Seychelles President James Michel opened the doors of the Seychelles2020 EXPO last night, together with First Lady Natalie Michel and 8-year-old children from schools all around the country, who will be adults in 10 years’ time. The launch was attended by a wide cross-section of society, including small business entrepreneurs, community leaders, teachers, and technology experts, as well as members of the government, the National Assembly, and the Diplomatic Corps.
“Let us enter together into the future filled with many promises, to explore it together. Let us see the opportunities that exists. Let us seize them!” said the President during his opening address.
The President said that the EXPO theme, “Touch the Future,” represents the future he is offering to the new generation of entrepreneurs, as well as the youth which are looking for new opportunities to shine in Seychelles and throughout the Indian Ocean. He announced that in the next 5 years, the government would be constructing 2,066 new houses, which forms part of the “New Seychelles” that all Seychellois are called on to build together.
“There is something for every Seychellois, without exception… this calls for everyone to share in the ‘New Seychelles’ we are building. The ‘New Seychelles’ represents an investment in ourselves, an investment in our children. We are investing in our victory – the victory of the Seychellois people,” said President Michel.
The President said that Seychelles2020 EXPO is the fruit of a vision, of an ambition, and collective work which took inspiration from previous projects that remain relevant today.
“We have accomplished most of the objectives of ‘Aspiration 2013’ and what remains will be completed. In terms of ‘Strategy 2017,’ we have succeeded in accomplishing certain targets earlier than was forecast. The rest will be incorporated in the new National Development Strategy, which is entirely complimented by Seychelles2020 EXPO.”
The President said that the government is continuously working to create better conditions for the Seychellois nation to take ownership of the economy and create more prosperity and wellbeing for the country.
“For this reason I have asked the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank to introduce a mechanism which will enable small- and medium-size businesses to have access with bank loans at better rates. We are continuously working for this ‘New Seychelles.'”
The EXPO is open from 9:00 am-7:00 pm every day, including Saturday and Sunday until April 6, 2011. Seychelles2020 EXPO has several themes, which the President spoke about:
– “Islands of Opportunity” shows the plans for development of the reclaimed islands of Aurore, Soleil, Persévérence, Ile du Port, and Romanville, which are found around Mahé island, and Eve Island next to Praslin. The development plans show the areas and designs for for new houses, tourism projects, leisure and commercial businesses, shops, offices, etc.
– “Hub of the Indian Ocean” is the affirmation of the Seychelles as a strategic hub in the region with friends and partners such as China, India, the European Union, and the countries of the Gulf.
– “K-Economy,” the Knowledge Economy, will be developed with the arrival of the fiber-optic submarine cable, which will create new opportunities for young Seychellois to participate in the e-economy via the Internet and improve business speed and performance. The University of Seychelles will drive this K Economy and give Seychellois the tools to take up these new opportunities, as well as take a new direction in the education of the youth.
– “Eco Capital of the World” presents the country’s ambition to become a model for the international movement to preserve and protect the planet for all human beings. This illustrates the efforts and successes of the Seychelles in environment conservation, sustainable development, and the determination to live an ecology-friendly life. La Digue has been selected to become the pioneer of this program for eco-friendly living, which will later be introduced on Praslin and Mahé.
– “Seychelles First” is the presentation of the accomplishments of the country and they way it is integrating technology in Seychellois lives. It also includes environment conservation efforts, such as declaring 96% of Silhouette Island as a protected biodiversity.
– “Service Delivery” explores the way the government and the private sector offers various services to the public and the way that quality and efficiency of service may be improved.
– “Government serves the People” illustrates the way that government will reinforce its primary commitment and create better conditions for service in health, education, housing, employment, and social services.