The BlueInvest Africa 2022 event officially opened in Seychelles – African Business

The President of the Republic, Mr. Wavel Ramkalawan delivered the Keynote address at the official opening ceremony for the BlueInvest Africa 2022 event, held this morning at the Eden Bleu hotel. Being held for the first time in Seychelles, outside of Europe, this 2-day event is a result of a partnership between the European Union and the Government of Seychelles that has put the blue economy at the core of their development. Furthermore, as a key sector to develop their socio-economic aspirations and achieve the different goals of the 2030 Agenda, notably SDG 14 (Life below water).
There are 500 participants attending this business event both physical and online. Twenty-two pitchers have been selected to further make presentations and share their knowledge through sessions in front of a number of panels that will cover topics such as renewable energy and water solutions, solution and safe economy for plastic and waste, fisheries and aquaculture, solar power solutions and as well as technology and innovative solutions.
The event will also see the participation of fifteen promising and well-established African Small Micro and Medium-sized businesses (SMEs) that will showcase and exhibit their projects and businesses as well as their end products.
During his keynote address, President Ramkalawan underlined the aim and objectives of BlueInvest Africa, which he said is to boost innovation and investment in sustainable technologies for the Blue Economy, whereby participants are expected to bring forth Seychelles’ agenda, achievements, and exchanges of experiences.
“For, entrepreneurship, initiative, and innovation – not least in the Blue Economy – can only take off and thrive in an enabling environment. I want you to reflect on this during your networking and pitching sessions and I want BlueInvest Africa to really lead the way forward. We, Africa and Europe meet in Seychelles to take a fresh look at the waters that surround us and the opportunities that they offer. Our ‘Blue Planet’ offers vast, new, and exciting possibilities. And we are all called upon to share in these opportunities,” said the President.
The Head of State remarked how everyone is dependable on the oceans, lakes, and rivers, either for transportation, as climate regulators as well as the world’s largest carbon store.  Moreover the importance of the cultural, environmental, and socio-economic value of the Earth’s aquatic resources for humans, regardless of their geographic location, and whether  they are categorised as coastal, island or landlocked. From then on, President Ramkalawan urged for global efforts and collaborations concerning oceans and aquatic resources.
“Our aquatic resources are clearly our most valuable asset. All the more reason why the African Union has identified the Blue Economy as the continent’s new development pathway. Oceans are also one of the least-explored areas on our planet. They can offer solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems, such as in renewable and sustainable energy, extractive resources, medicine, food security and much more. 
He added, “With the rising global pressure for countries to employ ‘greener’ practices to counter climate change, our nations are compelled to continuously seek means of ensuring environmental integrity, while at the same time ensuring that our people can enjoy their basic human rights and needs and livelihoods are secured for generations to come. How best to do this than through the exploration of the Blue Economy potential?.”
To conclude, called on the participants to embrace and nurture innovation and ingenuity in the entrepreneurial sector. Furthermore, to look at the Blue Economy as huge potential and he stressed on the need to foster a more practical, hands-on multi-sectorial approach that would stimulate the development of the entrepreneurial aspect of the Blue Economy. By encouraging more out-of-the-box thinking, facilitate and entice current and prospective entrepreneurs to occupy this space. 
“The Blue Economy is multi-sectorial. It offers various avenues for entrepreneurs to innovate, to unleash their creative energies, to bring more value addition across Africa’s existing Blue Economy sectors, such as in transportation, ports, marine sciences, fisheries and tourism. It equally offers prospects for economic diversification in a number of hitherto untapped sectors. 
I am pleased to note that through Blue Invest Africa, African entrepreneurs are being presented with an opportunity to pitch their business ideas and hopefully secure financial backing to turn their dreams into reality. So, we are fully behind you and encouraging you, pitchers and entrepreneurs, to continue drawing on your ingenuity, to seize the moment, and help Africa to unleash the full potential of its blue economy!” he said.
In her opening address, the Director General at the European Commission, Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Mrs. Charlina Vitcheva, said that the European Union and Seychelles organizing BlueInvest Africa together demonstrates the high quality of their friendship. She underlined the EU-Africa cooperation and addressing the needs of the African population not just in terms of food security but also on sustainable development and growing economic opportunities available to all. There, Mrs. Vitcheva encouraged the participants to embrace the opportunities that this event will put before them by engaging in discussions, exchange points for investment parties, meeting innovators and entrepreneurs, small-scale businesses, and start-ups operating in Africa with the common interest to generate concrete business opportunities, develop sustainable products and services in the blue economy sectors.
The ceremony was also highlighted by a video message from the Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment (ARBE) of the African Union Commission, Mrs. Josefa Sacko.
The ceremony was also attended by Vice President Ahmed Afif, Designated Minister and Minister for Fisheries, Mr. Jean-François Ferrari, the EU Ambassador to the Republic of Seychelles and Mauritius, H.E. Mr. Vincent Degert, Ministers, Principal Secretaries, Members and staff of the European Union, and other invited guests.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of State House – Office of the President of the Republic of Seychelles.
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