- Seychelles, a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which is pulling out of the regional grouping became a "hot potato" on Wednesday during one of the regional meetings. The country has quit SADC, but it will formally leave at the beginning of July, SADC officials said.
- By 1 July, a formal communication would be issued to show that Seychelles has left SADC, but we cannot do it at the moment because it would mean we are dismissing the country already, a SADC representative said.
The official was speaking during the Committee of Central Bank Governors (CCBG) meeting which will pave way for the Association of African Central Banks (AACB) meeting, which is chaired by BoB governor Linah Mhohlo-to be held in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana.
It became apparent that the tiny African country still owes SADC outstanding arrears, which it has to pay before it leaves. Currently, members contribution to the Central Banks Associations of the SADC region stands at US$ 97,371 as of February this year.
Despite the country leaving the SADC grouping it can still opt to remain with groups that are linked to SADC without being bullied around. "However, Seychelles would still continue to be a member of the East and South African Banking Superior Group (ESAF)," the official said.
But, a representative of ESAF said that even at this level Seychelles has been dragging its feet. "The country has not been active in the regional groupings, so this case should be treated separately," the ESAF official said.
Seychelles made a controversial announcement in the recent past about its decision to quit the regional 13-member group, which is based in Gaborone.
The tiny 444 square kilometres island country, which is reliant on the tourism industry that provides 50 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) attained independence in 1976.
Seychelles joined SADC at the same time as the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo Kinshasa) and were announced at the 17th Annual SADC summit in Malawi. Congo Kinshasa was apparently not present in the early hours of the CCBG, but was expected to be present at the gathering.
Last year, Seychellois government officials said the country was pulling out of SADC because it was not serving any purpose. Alain Butler-Payette said that Seychelles owed SADC US$ 2.5 million from its annual membership subscription of US$ 500,000.
- We have found out that our best interest are not served by being a member of SADC, said Mr Butler-Payette. "We have carried out a cost analysis to find out what it is that Seychelles or its people derive from being a member of SADC and failed to see the benefits," he added.
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