Seychelles President James Michel has expressed satisfaction concerning the “great potential” for Seychelles to develop air links and trade, as well as fisheries cooperation, with the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
President James Michel and his delegation met with the Sri Lankan Minister for Economic Development, Basil Rohana Rajpaksa, and members of his ministry to discuss the ways in which Seychelles and Sri Lanka can strengthen economic cooperation.
“Air links and maritime trade links between Seychelles and Sri Lanka are critical for the development of our economic cooperation. We have invited Sri Lankan Airlines to start flying to Seychelles in order to increase trade and travel between our countries. This would increase our volume of imports from Sri Lanka, which has more competitive prices for many commodities.
“We are also exploring the possibilities of joint marketing for ‘two-center’ tourism. Sri Lanka has a wealth of historical and cultural heritage, which combined with Seychelles’ unique natural beauty and world-class Creole hospitality, would be added attractions and incentives for travelers wishing to have a rich Indian Ocean experience,” said the President.
Minister Rajpaksa said that work to establish the air links between the two countries would start immediately, including discussions between the respective civil aviation authorities and airlines.
President Michel said that the “circle of friendship” of the Indian Ocean has great potential for trade, as well as investment opportunities for both Seychellois and Sri Lankan investors who wish to expand their activities in the tourism, fisheries, and commerce sectors.
The President and the Minister also discussed the development of semi-industrial fisheries in Seychelles, with the construction of fishing vessels in Sri Lanka, which Seychellois entrepreneurs have done in the past. Minister Basil Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka will extend a credit line to the Seychelles to use in trade and commercial transaction with Sri Lanka, particularly in the boatbuilding ventures. It was also agreed that Seychelles and Sri Lanka will share expertise and experience in the fisheries sector.
The two delegations also discussed the potential for cottage industry development in Seychelles for cinnamon and coconut exploitation. Cinnamon oil and virgin coconut oil have become increasingly valuable commodities on the world market, and Sri Lanka has considerable experience in this sector.
President Michel also met with members of the Sri Lankan business community where presentations on fisheries, renewable energy, boatbuilding, and economic performance were made by Sri Lankan enterprises. Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam, delivered a speech at the meeting, and called on the business community to foster greater partnership between the two countries.
“Seychelles and Sri Lanka are working together to empower our respective entrepreneurs. We are empowering their ability to maximize the use of our ocean to connect our islands to each other and the world,” said Minister Adam.