“The future of Seychelles is in empowering Seychellois so that they can enter into the economic development of the country and take ownership of the economy.”
President James Michel made this statement after visiting several businesses in the district of Baie Ste Anne on Praslin on Saturday morning, which forms part of a series of visits to various communities and businesses this year.
“This is the key to the future. Today, after the economic reforms, for which we have been admired the world over, we need to maintain this and develop it further. Our wealth needs to grow, to go further for us to be able to do more good for our people,” said President Michel.
He added that “now that we have established the platform of a stable economy, we need to empower Seychellois to do business and create wealth … for this reason I have put a lot of emphasis during the last two years on development of business in Seychelles – big business, medium-size business and small business. Many of these businesses are run by young people who have seized the opportunity to grow. This is the future of Seychelles,” said the President.
Accompanied on the visit by the Minister for Investment, Entrepreneurship Development and Business Innovation Michael Benstrong, principal secretary for Entrepreneurship Development and Business Innovation Maryse Berlouis, member of the National Assembly for Baie Ste Anne Natasha Esther, Baie Ste Anne Praslin district administrator Kenneth Pointe as well as senior officials in the Office of the President, President Michel met a young Stephen Morgan who has his own bakery at home and hopes to build a bakery nearby in the near future.
Mr Morgan told Mr Michel that business is doing well as he receives a lot of orders for cakes and snacks. The young baker also said he has given other young Praslinois the opportunity to learn the job at his place.
Mr Michel visited two fitness gyms in the district – the Valley Fitness Gym on the top floor of the Baie Ste Anne district administration office belonging to Georgie Monnaie and Cyril Rabat’s Fitness Xtra Gym at Côte d’Or – and he was impressed with the equipment available for Praslinois to keep themselves healthy.
Interestingly, the two gyms were practically full on Saturday morning and Mr Michel spoke to the gym owners about the demand for health and fitness products and services and their plans to expand their services in new premises.
A welder by profession, Mr Monnaie still runs his welding business and he said he has invested his savings in buying equipment for a proper gym being run by Mr Seychelles junior 2013 Vicomte Laboudallon.
“I am very happy and it’s an honour that the President has come to see my gym. This gym is becoming too small, I need a plot of land where I can build a building that will house a new gym, my welding business and I can also rent out small workshops to fellow Praslinois,” said Mr Monnaie.
As for Mr Rabat he boasts that former Sportsman of the Year Dominic Dugasse trains at his gym. Judoka Dugasse is the first and only Praslinois to have won the coveted title in 2013.
President Michel also met Basil Hoareau on his farm at Baie Ste Anne and spoke with him concerning his business needs and constraints. Mr Hoareau’s father, Joseph Hoareau, was also present.
Happy to receive the visit of President Michel, Basil Hoareau, 33, said he has been involved in agriculture for 12 years but only moved to Baie Ste Anne last year from the Moulinié estate.
“The agricultural business is doing quite good and I employ three Seychellois workers. I sell my products with individuals and hotels,” he said, adding that he is also a class two building contractor employing 10 Indian and five Seychellois workers.
Mr Hoareau is also the coach of Revengers team who play in the Barclays league division one.
The President’s visit ended at Côte d’Or where he viewed the art works of Praslinois artists who are being promoted by young artist and entrepreneur Rita Morel.
Mrs Morel discussed with President Michel the possibility to acquire another plot of land so that she can build a house and turn her present house into a gallery.
“I am using just one room and the verandah of my house as the gallery. It is full and I need more space,” said Mrs Morel.
President Michel said young people are finding ways to develop themselves and are working hard, adding that he was inspired by the businesses he saw on Praslin where he noticed there is a thirst for growth among the entrepreneurs he met as they are doing well.
The President said it is an encouragement as it shows the results of the business creation efforts of the government’s programmes as well as the improvements in the general business climate.
“It is a mix of innovation and initiative, and I am very impressed! I would like to encourage other entrepreneurs on Praslin to continue their good work, continue to initiate, to innovate,” said Mr Michel.