Ramkalawan at the first Saudi-Africa Summit held under the theme “Productive Partnership.” (State House)
Seychelles’ President Wavel Ramkalawan has called for an end to the indiscriminate attacks in the ongoing crisis in Gaza and Israel, an immediate cessation of hostilities, and a return to the negotiating table, in his address on Friday at the closing of the first Saudi-Africa Summit in Riyadh.
Ramkalawan said that the ongoing crisis “is a grave tragedy and a matter of utmost concern for us all. Seychelles firmly condemns all attacks on civilians in both Palestine and Israel.”
He also reaffirmed Seychelles’ support for a two-state solution as the only way forward to lasting peace in the region.
The first Saudi-Africa Summit was held under the theme “Productive Partnership” and the President of Seychelles said that this signifies a pivotal shift in the Africa-Saudi partnership.
“This is a mission that we should pursue together as equal partners. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a strong and trusted partner on which African countries can rely on for the shaping of our respective national industries, and in embracing the investment climate by exploring together various areas of cooperation,” he added.
Ramkalawan said there are promising avenues for the Saudi-Africa partnership among them is the M
This, he said, is an area that presents a unique opportunity to strengthen intra-African trade advancing Africa’s participation in global trade as well as contributing to poverty alleviation.
Another avenue is “the business-to-business engagements in core sectors geared towards fostering economic growth, creating job opportunities, and driving innovation in both our regions,” said Ramkalawan.
He also talked about investment and empowerment of women and the youth through programmes and initiatives that cultivate their development and ensure that they have a stake in the progress of both Saudi Arabia and Africa sides.
Ramkalawan also spoke as the chairperson of the African Island States Climate Commission.
“I wish to highlight once again the negative effects of the climate crisis on Seychelles and other African coastal nations, which extends to food security and socio-economic challenges across the entire continent and beyond,” he said.
“As partners, we need to act together, we need to take bolder actions to address these matters including the adoption of a Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI), which will take into consideration the vulnerabilities of small island developing states and not solely GDP per capita as a measurement for the level of development,” he added.
The head of state of the archipelago in the western Indian Ocean said, “We look to Saudi Arabia to play a broader role in smaller African countries like Seychelles in building more resilient and productive food systems that will support food security.”
He added that Seychelles is keen to engage with Saudi Arabia and other African states in sharing experience and know-how on the effective management of the island nation’s economic exclusive zone of 1.3 million square kilometres.
This will be through maritime security, research and development and innovative policies to combat illegal unreported, and unregulated fishing along with addressing illicit drugs and arms trafficking.
He concluded by calling on his fellow heads of state and governments and partners present “to use the outcome of this very first summit to maximise our own capacities for a healthier and long term productive partnership between Saudi Arabia and Africa.
Ramkalawan arrived in Saudi Arabia on Thursday and was welcomed by Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz.
|Ramkalawan arrived in Saudi Arabia on Thursday for the Saudi-Africa Summit. (State House) Photo License: CC-BY