New shipping, air routes being explored between India and Seychelles
The seminar to boost bilateral trade and investment between India and Seychelles took place on Friday at Eden Bleu. (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - A regular shipping line between India and Seychelles is being explored, as are new routes for Air Seychelles, business officials said.
Oliver Bastienne, the chairperson of the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), told reporters at the opening of a seminar on Friday that talks started last year on how Seychelles can enhance connectivity with India.
"Air Seychelles is going to Mumbai and we are seeing that since there is a lot of potentials maybe we should explore other places in India where Air Seychelles can go. Another is a cargo ship that can operate in the region from India to Seychelles," he said.
The Indian-Seychelles trade and investment seminar took place at Eden Bleu under the theme 'sustainable partnership for shared growth and prosperity'. It was organised by the Indian High Commission, SCCI and Indian Association.
The main aim was to set up a platform and dialogue among partners from India and Seychelles to increase investment and trade between the two countries.
In his address, the Vice-President, Vincent Meriton, said that figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) "are very good indicators of the potential both in terms of import and export between our two countries."
|Meriton said the figures indicate there is a potential for import and export between Seychelles and India. (Louis Toussaint) Photo License: CC-BY|
According to NBS, in 2017 Seychelles imported just under SCR18 billion ($1.3 billion) worth of goods and in 2019 up to September, the figure was over SCR 12 billion ($877 million). The total export from Seychelles was SCR3.9 billion ($285 million) in 2017 and SCR 2.8 billion ($204 million) in 2019 to September.
The total imports from India to Seychelles was over SCR568 million ($42 million) in 2017 and SCR642 million ($46 million) in 2019. Export to India was SCR11.6 million (847,000) in 2017 and SCR9.6million ($702 million) in 2019 up to September. This represents 0.3 percent of the total export to India.
Meriton said that hopefully the seminar will address the shortcomings and find the loopholes that are impediments restricting trade and investment from happening between the two countries.
On his side, the Indian High Commission to Seychelles, Dalbir Singh Suhag, said that Seychelles is a leader and pioneer in the area of the Blue Economy and is leading the fight against climate change.
"There is still one area of cooperation that still has substantial scope and potential to provide mutual prosperity and shared growth to both countries. This is the area of economic and commerce... By some estimates, it is projected that direct import from India to Seychelles can give a reduction of up to 70 percent in prices of essential food items."
He added that "increase in trade with India will also lead to the exchange of effective and affordable technologies... this will boost economic development activities."
The chairperson of the SCCI said that businessmen and women in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, are interested to trade with India and that after the conference a clear action plan is to be set up.
"I want that after the conference we put the actions down and we put a timeline and action order and let's implement. I am here because I see an opportunity for us to do something positive and if we are all giving our time then we must have the continuation and execution. Sometimes this is what we are losing. I think it is important for us to have a roadmap and for each one us to take our responsibilities," said Bastienne.