Seychellois businesses showcase products to investors from African continentInvestment |Author: Patsy Athanase and Betymie Bonnelame | July 21, 2016, Thursday @ 20:20| 6921 views
The investment forum and exhibition is an opportunity for Seychelles businesses to showcase and market their products attracting funding opportunities and potential investors. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - When talking about the blue economy, Seychelles wants to look at ways to maximise its oceanic spaces and create wealth for Africa, said a top government official on Thursday.
Seychelles’ Minister of Finance, Trade and the Blue Economy Jean-Paul Adam was addressing an investment forum and exhibition showcasing local businesses and investment opportunities in the island nation.
The event was held under the theme ‘Blue Growth and Investment Opportunities,’ which the Minister for Investment, Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation Michael Benstrong says emphasises that Seychelles is open for business.
“It is our hope that the exhibition and forum will contribute towards unleashing African trade and economic potential,” said Benstrong.
|The half-day investment forum and exhibition which will be held over three days coincides with the annual general meeting of the shareholders of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) taking place in Seychelles. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
Three key areas were addressed at the forum: investment opportunities in the blue economy, the future of the financial services and focus on regional trade relations.
Benstrong said that after the first day of the meeting, it was made clear that Africa has not yet taken full advantage of growth and development opportunities offer by the abundance of resources.
The investment forum and exhibition coincides with the annual general meeting of the shareholders of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) taking place in Seychelles from July 18-24.
Vice-President for Finance, Administration and Banking at Afreximbank Denis Denya said that as an emerging blue economy, Seychelles, an archipelago in the western India Ocean, offers unique investment and trade alternatives for Africa’s economy as a whole.
“This, in turn, should ultimately force our economic integration, promote intra-Africa trade and accelerate the process of structural transformation of African countries,” said Denya, adding that, “Blue growth and its potential impact on the region can play a role in our own ongoing efforts to diversify African economy.”
Around 50 businesses from different sectors including fisheries, financial services real estate, education, aviation, insurance and craft were showcasing their products at the three-day event.
|Around 50 businesses from different sectors including fisheries, financial services real estate, education, aviation, insurance and craft were showcasing their products at the three-day event.(Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
The Chief Executive of the Seychelles Investment Board, Rupert Simeon, said there is already a lot of interest in the real estate sector especially the Eden Island project.
“In the long-term, we expect to see an increase in our exports especially in the fisheries sector,” said Simeon.
Some fishing companies already exporting fish products were present at the exhibition.
James Lesperance owner of Amirantes Fisheries, a Providence-based business in the south of Mahe, said he was presently exporting to the Maldives, India and Sri Lanka but was looking at other potential markets on the African continent.
The company produces various products such as fish spread, chutney, salted fish using tuna and by-catch fish.
“There has been a lot of interest especially since our products are produced locally and we have a number of companies and banks ready to hold further discussions with us," said Lesperance.
|James Lesperance owner of Amirantes Fisheries, presenting his products at the exhibition on Thursday. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
Another company also present was Ocean Basket and Bossy Company, specialising in export of dry salted fish.
The director Louis Bossy said the company had focused its export to European destinations, Sri Lanka and Ivory Coast, the only African country so far buying the product.
“We have started with Ivory Coast, and it is going very well, and this will take a different volume next year when more countries know about us."
A stand which attracted many viewers was Takamaka TroisFreres Distillery, which produces locally-made rum.
|Delegates at the Takamaka bay stand were able to taste the locally-made rum. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
Speaking to SNA, graphic designer Benjamin Tambara who was running the Takamaka Bay stand said that delegates have tasted their products and said it is a really good brand and have offered to help promote them on the African market.
The company’s marketing manager, Hedjaz Auckburally, said they are already exporting to Germany, UK, Dubai and Abu Dhabi and will soon start in South Africa but is yet to venture into other African markets.