The Seychelles East Africa System fiber-optic cable has reached Seychelles this morning at Beau Vallon Bay, heralding another “first” for Seychelles together with a new era of transformation in society and the key to the future of the country.
Seychelles President James Michel and Vice President Danny Faure witnessed the arrival and connection of the cable at a ceremony held on the beach in front of La Plage Restaurant. The event was also attended by the Minister for Natural Resources and Industry, Peter Sinon; the Principal Secretary for Information Communication Technology, Benjamin Choppy; the Principal Secretary for Presidential Affairs, Lise Bastienne; the Cable&Wireless Chief Executive Officer, Charles Hammond; and the Airtel Seychelles Managing Director, Tsiresy Randriamampionon, together with dignitaries, partners in the project, school children, and engineers.
“It is not every day that history is made. And today we are making history, with the arrival of a revolutionary connection of the Seychelles East Africa System. It is a milestone in our country’s proud history as an independent nation in the global communication village. It is a special moment, which has the potential for transforming our economy and our way of life for the better,” said President Michel in his address following the arrival of the cable.
President Michel noted that this week marked the first anniversary of his second term in office, and the Seychellois people elected him on the platform of his commitment to build a new Seychelles, assuring that he would not waver nor be distracted in the pursuit of this goal.
“The transformation of the new Seychelles rests on a knowledge economy, on a knowledge-based society, stimulated by our youth, who live and thrive through IT innovation. Without the proper tools and resources at our disposal, we shall not succeed in our venture. The arrival of this fiber-optic cable is one of the many pillars that will raise the edifice of this new Seychelles and provide the opportunities for its development. … Its connection to our shores today heralds yet another transformation in our society, … new opportunities for e-commerce, faster communication, as well as business and technological innovation.”
Mr. Michel recalled that Seychelles had become connected to the world for the first time by a telegraph cable some 120 years ago, when the cable was laid between Zanzibar and Seychelles and Aden, and that since then, the major communications technology developments had all propelled the country into societal change in the way that people lived, learned, and conducted business.
“We may be living on islands in the Indian Ocean, a thousand miles away from the closest continent, but our information ‘connectivity’ has assured that we steadily become closer to our neighbors, closer to our far-flung relatives and friends, and just a ‘click’ away from every corner of the Earth,” the President said.
The President also applauded the “formidable achievement” of the country in ICT, as Seychelles won this year’s United Nations Award for E-Government as the number 1 country in Africa, which he described as “testimony to the determination of our public service IT professionals to excel in this field. It is also testimony to the success of the new Seychelles.”
The President congratulated and thanked the Vice President, Danny Faure, and the Principal Secretary for ICT, Mr. Benjamin Choppy, a well as the staff of the Department of Information Communication Technology, the staff of Cable and Wireless and Airtel, and their international partners ZANTEL and Alcatel-Lucent for their hard work and excellence in the delivery of this cable.
“This is a striking example of successful public-private sector partnership, which is a model for sound economic development. We are also most grateful for the strong support of the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank for this project. In the coming weeks, Cable and Wireless and Airtel will have the great challenge of delivering faster Internet services to our homes and workplaces.
Naturally, we have great expectations from the Internet service providers to deliver the new and improved services and affordable outreach as a result of this cable connection. I wish you every success in the development of these services for the benefit of the people of Seychelles.”
Mr. Michel called on the Seychellois people to work hard to empower themselves with the new IT tools that this broadband project offers, to develop the technical expertise of business and public services professionals, as well as train young people and encourage them to take up careers in the IT sector.