The Seychelles President, Mr. James Michel, has met with the Secretary General of COMESA, Sindiso Ngwenya, at State House this afternoon. Secretary General Ngwenya is in Seychelles for the signing of the COMESA’s Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program (CAADP), due to take place tomorrow.
President Michel and Secretary General Ngwenya spoke about the Seychelles water shortage and coastal erosion challenges. They discussed the realities of climate change, as well as need for capacity building in the region in order to better face these island-specific problems.
President Michel urged the Secretary General to consider the vulnerabilities of small islands states within the decision-making processes of COMESA, particularly in relation to infrastructure projects.
“Regional organizations such as COMESA need to consider projects for small island states when they are planning infrastructure projects on mainland Africa. Islands should not be forgotten, and we need to ensure that island specificities are taken into consideration when assessing our eligibility for funding mechanisms,” said President Michel.
Secretary General Ngwenya said that COMESA would develop specific projects for islands in the future and commended Seychelles for the role that it is playing in the region.
“I thank His Excellency and the government and the Seychellois people for their support to regional integration, and the leadership that is provide by this country for regional integration … as the English say, ‘Seychelles is punching above its weight,’” said Mr. Ngwenya.
Following the meeting, Seychelles Vice-President Danny Faure and Secretary General Ngwenya signed a tripartite agreement between COMESA, UNCTAD, and the government of Seychelles for the financing of a modern customs data IT system, the ASYCUDA World system.
COMESA is financing US$450,000 for this modern system. The Automated Systems for Customs Data is used in Seychelles but will be updated by the news ASYCUDA World web-based system.