Foreign investments

Seychelles Ambassador to China: Foreign investment welcomed

06:10

Seychelles, which derives around 70 percent of its GDP from tourism, seeks to boost trade with major economies as its economy is hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Currently, Seychelles is experiencing a severe balance of payments crisis, so we welcome Chinese investment and funding for public sector projects that will ease our fiscal burden,” Ambassador to China Vivianne Fock Tave told CGTN in an interview, before that of Wang Yi. annual visit to Africa last week.

“For the private sector, we would welcome investments in areas likely to stimulate exports and economic activities, not only between China and Seychelles but also with other countries,” she added.

The archipelago may only have a population of around 97,000, but analysts say its location – at the crossroads of Africa, the Middle East and India – is of geostrategic importance.

In November 2018, Fitch Solutions, which focuses on analyzing infrastructure markets, wrote that Seychelles would benefit from increased investment as China and India vie for naval influence in the years to come. But he also said Seychelles would likely align more with one of the two powers in the longer term.

Vivianne does not seem confused by these reports.

“China and India are countries and friends of Seychelles who have played a vital role in our development as a nation. We will continue to work with both countries, as well as with all of our international partners, on the challenges. commons linked to climate change, the environment, organized crimes such as drug and human trafficking and other threats to maritime security, ”she said.

Endemic to the Seychelles, this sea coconut known as “Coco De Mer” holds the Guinness World Record for the heaviest fruit in the world, weighing up to 42 kilograms. / CGTN

Endemic to the Seychelles, this sea coconut known as “Coco De Mer” holds the Guinness World Record for the heaviest fruit in the world, weighing up to 42 kilograms. / CGTN

“We have many partners and friends and will continue to work with them for the future development of Seychelles and for the good of the Seychellois people, while protecting our sovereignty, which is very important to the Seychelles people.”

Vivianne said Seychelles has rules and regulations to ensure that their sovereignty is protected.

“For example, if a private sector from any country wants to invest in Seychelles, we have a government organization, the Seychelles Investment Board, which is responsible for processing those investments and making recommendations,” she said. .

This includes the environmental impact assessment where the public can voice concerns about such projects. “If a hotel is to be built in a particular area, there will be public meetings where the public can voice their concerns,” she explained.

“With respect to public sector investments and financing of public sector projects, the government will assess the impact of this financing on our debt burden. And if it does impact our debt burden, we won’t accept any funding. “

While Wang Yi’s visit, the Seychelles local news agency reported that China has announced that it will offer an $ 11 million grant to fund public sector projects, including one on renewable energy valued at $ 4.6 million.

The Seychelles’ ambassador to China, Vivianne Fock Tave, is half Chinese because her father is from Shunde City, in the province of Guangdong (southern China). / CGTN

The Seychelles’ ambassador to China, Vivianne Fock Tave, is half Chinese because her father is from Shunde City, in the province of Guangdong (southern China). / CGTN

Besides tourism being the main pillar of the Seychelles economy, Vivianne said Seychelles also wants to increase their fish exports to China.

The island state is known to have one of the highest per capita incomes in Africa. In 2019, its GDP per capita was almost $ 15,000.

“Although Seychelles is considered a high income country, we are a Small Island Developing State (SIDS). And like all SIDS, we are very vulnerable to external shocks, ”said Vivianne, adding that GDP per capita should not be taken only as a measure of development.

When asked what Seychelles and China can learn from each other, Vivianne said Seychelles could share their experience of integrating environmental protection into their sustainable development agenda with China.

“In the meantime, we can also learn a lot from China. China can bring us a lot of expertise in various fields – aquaculture, agriculture, small and medium enterprise development – because our economy is so small.”

In October 2020, Seychelles experienced a change of government for the first time since gaining independence in 1976.

To this end, Vivianne said the government of Seychelles has always supported and still supports the “one China principle”. “So we will continue to work with China as a friend,” she said.


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