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Seychellois and French entrepreneurs link up under new Africa-France initiative

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The meeting was part of the Africa-France entrepreneurship community programme  launched by French President Emmanuel Macron earlier this year. (Seychelles Nation)

A group of entrepreneurs from various sectors in Seychelles had the chance to exchange ideas and network with their counterparts from Reunion, an overseas French department, in a meeting at the Alliance Française in Victoria on Thursday.

The meeting was part of the Africa-France entrepreneurship community programme launched by French President Emmanuel Macron earlier this year at the New Africa-France Summit in Montpellier.

During the event, the French Ambassador to Seychelles, Olivia Berkeley-Christmann, launched the new France logo “Make it iconic” – aimed at helping market the European country and all it has to offer its visitors.

The Africa-France entrepreneurs’ community aims to promote partnerships between African and French companies in a peer-to-peer logic.

The event was part of activities organised in Seychelles by the Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry to mark Global Entrepreneurship Week, which kicked off on Monday.

In her address at the event, Devika Vidot, the Minister for Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry, said such networking opportunities were important as “sometimes success comes from knowing the right people and meeting the right people.”

The participants were also able to see what Club Export and Seyes do on Reunion Island, through an online presentation.

Club Export Réunion was set up more than 20 years ago working to boost and structure the export performance of Reunion’s sectors at the regional level, encouraging and strengthening trade and regional cooperation. The body also works to promote Reunion know-how in the world.

According to the representative of Seyes, Remi Voluer, the possibility for Seychelles to export essential oils to Reunion and the European markets is “a good example of complementarity.”

He added that Seyes “has tools, especially scientific tools, and platforms to sell normalised products on EU markets.”

This could also be in the domain of exchanges where waste management is concerned, and other areas of interest to the two island neighbours.

The chief executive of the Enterprise Seychelles Agency (ESA), Lisa Lautoy, explained that after the entity had been approached by the French Ambassador, it had found it important to take part.

“We took the opportunity and started off with a small group of businesses as a trial, with hopes that as interest grows, we will include others,” she told reporters.

She added that “this is a platform where local businesses may join and network with other companies in the region as well as French ones, through exchanges, communications and determining what sort of supplies they may also have to exchange.”

Lautoy also explained that the platform also provides the possibility to export local products to the region.

“Those chosen to attend the initial meeting are from the government’s priority sectors such as the agro-alimentary sector, fisheries as well as those who make cosmetic products with organic materials,” she added.

Seychelles Investment Bureau (SIB) was also present and its chief executive, Anne Rosette said that depending on the information and the avenues chosen during the meeting, SIB would provide the necessary support to those interested.



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