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President Ramkalawan officially launched the Seychelles Chapter of the COMESA Federation of Women in Business

01 September 2021 | Foreign Affairs

The President of the Republic, Mr Wavel Ramkalawan, officially launched the Seychelles Chapter of the COMESA Federation of Women in Business during an official opening ceremony held at the Eden Bleu hotel yesterday afternoon. The virtual event was attended by a number of key delegates including the First Lady, Mrs Linda Ramkalawan, COMESA Secretary General, Mrs Chileswe Mpundu Kapwepwe, the Minister for Investment, Entrepreneurship & Industry, Mrs Devika Vidot, Minister for Family, Youth and Sports, Ms Marie Celine Zialor, Governor of the Central Bank, Ms Caroline Abel, COMESA Federation of Women in Business (COMFWB) Chairperson, Mrs Madame Maureen Subwe, and COMFWB CEO Madame Ruth Negash.

Mrs Kapwepwe and her delegation is in the country since Saturday, whereby they have lead high level talks with key Ministries centred on relations between Seychelles and the COMESA among other key topics.

During his address to officially declare the working session open, President Ramkalawan highlighted the importance of such a programme and the objectives of the COMFWB organisation. He commended COMESA for all efforts geared to support the economic development and empowerment of women.

Furthermore, he urged the Seychellois women taking part in this working session to find ways in addressing the challenges that they face in their businesses. The President gave the commitment of his Government to address difficulties that the women here in Seychelles still go through in close collaboration with the COMESA and the Federation.

“One of Government’s core priorities is to facilitate a conducive business community. The need for capacity building and formation, the linkages necessary among women to enable them to access external markets, the need to easily process affordable credit, as well as building business resilience and sustainability, especially for young and upcoming entrepreneurs, are paramount. This is the encouragement that lies at the foundation of successful business endeavours and national development,” said President Ramkalawan.

Addressing the issue of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Head of State noted how Seychelles has been affected, especially in the Tourism sector where many women business owners were not spared. There, the President called on the COMFWB through its Seychelles Chapter in diversifying and come up with new business ideas in other sectors, saying, “Economic diversification therefore is vital, especially in value addition sectors such as fisheries and agriculture. We therefore welcome initiatives by COMFWB through its Seychelles Chapter, to address these challenges by equipping women and the youth with skills and knowledge to enter, develop and create new industries. Innovation is the way forward,”

He continued, “I will encourage the Seychelles Chapter to put this as a priority item on their agenda. We may be small, but we can definitely manufacture high value products. I therefore urge our women to think beyond borders as they learn to scale up and standardize their business and products to meet the demands of a competitive and extended market,”.

President Ramkalawan thanked the COMFWD organization for their commitment through the Regional Enterprise Competitiveness and access to Markets program (RECAMP 1) in helping women clustering and promoting their products locally, regionally as well as internationally. The President noted that through the Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry this will be further facilitated.

“As part of its mandate to develop essential policies to meet the demands of the business community, the ministry is also focussing on promoting innovative business approaches in the use of technology.  Through the support provided by a non-state organisation like COMFWB Seychelles can only solidify her efforts and generate the right type of results for Women, Youth and country,” he said.

To conclude, the President called on the Seychellois women and youths to seize all opportunities offered by COMFWB Seychelles. He wished the COMFWB Seychelles Chapter all the best as they take on the role to support Government in achieving its goals of promoting industrialization and entrepreneurship, specifically at MSME levels.

Prior to the launching this afternoon, Mrs Kapwepwe paid a courtesy call on the President yesterday morning at State House where she briefed the Head of State on the various meeting she has undertaken with different Ministers and the new office desk for the Seychelles Chapter of the Comesa Federation of Women on Business (COMFWB Seychelles) located in the Seychelles Investment Bureau (SIB) headquarters. They further discussed how Seychelles’ relation as a member of Comesa and how to further deepened the cooperation.

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