African Union threats against Seychelles result in withdrawal of UNWTO candidate


(Posted 09th May 2017)

Emotions are running high in the world of tourism when the cleanest of all candidates and the one with the best chances to bring the UNWTO seat to Africa, former Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Mr. Alain St. Ange, was reportedly recalled by his government.

It is understood from a high ranking source within the Seychelles government – an extraordinary cabinet meeting was held this late afternoon at State House in Victoria – that the African Union had given the Seychelles an ultimatum to either withdraw their candidate or else face unspecified sanctions, suspension of bilateral and multilateral agreements with other African countries and non support in international fora for any position Seychelles would want to field a candidate for. As a result, and to protect the country’s interests in the international arena, did the cabinet, reportedly very reluctantly, accept the ultimatum given to the sovereign country known as the Republic of Seychelles by the African Union and accepted to withdraw their candidate.
This development speaks volumes on the kind of dirty tactics employed by the African Union and reminds this correspondent of the saga surrounding the candidacy of Georgia for UNWTO Secretary General, which government has reportedly engaged in suspect deals around the world not related to tourism at all to gain votes for their otherwise nondescript candidate.
The dropping out of Alain St. Ange – every candidate must have the endorsement of his or her government, now means that Africa will be seen in such a bad light, once the news hits the air waves, that any chance to win the seat will in all likelihood evaporate, denying Africa this coveted position for reasons entirely for the fault of the African Union.
Of the ten votes Africa has on the Executive Council of the UNWTO were reportedly two votes pledged already to the South Korean candidate and besides the Seychelles vote – now likely to go to someone else in the secret ballot in Madrid – were as many as four additional votes pledged to St. Ange besides a probably dozen or slightly more in round one from other countries around the world. This would have seen St. Ange very likely to reach the second round of voting at which stage he was certain to carry the day.

UNWTO will be poorer off for the withdrawal of St. Ange’s endorsement by his government, the world of tourism will be poorer off for it and one can expect that the next Secretary General will toss the non discrimination agenda of St. Ange branded as ‘Tourism for All‘ out of the window.

The Seychelles government statement is shown below for additional information:

Start quote

President Danny Faure chaired an Extra-Ordinary Cabinet meeting this evening at which the Cabinet considered a formal request from the African Union Commission for Seychelles to withdraw the candidature of Mr Alain St Ange for the election to the post of Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

Having considered the stance taken by Seychelles at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting in March 2016, and at the African Union (AU) meeting of July 2016, where member states, including Seychelles, had unanimously voted to support the Zimbabwean candidate, Cabinet members formally reviewed its decision to support the candidature of Mr St Ange. This is in line with established practices governing the endorsement process for candidatures within the international system under the AU and SADC frameworks.

Mr St Ange’s capacity to lead the UNWTO is unquestionable, as is his vast experience in the field of tourism. However, in light of our standing responsibilities and commitments within the context of the African Union, the Seychelles Government has decided to withdraw the candidature of Mr St Ange for the position of Secretary General.

Seychelles will stand in solidarity with the African Union and support the African Union’s officially endorsed candidate from Zimbabwe in the upcoming election.

End quote

Watch this space for further developments


  1. what a shame that Alain St. Ange has to leave the race in this manner. What does AU want for Africa? How can a nation face sanctions for seconding a candidate for an international job? if its not a competitive process, then why UNWTO sit in some boardroom and appoint the next SG without making it look like a credible contest. Well done Alain St. Ange for running an issue based campaign

  2. Is there an unspoken, unwritten vendetta by the AU against African countries East of Bangui intent of holding any worthy international post?

    Shame on them!

  3. Through their bullying tactics the AU has shown that they are backward thinking and out of touch. Their decision to endorse the Zimbabawe candidate was emotional rather than looking at the bigger picture and being tactical. Seychelles is a premium tourism destination country and St. Ange would have won this contest hands down and fly the flag for Africa. The AU has also unfortunately now set a precedent that the Sovereignty of a member state is irrelevant as this can be overruled by threats of sanctions. How sad!

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