SPEECH BY HER EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA SHRIMATI PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL AT THE INDIA-SEYCHELLES BUSINESS FORUM
Seychelles , 29th April, 2012
Let me begin by thanking the Seychelles Government and the business community in organising this meeting during my visit to your beautiful country. Today's meeting brings together businesspersons, investors and financiers both from India and Seychelles, for the purpose of fostering economic partnerships for the benefit of both India and Seychelles.
I am pleased to address this Business Forum. We envision this Forum, as an important step towards realising the business potential that exists between India and Seychelles.
India and Seychelles share the Indian Ocean; our cultural ties go back over two centuries. We also share many common values and beliefs, foremost among them are a democratic system, a secular, multi-linguistic and multi-cultural society. The warm and friendly bilateral relationship encompasses collaboration and cooperation in diverse fields - political, economic, scientific and cultural. The objective of my State Visit to Seychelles is to expand and deepen our bilateral relations in all areas.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We, in India, acknowledge the economic progress made by Seychelles. India stands ready to be a full and equal partner in the development of Seychelles through financial assistance and initiatives that support capacity building. With an exclusive economic zone of 1.3 million square kilometres, Seychelles offers a plethora of business opportunities in terms of both investment and trade. The Government of Seychelles has identified areas for investments that have a high potential and on the basis of traditional resource base and competitive advantage, and global business trends, has targeted specific sectors for fast track development. These sectors should be the focus of attention for Indian businesspersons.
Seychelles has investor friendly policies for foreign businesses, helped by Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements with several countries including India. It also provides incentives to businesses including tax holidays, concessions and the repatriation of profits. All this makes Seychelles an attractive destination for foreign direct investments. I call upon Indian investors and traders to tap into this market for mutual benefit.
India's economic progress has been impressive. It is one of the largest and fastest growing economies, counted as one of the key drivers of the global economy. Today, we have large investments in education, health and rural development which are bringing their own benefits. We are undertaking a massive expansion in skills development as also in our physical infrastructure. We intend to do this through both public and private investments as also through public-private partnerships. We are, therefore, committed to creating an environment that promotes enterprise and investment. We are doing all this within a democratic framework that is focussed on inclusion and participatory growth. Expanding economic activities in India offer opportunities for the rest of the world, and India hopes this will also benefit Seychelles and wider Africa.
The trade between India and Seychelles can grow. Indian exports to Seychelles in 2010-2011 were worth US$ 31 million while imports from Seychelles by India were US$ 9.29 ( ) million. We must look at ways of increasing it, including by broadening the basket of trade between the two countries.
As you are aware, through the India-Africa Forum Summits, India-Africa engagements have been given a new dynamism and direction. In line with India's commitment to assist in capacity building of African countries, we have visualised more than 22,000 scholarships to Africa over the period of the next three years; and establishment of more than 80 capacity building institutions in Africa. Some of these institutions will be conducting business related diploma courses which will be useful to all African countries including Seychelles. India has also been organizing Conclaves on India-Africa Project Partnership every year and the 8th edition was held in March this year. African delegations are invited and are provided an opportunity to link with Indian businessmen and entrepreneurs for enhancing trade and investment.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Seychelles is breathtakingly beautiful and its natural environment is captivating. I am deeply impressed with its scenic environs. Indian tourists have been visiting Seychelles. I understand that some Indian films have been shot here and I hope that many more Indian film producers and directors will look at Seychelles as a possible location. I am sure the Government and local industries of Seychelles will be only too happy to begin such discussions.
There is significant potential to expand the Indo-Seychellois bilateral partnership in the economic and commercial fields. I urge you to fully utilize the opportunity of meeting today, to impart further momentum to business relations between our two countries. You can be sure of a helping hand from the two governments. I wish you every success.
I would like to recognize the role played by the business chambers, as well as the High Commissions in the two countries, in enhancing the flow of information on investment and trade related issues. I am confident that this will make an invaluable contribution to supporting the establishment of joint ventures between enterprises of both countries. I urge them to keep up the good work.