East Africa: Increased Business Expected Between Indian Ocean Nations Reunion and Seychelles After New MoU

Entrepreneurs from Reunion - a French department in the Indian Ocean - are expected to have better access to the Seychelles' market after business leaders from the two island nations signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

A 13-member delegation from Reunion participated in a bilateral business forum in Seychelles earlier this month.

Commercial activities and business transactions were the main issues discussed at the forum organized jointly by Club Export Réunion and the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industries (SCCI).

Held over four days at the Avani Resort and Spa at Barbarons, it presented the business community the opportunity to discuss their entrepreneurial needs and to build better economic relationships.

The President of Club Export Réunion, Laurent Lemaître, said the meetings build on previous efforts to promote and create sustainable business opportunities between the two nations.

Lemaître explained that in addition the forum "will enable the implementation of environmentally sustainable projects in the framework of bilateral cooperation between the two islands."

According to Lemaître these discussions "will help with the development of brands and enhance the value of products and services designed for and in partnership with Seychellois players or the regional brand 'vanilla islands'."

The Vanilla Islands group is an affiliation of the island Nations - Seychelles, Madagascar, Reunion, Mauritius, Comoros, Mayotte in the Indian Ocean to form a new travel destination brand.

The aim of the co-operation which was founded in August 2010 in Reunion is to join forces and jointly market the region.

"This event is a follow-up of our trip to Reunion a month ago and it was a trip that showed us that the private sector in Reunion Island was dynamic, strong and wanted to build relationships with the private sector, parastatal organisations as well as with non-governmental organizations here," said Iounna Pillay, from the SCCI.

Goods from La Reunion are already being imported to the island nation. These include fruits like litchis and pineapples, vegetables such as cherry tomatoes as well as rice and ketchup. But with the renewed efforts, more products are expected in.

"For the past four years, the Reunion Export Club and the Seychelles Chambers of Commerce and Industries have launched cooperation paths that are today healthy, beneficial and sustainable," said the Minister for Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning - Maurice Loustau-Lalanne.

The Minister added that "the year 2019 is certainly the best time to renew the existing partnership agreement and further strengthen the bilateral and economic collaboration between business communities."

At the end of the working mission in Seychelles - 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean - the entrepreneurs with their Seychellois counterparts came up with a new roadmap.

"The roadmap will guide our entrepreneurs to continuously build better economic relationships. Thus, the transformation towards a more adapted, diversified and sustainable," said Pillay.

On his part, Lemaître said that the forum had provided them with the platform to discuss and focus on new opportunities for the two nations.

"The growth sectors are oriented towards sustainable construction, telecommunications, tourism, energy, the blue economy, fintech and other innovative technologies, including artificial intelligence and well-being. We have a huge potential for development, we must work together for a new era of shared and sustainable growth for our two territories," he concluded.

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