and Qatar. As a result of these export industries, Seychelles has been able to establish strong economic ties with many nations around the world and asserted its position as an upper middle income country with the highest literacy rate in Africa. 

The Seychelles economy has long relied on the tourism and fisheries industries, but the country is now positioned to become a leader in knowledge-intensive services as well. With a strong emphasis on digital finance and information and communication technology, the Seychelles is attracting global investment and spurring economic growth. In fact, ICT is projected to grow by a staggering 7% in 2022 alone. However, it isn’t just business opportunities that are driving this growth. The Seychelles government also prioritizes education and innovation, making significant investments in areas such as STEM education for youth and training programs for professionals in high-tech fields. This forward-thinking approach is setting the Seychelles apart as a key player in Africa’s trade market

Blue Economy

The Blue Economy is of utmost importance to Seychelles and the AfCFTA. The Blue Economy provides a sustainable pathway for economic growth and job creation, especially for coastal communities. The AfCFTA presents a huge opportunity for Seychelles to expand its trade with other African countries. The Agreement will help to reduce the cost of doing business in Africa, which will make it easier for Seychelles businesses to compete in the regional market.

The blue economy is a rapidly growing sector that is essential to the future of trade in Africa. The African Union’s Blue Economy Strategy was developed to guide inclusive and sustainable development in the blue economy which supports the objectives of the AfCFTA to create a single market on the continent.

Meeting with the Seychelles Chamber of  Commerce and Industry (SCCI)

The AfCFTA Secretariat’s visit to Seychelles is an important step in advocating and promoting the AfCFTA Agreement. This visit helps raise awareness of the benefits of the Agreement and how it can benefit the people of Seychelles. On the 14th of November, Her Excellency Pillay, Secretary-General of the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) as well as the African Union Commission Ambassador to the Southern African Regional Office, His Excellency David Claude Pierre, welcomed a high level delegation from the AfCFTA Secretariat, which included the heads of the Trade in Goods, Trade in Services and Customs directorates. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss unpacking the Agreement and the benefits to Seychelles. The meeting also focused on identifying sectors of prioritisation for Seychelles, with a particular focus on the blue economy and tourism.

The importance of a strong engagement from the private sector was emphasised as critical for successful implementation of the AfCFTA. The Secretary General of SCCI pledged her support to work with the Secretariat to ensure that private sector voices are heard and that businesses can benefit from the Agreement.

Meeting with the Seychelles National Youth Council

Consequently, the AfCFTA delegation held meeting with the Seychelles National Youth Council on the 15th of November to promote the AFCFTA among the youth. Youth inclusion in trade and economic integration is essential for sustainable development and poverty reduction. The youth council members were sensitized on the objectives of the AfCFTA and how it will benefit not only Seychelles but Africa as a whole. The delegation encouraged the youth to take advantage of the opportunities that will be created by the AfCFTA, such as cross-border trade, online businesses, and e-commerce. They also stressed on the need for youth to be well-informed and engaged in order to make use of these opportunities.

The visit is an indication that the AfCFTA Secretariat is placing special emphasis on youth engagement and is committed to working with its Member States to create opportunities for youth participation in AfCFTA implementation. The meeting provided an opportunity for the Secretariat to exchange views with the Seychelles National Youth Council on ways to engage youth in AfCFTA implementation, including through awareness-raising and capacity-building activities. 

Media Contact
Grace Khoza – Principal Communications Advisor

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