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The Minister for Finance, Trade Investment & Economic Planning, who views that:
- “The interim Economic Partnership Agreement is an important agreement for our private sector as it ensures duty free and quota free access for their exports to the EU, which boasts a market of 500 million consumers. As one of the world’s largest trader of goods and services, the Economic Partnership Agreement will also provide access to a multiple of goods and services for our consumers in Seychelles.
However, it is important that our private sector fully benefits from the Economic Partnership Agreement, which is why the signature toda, of this new programme worth 10 million euros is significant. The funds from the programme will be geared towards the development of value chains, building capacity of the various government agencies to better service the private sector and towards private sector development amongst others.
We anticipate that by the conclusion of this programme in 2020, our private sector, especially women entrepreneurs, will be in a better position to access the EU market, whilst ensuring that their Intellectual Property Rights and the environment is protected.
This programme, together with other programmes being funded by the EU, will further assist the regional integration initiative through the development of value chains between countries, especially within the ESA region, and to a great extent the African continent.”
The Secretary of State and Executive Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs and National Authorising Officer, Mr Barry Faure, said:
- “The financing agreement is at the core of the EU-funded programme under the 11th EDF in support of implementation of the iEPA. With this signing, the European Union will be allocating a sum of €10 million to Seychelles to ensure that Seychelles achieves the overall objective of the programme, which is to enhance the capacity of the public and private sector to reap the full potential of the current EPA thus enhancing Seychelles’ competitive integration into the regional and international trading systems.”
The Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Seychelles, Ms. Marjaana Sall said:
- "The European Union is Seychelles' first trade partner, and the Economic Partnership Agreement ensures that Seychelles exports remain competitive by offering quota-free and tariff-free access to Seychelles products entering the European market. The programme we are signing today assists Government in reaping the full benefits of the Economic Partnership Agreement by focusing on economic diversification, private sector development and job creation. It aims at assisting Government in meeting its inclusive growth objectives".
The programme is expected to boost exports by encouraging economic diversification, the production of higher value products and the exploitation of niche markets. The programme will in this respect assist private enterprises in increasing their productive capacities through the acquisition of new equipment and European know-how on how to produce high-value products with export potential. Government institutions will, in parallel, be trained so as to better understand and implement trade agreements, and better promote Seychelles products abroad. Business to business fora will be organised under the programme so as to put European and other regional importers as well as investors and importers directly in touch with Seychelles enterprises.
The major cornerstone of the Economic Partnership Agreement is that it provides market access to the European Union single market of 500 million consumers. If also promotes regional integration in the Eastern and Southern Africa region which represents another important market for Seychelles.
In the nutshell, the Economic Partnership Agreement will open markets hence create opportunities for growth by making it easier to trade and by attracting foreign direct investment.
A special attention is being paid to the gender dimension in the project. The project, via the support to small medium enterprises, will favour the emergence of women-led entrepreneurship as a means to ensure gender balance, the socio economic empowerment of women and fight against poverty.
In line with commitment taken by Government in the country's Nationally Determined Contributions to reduce greenhouse gases, the programme will ensure that environmentally friendly production techniques are used by enterprises.
1. EU-Seychelles cooperation:
Up to now, Seychelles has received €40 million in development aid from the European Union under successive European Development Funds, covering various sectors, from Environment to Economic reform programme and Education. For 2014-2020, Seychelles has received €10 million to implement the interim Economic Partnership Agreement which adds to the €2.2 million from the bilateral cooperation programme which concentrates on the reinforcement of institutional capacities to assist in the implementation of the Seychelles Sustainable Development Strategy. Seychelles also benefits from several other programmes in the fields of climate change, maritime security, gender based violence, fight against drugs and fight against corruption. The European Union-Seychelles relations not only cover Development cooperation, Investment, Trade or Fisheries but is also a Political partnership allowing an increasingly close cooperation in international fora on issues such as Maritime Security and Climate Change.
2. The Economic Partnership Agreement
With the European Union as one of its most important trading partner, Seychelles signed the EU-ESA (Eastern and Southern Africa) interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on 29 August 2009 and ratified it in May 2010. The EPA replaces the trade provisions of the Cotonou Agreement that expired on 31 December 2007.