Seychelles' foreign minister takes helm of IOC with youth and maritime security in focus 

General |Author: Rita Joubert-Lawen Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | May 23, 2024, Thursday @ 16:24| 5432 views

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, assumes the rotating presidency of the IOC. (Indian Ocean Commission)

(Seychelles News Agency) - Better connectivity between member states, maritime security and putting the youth at the heart of development, are some of the projects for the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) according to its new president, Sylvestre Radegonde, the Seychelles' Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism.

Mauritius handed over the presidency of the Indian Ocean Commission to Radegonde on May 17 at the closing ceremony of the 38th Ordinary Session of the IOC Council of Ministers.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Radegonde, said, "We want to focus on connectivity. It is easy to say that no airline or ship is going around the islands. [...] For an airline or a vessel to go around the islands, there must be passengers or cargo regularly. We must seriously address this issue of how we can connect our islands and have a reliable connectivity."

He added that this will the IOC to another objective and that is to have a bulk importation system for the islands.
"We depend on importation and the price of foreign exchange. The maritime security concern today has resulted in an increase in prices.  We need to have a bulk importation system but there must be ways to distribute," said Radegonde.

The minister said another subject being discussed is maritime security and today "whether it is drugs, arms trafficking, human trafficking [...] we need a mechanism to work together."   

He said this would mirror an existing mechanism for importing medication and that "I want to review how things are done now at the IOC so that we can move faster."

Radegonde also said he intends to keep continuity in terms of what has already been undertaken under the Mauritian presidency.

"The funds we receive when working on IOC projects are not the ones that remain there even though the projects are moving at a slow pace," he said and stressed the need to work fast and use them while still available.
For the first time since the IOC presidency exists, Seychelles has adopted the theme of "Youth, motors for development" and as part of the region's youth inclusion, the various young parliamentarians will attend a meeting soon.

Additional topics to be addressed during his presidency are environmental protection, climate change and culture.
The Indian Ocean Commission is an intergovernmental organisation set up in 1982  - which includes Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius, and Reunion, a French Overseas Department.

The last time Seychelles assumed the presidency of the IOC was in 2019.  

Tags: Indian Ocean Commission, Council of Ministers


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