The Seychelles President, Mr. James Michel, has arrived in Melbourne in the State of Victoria to undertake a state visit to Australia. The President is visiting Melbourne, Canberra, Townsville, and Brisbane at the invitation of HE Quentin Bryce, the Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia. This is the first state visit of a Seychellois head of state to Australia, and follows the state visit of Governor-General Bryce to Seychelles in April 2009.
On his arrival in Melbourne, the President met with the Deputy Premier of Victoria, the Honorable Peter Ryan MP, to discuss the opportunities for increasing trade and economic cooperation between Melbourne, which is the economic hub of Australia, and the Seychelles, which is positioning itself as a strategic hub for investment, trade, and financial services in the Indian Ocean.
“The success of Australian enterprises has always been built on their ability to open doors in new markets, developing innovative ideas, and making investments that benefit Australia. We want Australia to be a big part of the future of Seychelles. I am confident that we can learn a lot from each other. The ‘Little islands’ and the ‘Big island’ are bonded by culture and values and on a spirit of innovation and determination,” said President Michel following the meeting.
The President made a keynote address concerning the “Sustainable development in a globalized world – perspectives from a Small Island Developing State” at the Victoria State Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, at an event held in collaboration with the Australian Institute of International Affairs. The address was attended by academics, journalists, business people, and government officials, as well as members of the Seychellois community in Melbourne.
“I take the opportunity to commend Australia for its substantial contributions towards climate change adaptation and mitigation funds. I commend also the Australian leadership on questions of climate change that has sought to engage actively with Small Island Developing States,” said the President during his address.
The President ended the day with a visit to the Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry where the President and his delegation met with the Chief Executive and Secretary of the VECCI, Mark Stone.
The President invited Australian businesses to invest in renewable energy projects in Seychelles, as well as explore opportunities for joint ventures in tourism projects such as water parks and other leisure attractions which are eco-friendly and beneficial for the country.
The President is scheduled to meet the Governor General tomorrow, as well as engage in bilateral discussion with the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Wednesday, together with other members of her government. Discussions are expected to focus on sustainable development, climate change, renewable energy, and marine research.
The President is accompanied by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam; the Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Alain St. Ange; the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Seychelles, Rolph Payet; and the Seychelles High Commissioner to India, Dick Esparon, who is accredited to Australia. The Australian High Commissioner to Seychelles, Sandra Vegtig, is also accompanying the delegation.