Seychelles and Mauritius enhance collaboration |11 April 2023
- Concludes 13th session of joint commission on bilateral cooperation
Seychelles and Mauritius have renewed their commitment towards further collaboration in various sectors at the 13th session of the Seychelles-Mauritius Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation, which took place at Maison Quéau de Quinssy last Thursday.
It followed a three-day senior official meeting in Seychelles with various government entities by the two parties.
Last Thursday’s ministerial segment was co-chaired by the Seychelles’ minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, and his Mauritian counterpart, the Minister for Land Transport and Light Rail and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration, and International Trade of Mauritius, Alan Ganoo (GCSK).
The meeting ended with the signing of the minutes of meeting by the two ministers, which was witnessed by delegations of both parties and the media.
The Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation takes place every two years, and the last session took place in October 2017, in Port-Louis Mauritius. The session was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and when addressing the delegates last Thursday, both ministers said the meeting was long overdue.
Minister Radegonde stated that although the session did not take place it did not deter the two parties from engaging with each other bilaterally, as well as on regional and multilateral platforms. He highlighted the various events which had helped strengthened the Seychelles-Mauritius relationship namely, President Wavel Ramkalawan’s first ever state visit to Mauritius at the invitation of Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth in 2020 and Seychelles’ high commissioner’s recent accreditation to Mauritius in February 2023.
“This commission is a testament to the strong and enduring friendship between our two nations. We are bound together by our shared history, culture, and geography, and we have much to gain from working together on a wide range of issues,” stated Minister Radegonde.
It should be noted that Seychelles and Mauritius have collaborated on various regional and international issues including climate change, marine conservation and tourism and these issues and others namely blue economy and fisheries, health, education, arts and culture, and new business links between Seychelles Investment Board and the Economic Development Board of Mauritius, were once again discussed at last week’s two-day meeting.
Another point addressed was the common desire to enlarge trade links between the two countries.
“Therefore, enhancing maritime connectivity in the southwest Indian Ocean is becoming even more important, a project that was initiated by the Indian Ocean Commission but is being extended to eastern and southern Africa and the Horn of Africa,” stated the minister adding that the countries should also be mindful of the increasing complexity of maritime security challenges within the region.
Minister Radegonde said that with the threat of piracy abated, Seychelles and Mauritius should focus on emerging threats such as drugs, weapons, and human trafficking.
He said since these illicit activities are done in such a structured and organised manner, it was important to come up with a common approach.
“The Framework Agreement on Security and Crime Combatting between Mauritius and Seychelles signed on September 6, 2013, lays the foundation that guides our security cooperation, and it is now more crucial than ever that we see its implementation through,” stated Minister Radegonde.
He also said the senior officials have covered a lot of grounds and reached understanding on a variety of issues during their meeting and commended them for their hard work.
“This joint commission is a testament to the commitment of our governments to strengthen bilateral relations and explore new opportunities for our mutual benefit,” added Mr Radegonde.
For his part, the Mauritian minister, MR Ganoo, highlighted that with the impact of world crisis, vulnerable small island developing states like Seychelles and Mauritius, which are disproportionately hit by these compounding crises, it was gratifying that the two should continue to share and nurture their affinities.
He stated that the ministerial meeting was not to negotiate nor bargain “but rather to build complementarities, synergies and resilience on all desired areas and at all levels”.
He stated that the outcomes of the commission on bilateral cooperation will help improve the quality of life and the two peoples and contribute towards sustainable growth, as well as preservation of their shared natural resources.
He stated that due to the unprecedented pace of transformation worldwide, Seychelles and Mauritius should also collaborate on innovation across all sectors, despite their limited resources.
“We should nevertheless continue to be forward-looking and intensify joint efforts to tap new growth opportunities in emerging areas. These include transformative digital and green economies to drive sustainable and inclusive growth and become beacons of development and prosperity in our region,” said Mr Ganoo.
Following the ministerial meeting, the two ministers also called on President Wavel Ramkalawan late last Thursday, where they highlighted the issues discussed earlier in the day.
Speaking to local media soon after, Minister Ganoo said both countries have agreed that it was time to implement whatever has been agreed on as soon as possible.
“We have agreed that it was important to implement all those propositions and ideas put forward and I have reassured the president that as agreed by Minister Radegonde and I, we will continue to hold meetings virtually to follow, monitor the implementation of all our agreements (from today). We will review its implementation within a year, and of course meet again in Mauritius this time, in two years’ time,” he said.
It should be noted that Seychelles and Mauritius will be celebrating their 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in July this year.
Mauritius and Seychelles have both been praised for ranking first and second, respectively on the Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance for the year 2022.
Photos by Joena Meme