Seychelles was represented by Project BluEyes by WonderWeiss at the Global Business Summit co -hosted by the Republic of Estonia and the United Arabs Emirates.
The two host countries were represented at the summit on Wednesday 16th December 2020 by their respective Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Minister Urmas Reinsalu from the Republic of Estonia and Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan from the United Arab Emirates. The key aim behind this event was to see how countries could move forward and adapt to the “new normal” following the pandemic and become more digitalised. The event attracted multiple themes under Digitalisation namely Education, Smart Mobility and Logistics, Finance & Manufacturing, e-Health, e-Agriculture and Food Technology and e-Governance and Cybersecurity. WonderWeiss fell into the e-Governance and Cybersecurity category with their Project BluEyes.
Project BluEyes is a solution that provides greater surveillance of the waters surrounding Seychelles. It is a tangible and digital solution/platform. The system can be used in the form of an application on a mobile device that can provide significantly greater transparency across Marine Protected Areas. The project consists the use of a device that collects real-time data of its surroundings, thus, represents the versatility of the project. The system has the ability to monitor large bodies of water whilst identifying the presence of vessels out at sea. In turn, the necessary authorities will be notified and can take action to prevent any unauthorised activities. Additionally, the system used also has the capability to unveil the secrets of the waters through its monitoring activities. Put simply, Project BluEyes is to monitor, control and survey fishing activity within the area in real-time as well as to catalyse growth of fish and coral population.
The Minister responsible for Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry, Mrs. Devika Vidot, addressed the summit virtually in support of WonderWeiss’ project. Minister Vidot took joy in what her country has achieved so far in regards to digitalisation and highlighted the need for more progression. When speaking of the issues the paradise state faces in its waters, she emphasised on how the use of technology can enable faster action in dealing with the unlawful activities. She continued her address by recollecting of a time when Seychelles apprehended a vessel in its waters with an estimated 150 kilos of drugs. She also expressed the sadness and pain her country felt in the late 2000s and early 2010s, a time where pirates roamed the Indian Ocean waters. She noted that Seychelles has been desperate to provide security to its citizens and continues to do so with the threat of piracy still looming over the islands.
Minister Vidot extended her support to WonderWeiss for Project BluEyes stating that:
“To our citizens, it represents what our young workforce can achieve if they are given the chance to exploit their intellects. To our fishermen, it provides a sense of security knowing that their daily sacrifices is of significance. To our small nation, it represents a way forward with a chance to better tackle many of the illegal actions that our country faces in relation to our oceans.”
The Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry came to know of the Summit through the Foreign Affairs Department in November 2020. It was required for Seychelles to choose a project that could overcome a global problem and that could be exported in three months. WonderWeiss fitted well into the criteria in view of its ground-breaking and global-solution nature.
The summit was meant to open doors for WonderWeiss to establish investors and simultaneously, act as an opening and inspiration for more young Seychellois to open entrepreneurial ventures. The summit coupled with WonderWeiss’ participation, falls in line with the Ministry’s plan to promote and support more entrepreneurial ventures that will drive growth through resilient practices and promote self-sustainability in Seychelles.
WonderWeiss is a local clean-tech start-up, founded in late 2019, which focuses on developing sustainable innovations in the form of tools and mechanisms to provide solutions to existing environmental problems such as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The company is made up of a collective of young professionals from various fields of expertise with a mind-set that represents what the Ministry is striving to stir in the people of Seychelles.