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BlueInvest Africa 2022 is Held in Seychelles for the First Time

The Department of Blue Economy had an eventful week last week with the official opening ceremony of BlueInvest Africa 2022. The event kicked off on the 7th and concluded on the 08th of September and was held at the Eden Bleu Hotel under the high patronage of the President of the Republic of Seychelles, H.E. Mr. Wavel Ramkalawan. The event itself is a result of the valued partnership between the Government of the Republic of Seychelles and the European Union. The European Union and Seychelles both heavily emphasise on the importance of the blue economy and wished to put it at the core of their development.

Apart from the President of the Republic of Seychelles, the event saw the participation of several VIPs such as Vice President of Seychelles, H.E. Ahmed Afif, Designated Minister and Minister for Fisheries and Blue Economy, Mr. Jean-François Ferrari, the EU Ambassador to the Republic of Seychelles and Mauritius, H.E. Mr. Vincent Degert, the Director General of the European Commission, Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Ms. Charlina Vitcheva, Government Ministers, Principal Secretaries, Members and staff of the European Union, and other invited guests.

The President of the Republic, H.E. Mr. Wavel Ramkalawan delivered a speech on the 07th for the opening of BlueInvest Africa. President Ramkalawan noted that “For, entrepreneurship, initiative, and innovation – not least in the Blue Economy – can only take off and thrive in an enabling environment… Our ‘Blue Planet’ offers vast, new, and exciting possibilities. And we are all called upon to share in these opportunities.”

The Director General of the European Commission, Ms. Charlina Vitcheva, stated that the EU and Seychelles proudly came together to organise such a promising and fruitful event. Of course, this collaboration shows the unwavering diplomatic ties the Seychelles has with the EU and the eagerness to keep such a strong relationship over the coming years.   She further noted that the EU-Africa cooperation is one of great importance and there is indeed a need to focus on the concerns that surround the continent of Africa when it comes to food security and sustainable development along with the growing economic opportunities available to all. Ms. Vitcheva also mentioned that BlueInvest Africa aimed to be one of the meeting points whereby relationships are formed through the blue economy that may address the above-mentioned concerns.

A video message from the Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment (ARBE) of the African Union Commission, Mrs. Josefa Sacko was also aired before the pitching sessions took place.

The event was considered as a complete success as it saw the participation of over are 500 participants attending this business event both physically and online pulled from 37 African countries. A total of twenty-two pitchers had the opportunity to present their innovative and forward-thinking blue economy ideas for all the participants and investors. They were able to share their understanding and expertise of their blue economy projects  through five different pitching sessions which covered sections such as renewable energy and water solutions, solutions for circular economy on plastic and waste, fisheries and aquaculture, solar power solutions as well as technology enabled solutions.

During the two-day event, investors from Europe and Africa were able to meet and exchange ideas for investment opportunities in formal consultations to further develop the blue economy sector. Furthermore, participants were also able to take part in a site visit to the Aquaculture Centre at Providence which is managed by the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA). The event saw the participation of fifteen African Small Micro and Medium-sized businesses (SMEs) that showcased and exhibited their projects and businesses as well as their end products. A total of four of the SMEs were Seychellois-led: Seaweed Seychelles, the Ocean Cleanup Project, Brikole and M.eco-fabrics.

There were three vibrant and successful TED talkers for the event, namely, Captain Londy Ncgobo, who is Africa’s first female Dredge Master. Diana Orembe, a microbiologist researcher who has made a ground-breaking discovery of a bacteria-based protein for the feed industry and last but not least, Desiree Brouwer through her agency Nonzero Africa which aims to leverage its entrepreneurial expertise to help entrepreneurs in Africa grow.

At the end of the event a total of 5 pitchers were awarded with the title of ‘Best Pitcher’ from all 5 categories who were selected by voters through the App Slido. There was also 1 pitcher who won the title ‘Best Pitcher’ for BlueInvest Africa 2022 overall that was chosen by the panels leading the event itself.