Busy and fruitful year for President Ramkalawan – both at home and on the global stage |29 December 2023
The Office of the President hosted many events in 2023, where it welcomed both local and international personalities, ranging from diplomats, athletes, youngsters and professionals from all cadres. President Ramkalawan also welcomed several ambassadors who were accredited to the country. The Head of State also represented Seychelles at several high-level missions overseas, where he held discussions on key topics including sustainable development and environment, climate change, security, diplomacy, among others.
In January, the President presented three new Ambassadors – namely Ambassador Kenneth Racombo, Ambassador Georges Tirant and Ambassador Gervais Moumou – with their instruments of Appointment.
Seychelles also held successful talks with Masdar UAE in relation to Seychelles' Energy Generation plan.
The discussion took place at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ASWD). The meeting, which was held with the Masdar Chief Green Hydrogen Officer, Mohammad Abdelqader El Ramahi and the Senior Manager of Project Management Services, Simon Bräunigerr, focused on the way forward for the implementation of a comprehensive Seychelles' Electricity Generation plan.
Seychelles is supportive of a transition towards integration of more renewable energy and the use of cleaner fuel for generation of electricity in the short to medium term.
In February, the President met with the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the World Government Summit (WGS) 2023, which was taking place in Dubai.
Both Heads of State reaffirmed their commitment in furthering the good relations between the two peoples and in seeking new areas that would benefit the two countries.
Also in February, the Head of state received the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Executive Secretary, Elias M. Magosi for a courtesy call at State House.
Mr Magosi, a national of Botswana, was sworn in on August 18, 2021 as the Seventh SADC Executive Secretary at the 41st SADC Summit of Heads of State and Commonwealth held in Lilongwe, Malawi. He assumed his position on September, 1 2021.
President Ramkalawan commended Mr Magosi for the excellent work he has been doing throughout his tenure despite the different challenges.
In March, Seychelles’ President delivered his general debate statement before the 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) which was taking place in Doha, Qatar.
In his statement, the President laid emphasis on the importance of collective approach required to attain set goals and targets. He stated that although Seychelles does not form part of the least developing countries, being present at the Conference shows that Seychelles stands united with other fellow SIDS and African countries in advocating and understanding their needs.
In March, the President received the World Bank Country Director, Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough for a courtesy call at State House.
In an interview with the local media, the latter announced the World Bank will be opening an office in Seychelles before the end of its calendar year on June 30, 2023. She said having an office would also allow the international organisation to better listen, understand local issues and in return better help and adjust their plan into the local context.
Still in March, the President welcomed the Chief of Mission for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Calixte Ahokpossi for a courtesy call.
Mr Ahokpossi, and his delegation were in Seychelles at the request of the Seychelles Government to negotiate a new economic programme which includes the Regular macro-economic stability programme (Extended Fund Facility) and the Resilience and Sustainability Fund.
In March, the Head of State and the First Lady received the Bishop of Mauritius, Bishop Stenio Andre, and the General Secretary - Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA), Venerable Joseph Kofi William Graft-Johnson for a courtesy call.
Venerable Graft-Johnson and Bishop Andre were in the country to participate in the celebration of the golden jubilee of the Anglican Diocese of Seychelles, on March 25, and the anniversary of the creation of the Province of the Indian Ocean on March 27, which includes Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar.
On March 31, the President received the Final Report of the Truth Reconciliation & National Unity Commission (TRNUC) in a live ceremony at State House.
The report was presented by the Chairperson of TRNUC, Gabrielle McIntyre, accompanied by the other members of the commission; Michael Green (Vice-Chairperson), Marie-Therese Purvis (Commissioner), Archbishop James Wong (Commissioner) and Jacques Koui (Commissioner). This is in accordance with Section 11(2) of the TRNUC Act 2018.
On the same day, the Head of State was officially presented with a copy of the Central Bank of Seychelles Annual Report 2022 and the Annual Report of the Ombudsman for the year ending December 31, 2022 presented personally by Governor Caroline Abel and the Ombudsman, Nichole Tirant-Ghérardi, respectively.
The Executive Director of the African Development Bank (ADB), Jonathan Nzayikorera, paid a courtesy call on the head of state.
In April, President Wavel Ramkalawan hosted the annual High Achievers Award Ceremony, where some 58 students in public and private schools were recognised for having excelled in the 2022 National and International Examinations in Cambridge IGCSE, and Advanced Level.
President Ramkalawan congratulated the students for their outstanding performance. He also expressed pride that there has been an increase in the number of students that have excelled in their studies this year. He thanked their parents for the support they have given them throughout their studies.
In mid-April, President Ramkalawan, held a ceremony for 22 retirees from the Public Utilities Corporation (PUC) who had clocked 36 years or more of continuous service. Notable among the 22 retiring staff from PUC was Calix Francourt who has worked with the PUC for 47 years.
In recognition of their long years of service, the President conveyed his sincere appreciation to all of them and thanked them for their dedication, and professionalism throughout the years of service at PUC. He also expressed hope that despite their retirement they will continue to contribute to the greater good of the company and their country.
In May, President Ramkalawan and First Lady Linda Ramkalawan, who were in London for the Coronation of his Majesty King Charles III and Queen Camilla, met with 150 of the Seychellois community living and working in the UK.
In May, the Head of State led a high-level delegation in Abu-Dhabi, where they concluded a series of discussions for two national development projects, namely the Seychelles Airport and the Port.
Following discussions, President Ramkalawan expressed his total satisfaction with both meetings and conveyed his sincere gratitude to the President of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for the collaboration and his personal interest in the development in our two main facilities that connects Seychelles to the world.
In June, President Ramkalawan accompanied by the First Lady, Linda Ramkalawan, landed in the Maldives for a three-day State visit.
He was welcomed at the Velana International Airport by the Maldives Minister for Foreign Affairs, H.E Abdulla Shahid and other senior Maldivian government officials.
In mid-June, the Seychelles’ Commander in Chief was the guest of honour at the handover ceremony of four fast response patrol boats gifted by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain, to the Seychelles Defence Forces.
The event was held at the Seychelles Coast Guards Base, at Ile Perseverance in the presence of the Head of the delegation from the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior, H.E. Sheikh Nasser bin Abdul Rahman Al Khalifa; the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the Republic of Seychelles, H.E. Sheikh Khalid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa; the Chief of Defence Forces, Brigadier Michael Rosette; the Commissioner of Police of Seychelles, Ted Barbe; members of the Defence Forces Council; officers and other ranks of the Defence Forces.
Also in June, the Rwandan president Paul Kagame was in Seychelles for a state Visit, where he was the Guest of Honour at this year’s National Day Parade.
While in Seychelles President Kagame held bilateral discussions with President Ramkalawan and also addressed an Extraordinary Session of the National Assembly.
In September, Seychelles’ President attended the official opening of G77 and China Summit in Cuba.The two-day summit was held under the guided theme ‘Current Development Challenges: The Role of Science, Technology and Innovation’.
The official opening ceremony was held on September 15, where President Ramkalawan was formally welcomed at the International Conference venue by the Cuban President, President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermúdez.
During his mission, the head of state also met with Seychelles students studying in Cuba.
The gathering was an opportunity for the students, following their students in medical-related fields, to share their experience as well as challenges while there.
Also in September, while in New York, for the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78), President Ramkalawan held talks with the UN Secretary General, António Guterres.
To open discussions, the UN Secretary General commended Seychelles for being a frontline partner to the United Nations (UN) in numerous spheres and issues of concern for the UN such as the Climate crisis, the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index and for being a strong voice for other Small Island Developing States (SIDS). He also equally commended and expressed appreciation for how Seychelles is an inclusive society and is a leading nation at various levels.
On his part, President Ramkalawan reaffirmed Seychelles’ full support in continuing to raise awareness and spearhead advocacy for the advancements of critical global matters particularly SIDS related issues. The Head of State acknowledged the progress made so far.
In November, the Seychelles’ President visited the Anse Royale primary school. His visit came after receiving letters from 5 students in P3 class – Raisa Afif, Sienna Oyugi, Kaylenn Quatre, Lexie Nanon and Ellie Nicole – requesting that he visits the school and for some educational items.
Upon arrival at school, the President was greeted by the headteacher, Magda Rose. This was followed by a special assembly where Mrs Rose formally welcomed the President at the school and on behalf of the students and teachers, she thanked the Head of State for taking time to visit their school as requested by the pupils.
In November, Seychelles was also represented at the first Saudi-African Summit, where Mr Ramkalawan delivered a statement.
"This summit, under the theme of ‘Productive Partnership’, signifies a pivotal shift in the Africa-Saudi partnership. Hence, as leaders, let us embrace this opportunity, engage in meaningful dialogue, and address specific issues to reinforce the vital connections between our nations. This is a mission that we should pursue together, as equal partners.”
Mid- November, Mr Ramkalawan received outgoing Ambassador Joseph Nourrice for a farewell courtesy call at State House.
On behalf of the people of Seychelles, the President conveyed his sincere appreciation to Ambassador Nourrice for carrying out his duties to the highest standard and for his unwavering commitment by putting Seychelles first in the international arena.
Mr Ramkalawan also joined the ‘Ramp up Rise up Accessibility’ campaign to raise awareness on accessibility to wheelchair bound persons.
His wheelchair challenge at the State House main building was an opportunity to see how wheelchair accessible and friendly are key areas of the main building as well as to identify and proposed immediate and potential long-term solutions.
The campaign is an initiative of Christine Winslow in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Family.
In late November, State House hosted the third edition of the presidential dialogue, to mark the UN Universal Children’s Day 2023.
The live presidential debate organised by the Office of the President in collaboration with the National Council for Children (NCC),was a chance for him to interact with students from all over the country.
At the beginning of December, The President led a delegation at the Twenty-eighth session of the Conference of Parties of UNFCC (COP28).
The President joined over 170 world leaders for the World Climate Action Summit (WCAS) being held during the United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP 28 High-level segment, where he also delivered his National Statement. The summit echoed the critical need for World Leaders to implement and transform key climate related decisions into concrete actions and credible plans.
Still in December, Mr Ramkalawan chaired a meeting with members of the Judiciary at State House following a request made by the Judiciary themselves with a proposed agenda of various administrative subjects and key challenges they feel are impeding the work of their institution.