A sustainability expert in the Seychelles says that the 115-island archipelago situated off the eastern coast of Africa can be considered as a source for case studies on sustainable development and the creation of ‘green jobs’ in Africa.
Emanuele de Stefani from Seychelles-based NGO Sustainability for Seychelles (S4S), attended a recent forum in Antananarivo, Madagascar on environment and the creation of ‘green jobs’.
Speaking to SNA, de Stefani said the Seychelles is beginning to show considerable development in the creation of eco-friendly industries, such as renewable energy, eco-tourism and sustainable fisheries, leading to the start of what could one day be an entire sector dedicated to ‘green’ or environmentally-friendly employment.
The week-long discussion in Madagascar was organized by l’Institut de la Francophonie pour le Développement Durable (IFDD) with a panel of international experts and saw the participation of delegates from Burundi, Comores, Djibouti, Madagascar, São Tomé and Principe, and the Seychelles, an 115-island archipelago situated off the eastern coast of Africa.
For the Seychellois delegates, the biggest hurdle was explaining where the Seychelles archipelago was, as most of the other delegates did not know where Africa’s smallest state of just 90,000 people was.
“Once we explained where Seychelles was, the most interesting thing to them was the economy,” said de Stefani. “For such a small country, we have the highest GDP in Africa.”
The current GDP per capita of the Seychelles is around $16,000, thanks to the archipelago’s main sources of foreign exchange – tourism and tuna – where, by comparison, Madagascar’s is $470 per year.
According to de Stefani, Seychelles highlighted its unique position in environmental conservation with over 50 percent of its land area protected as national parks and its leadership role of the ‘Blue Economy’ concept for sustainable development of small island states.
Representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Employment, the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry and civil society were invited to share each country experience on the three Rio Conventions— Biodiversity, Climate Change and Desertification—derived directly from the 1992 Earth Summit.
From these discussions, the IFDD will put together a framework of recommendations for the development of more eco-friendly jobs in developing nations, which is expected to be ready in a few months.
The importance of renewable energy, waste management and agriculture emerged as key contributors for sustainable development and creation of green jobs.