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President Ramkalawan launches the biennial Honorary Consuls conference and attend the opening ceremony of the Plenary Session

The President of the Republic, Mr. Wavel Ramkalawan was the guest of honour at the opening ceremony of the biennial Honorary Consuls conference at the Savoy Hotel and Spa, Beau Vallon, this morning. The 3-day conference taking place under the theme “’Harnessing Opportunities through Diplomatic Relations”, is being organize the Department of Foreign Affairs seeing the participation of honorary consuls of Seychelles around the world.

Prior to attending the ceremony, the Head of State and The First Lady, Mrs. Linda Ramkalawan hosted a cocktail reception at State House yesterday evening where he officially launched the Conference.

During his address that evening, the President thanked and expressed Seychelles’ gratitude to all Honorary Consuls for the diplomatic role they are playing toward the Seychelles and its citizens. With the postponement of the previous Conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he hoped that the Conference would be an opportunity for further discussion on numerous projects that will benefit the country.

President Ramkalawan also commended the Foreign Affairs Department for organising the Conference and initiating for the honorary consuls to adopt a district of their choice. “And here I want to thank the Department of Foreign Affairs for introducing a new way of working. I know that on Thursday all the consuls will be going out in the districts with a meeting with the District Administrators and Members of the National Assembly to look at projects and whatever you think you will be able to participate in. It is good that you will be in a position for you to share with our various districts how we can further enhance and strengthen the collaboration between where you are, where you are based, where you are representing Seychelles, and linking it with real people in the districts. Be it Takamaka, Baie Lazare, Grand Anse Praslin or La Digue,” said the President.

He continued, “But then you also have this diplomatic role and this is where you spent quite a bit of your time promoting Seychelles, putting forward the agenda of Seychelles. Be it looking for investors in the Blue Economy. Be it defending the vulnerability of our country. Be it encouraging tourism, or getting more visitors and here, I want to pause and say yes, through your hard work, through your promotion of Seychelles, we are now on the way back to normality. As we speak, we have surpassed the number of visitors we expected for this year, and the 258, 000 thousand mark was passed earlier this month, now we are looking at over 300,000 thousand visitors for the year 2022”

“The yield of course is much better and this is what has allowed us to be upgraded by Fitch Ratings. This is what has allowed our small country to be able to be recognized in the international arena. This is what has helped us in the various embassies; to be portrayed as a country in Africa but which performs like a developed country. So the work that you do and your contribution to our beautiful country is indeed highly noted and for this we are immensely thankful,” said President Ramkalawan.

Under his leadership and the new administration, President Ramkalawan urged the diplomats to adopt the new principles of in doing things for the country, “As a country, we believe in peace. We believe in dialogue, we believe in reconciliation and we believe that every Seychellois has a contribution to make. This is what we showed to the world and to this day Seychelles stands out as far as Africa is concerned as far as the world is a concerned and tonight I want to reaffirm our strong belief in democracy, our strong belief in peace” reaffirmed President Ramkalawan.

In his address this morning at the opening ceremony of the Plenary Session, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Mr. Sylvestre Radegonde again acknowledged the valuable contribution that the honorary consuls does in each of the countries that they represent Seychelles. For the defense of its interests, the constant promotion of itsimage and for the protection of the Seychellois diaspora. He further thanked them for assisting Seychelles during various difficult moments including funding towards itsvaccination campaign where he described them as “the architects of the resilience of our tourism industry and hence, the Seychellois economy,”

“This year’s Conference is being organized under the theme of “Harnessing Opportunities through Diplomatic Relations”, same theme as the Foreign Affairs Department’s Strategic Plan 2021-2025. The theme emphasizes Seychelles’ intention to capitalize on potential opportunities for the benefit of the country, to strengthen collaboration with its international partners, and to work in solidarity with them. It aims to strengthen bilateral, multilateral, and regional relations for mutual benefit, as well as to remain visible and express itself on the international arena,” said the Minister. He stressed on the important role that they play as key players in the delivery of Seychelles policies both abroad and domestically as diplomatic missions and the consular posts with dual mandate, combining traditional consular functions with the diplomatic ones. There he emphasized on the need for interaction among the local community.

“The Honorary Consuls Conference therefore offers an opportunity to each and every one of you to interact with members of the Government and public officials as well as to connect with the local communities. This interaction is crucial, as it allows you to understand how your actions are having an impact on the livelihoods of local populations and also gives the latter the opportunity to better understand your roles. -7- It is in the spirit of further enhancing this rapport between the Consuls and local communities that we have come up with the “Adopting a District” programme. This programme was launched at last year’s Consuls Conference, which was held virtually, and so this year you will get the chance to visit your adopted district. This should take you closer to the community to better understand their challenges and priorities so that you are in a better position to bring your contribution and support,” he said.

He concluded by wishing them every success in their deliberations and meetings.

The ceremony were also attended by the Vice-President of Seychelles, Mr. Ahmed Afif, Ministers, Seychellois Ambassadors, member of the Diplomatic Corps, Honorary Consuls based in Seychelles among other distinguished guests.

October 26, 2022