Speech by Minster for Finance, Trade and Economic Planning COMESA Court of Justice

July 12, 2017

Tuesday 11th July

President of the Seychelles Court of Appeal, Honourable Justice, Francis McGregor, Acting Chief Justice of the Seychelles Supreme Court, Honourable Seegobin Nunkoo,

Honourable Judges from the Seychelles Supreme Court, Honourable Magistrates from the Seychelles Magistrates Court, Acting Attorney General of Seychelles, Honourable. David Esparon

Judge President of the COMESA Court of Justice, Honourable Lady Justice Lombe Chibesakunda, Honourable Judges of the COMESA Court of Justice here present, Speaker of the Seychelles National Assembly, Honourable. Patrick Pillay, Leader of the Opposition, Honourable, Wavel Ramakalawan, Leader of Government Business, Honourable, Charles De

Commarmond, Honourable Members of the Seychelles National Assembly here present, Honourable Ministers present, Distinguished Members of the Seychelles Judiciary, Distinguished Members of the Seychelles Bar Association, Representatives from the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry, The Seychelles Revenue Commissioner, Members of the Media, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, A very good afternoon to you all.

It is an honor and privilege for me to be invited to deliver the opening remarks on COMESA Court of Justice Publicity Seminar. Since, it is the first time that we have so many Distinguished Judges under one roof as an Advocacy Group, let me describe this occasion as a historic moment for the Republic of Seychelles. I note that the last COMESA seminar took place in the Republic of Zambia and now Seychelles, it means that we are doing well within the COMESA group.

It is in this respect that I would like to thank Judge President of the COMESA Court of Justice, Honourable Lady Justice Lombe Chibesakunda for choosing Republic of Seychelles as your preferred member state for this important seminar.To the Honourable Judges, who are visiting Seychelles for the first time? It gives me great pleasure to extend to you a very warm welcome. To the Honourable Judges, who had the opportunity to visit our country for a second time? Welcome home to the COMESA family away from home. I trust you are enjoying your stay in our country.

I would like to thank His Excellency. President Danny Faure for supporting the organization of this important seminar. In the same context, I must recognize and appreciate the support of Speaker of our National Assembly, Honourable, Patrick Pillay in the realization of this great event. At this juncture I would also like to appreciate, commend and congratulate Honourable Justice Bernard Georges and his organizing team, who had worked tirelessly to prepare for this special event. Well done, you have made our country proud.

To the Leader of the Opposition, Honourable Wavel Ramakalawan, Leader of Government Business, Honourable Charles De Commarmond and all Honourable Members of our National

Assembly present and Distinguished Guests, thank you for making time to grace this occasion. Your presence this afternoon is highly appreciated. Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, we have an opportunity before us to learn from some of the best legal brains. I hope, we all walk away from this seminar enriched with a better understanding on the role of the COMESA Court of Justice and the rules of Arbitrations of this prestigious institution.

With the growth of international trade in Africa, it means that the COMESA countries trade activities is also growing despite a temporary fall in commodity prices. In turn, more foreign direct investments are entering our respective country. With an increase in commercial activities in a volatile trading environment, investors demand contractual protections, transparency and above all, fairness and justice in all commercial transactions.

Of course, each country is different and can select the policy instruments that best fit its needs. In our case, COMESA Court of Justice has an important role to play in arriving at a speedy and mutual settlement of a dispute, when the situation arises between Member States, Investors and the Host Country in our region.

Albeit, a small country, as we continue to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), the spotlight is on Seychelles as part of the COMESA family in ensuring that justice prevails. We need to modernize our trade policies, which will give comfort and assurances to our foreign and local investors.

In the same light, it is time for our institutions to become more conscious of the justice system in order to make further socioeconomic progress and in the process minimize the number of commercial disputes. There is no other way. We must abide to good governance principles in line with best international practices. I am sure that our Distinguished Judges will share with us their wealth of knowledge and experience on arbitration rules this afternoon.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, a transparent and wellstructured arbitration system can positively contribute to an improved investment climate. Given that our national strategy is to continue to attract quality investments on our shores, we need to fine-tune our investment laws, which contains protections and guarantees about the legal treatment

of investments in our country. This policy will place investors in a stronger position as they will be free to seek for a neutral forum outside the Host Country to resolve their disputes. It is this kind of policy, which will turn Seychelles into a competitive investment destination.

In conclusion, I sincerely hope that our seminar today will provide us with useful insights to appreciate the best international practices inas far as Dispute Resolutions are concerned.

I wish the seminar a great success.

Thank you, Merci, A Sante Sana, Murakoze, Sucran


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