Maxim Behar speaks to Bloomberg TV about a united Africa and the continent's beautiful places

Maxim Behar comments on the importance of strengthening friendly and economic relations with the African Union, and shares the beautiful places to visit in Seychelles

Host: I would like to ask you how Sofia is celebrating Africa Day today?

Maxim: This is the seventh or eighth year that we have done these great celebrations. We always do that in the center of Sofia in front of the theater or on the site of the former mausoleum. We gather all the countries and the representatives of the countries with their own stands. These are the ambassadors and honorary consuls. We play our African songs. I'm so happy to see the presence of so many people from Bulgaria, from Sofia of course. And I think this is a very good African celebration. The 25th of May is celebrated as Africa Day all over the world, moreover this year on this day is the 60th anniversary of the African Union. We have an anniversary, and it is an opportunity for us to showcase our culture, traditions, and the interesting things that are happening in our countries.

Host: We are one of the first countries to start celebrating Africa Day around the world. Why is the friendship between Bulgaria and Africa so important?

Maxim: If we go back 60 years ago it is easy to see that Bulgarian politics and economy was very pro-African. There was a lot of African investment here, Bulgarian companies were building a lot of dams, buildings, etc. in Africa. These connections are very important because often when you say Africa in Bulgaria you mean constant conflict, poor people, problems. This is one part, the other is the exotic. Everybody says this is Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar all these countries. I think Africa is the fastest growing continent in the world right now. There are countries that are literally doing economic miracles. It is always good for Bulgaria to have good economic and political relations with African countries, because together with Asia, they are the future continents that may one day determine the direction of the world.

Host: What do the historical events of 1963 teach us? What should we remember them for?

Maxim: It is a very good message for all of us to be united not only by continents, as Africa is and the creation of the African Union. Not only as it is in Europe where there is a European Union or the United States of America. If it is possible to cooperate, good economic relations work better. There is a United Nations organization of which all the countries of the world are members, but it seems to me that the economy is much less affected there. Until the economy must be at the heart of every cooperation, every link of relationship now.

Host: In 2002, the Organization of African Unity was transformed into the African Union, 20 years later, can we really talk about a united Africa?

Maxime: To a large extent yes, because from my humble Seychellois experience, I know that our Seychelles government is extremely compliant with every single decision that the African Union based in Addis Ababa takes. I believe that in the institution that unites all African countries, however different they may be, especially based on historical tribes, different borders of countries. It is the strongest institution that I know in Africa, and it is a great miracle that for 60 years now these countries have been united with almost no visible or invisible political and economic contradictions.

Host: You mentioned that Africa is very often known for the exotic and the wonderful places we can visit, Seychelles is one of them. What do you expect this year in terms of interest from Bulgarian tourists to Seychelles?

Maxim: Last year 2022 there was an extraordinary interest. Tourists increased between 400-500% because there were four charter flights, which was a very big breakthrough. This year, we already have two charters. I certainly expect 2023 to be even more successful in terms of tourism from Bulgaria to Seychelles. We would not expect Seychellois to come to Bulgaria for tourism; they come here to study. We have 6-7 students now. But the book I wrote very recently, which contains a lot of interesting things about Seychelles, is also a small drop to this interest. I am sure Seychelles will become more and more interesting in Bulgaria because it is a great country, 115 islands and only 85 000 people. 60% of the territory is protected. By law, no one there has the right to drive a nail, move a bench, let alone cut down a tree or anything else. That is, interest will be growing and not only in Bulgaria, but the world will also be more and more interested in Seychelles.

You can see the whole interview here.

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