Blue economy can help expand US Africa partnership, says Seychelles foreign affairs minister
Seychelles Foreign Affairs Minister Jean Paul Adam (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean Paul Adam, has highlighted the opportunities that the blue economy can offer to the expansion of the US-Africa trade partnership, ahead of the US-Africa summit in Washington.
In a press statement issued this afternoon, the archipelago’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says Adam was addressing the ministerial meeting on trade between Africa and the United States in the context of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
He was accompanied by the Seychelles Principal Secretary for Trade and Investment, Dr. Steve Fanny.
The Seychelles minister stressed that the blue economy concept can prove beneficial to the partnership between Africa and the US as steps are taken to extend the partnership.
“We need to include more fisheries products under AGOA, and we have the opportunity to develop a framework for sustainable fisheries exports from African countries. Seychelles has warmly welcomed the US initiative of organising the recent Oceans Summit, and this can create a platform for new exports that focus on sustainability of resources," said Adam in the statement.
The specificities of trade for Small Island Developing States was another highlight of Adam’s address.
He expressed hope that the issue of the narrow resource base of SIDS can be addressed as the African Growth and Opportunity Act is reviewed, especially now he said that 2014 has been declared the UN year of small island developing states (SIDS).
“We are not able to develop a large number of products- it is important that in the few areas where we do have a comparative advantage that we can address means to harness the full potential of those few products, such as fisheries. The eight African Island states do not benefit on the same way from shared infrastructure of regional integration. We are isolated from key markets, but through the right market access facilitation, and with a focus on sustainability, we believe the US can be a key partner in trade with Africa's islands," added Adam.
The meeting was jointly opened by US Secretary Of State John Kerry and World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim.
According to the MFA statemen, the Deputy Chairman of the African Union, Erastus Mwencha, President of the African Development Bank and African ministers also addressed the AGOA forum which is one of the key ministerial preparatory meetings for the first US-Africa Summit.
The three day historical gathering of African leaders on US soil will come to an end tomorrow.
Seychelles' President James Michel is amongst the over 40 African Heads of State and Heads of Government attending the summit hosted by US President Barrack Obama under the theme "Investing in the Next Generation".
Washington is being seen as trying to seek ways to get US businesses interested in the opportunities in Africa.
Currently China is the main investor in Africa followed by Europe.