The loss of young talent is more devastating to an economy and country than any recession. Young people provide visionary leadership for the future, and replenishment of the workforce. Bertrand Belle is the prime example of a young, educated Seychellois returning home to help his Creole community.
Nations and economies can suffer monetary losses during an economic recession or depression, or lose manufacturing and production jobs to cheaper markets overseas. With both of these cases, the situation usually normalizes when the economy recovers and industries adapt, finding new sources of work and income for citizens. However, one of the severest losses any nation can face is that of talent!
Bertrand Belle is a prime example of the value a nation and a people gain when younger generations bring their talent and education home to benefit those they grew up with. Mr. Belle is one of the young, educated Seychellois returning to his Creole roots in the Indian Ocean to help push a nation and a people forward.
From a Talented and Gifted Family of Creoles
Mr. Belle is not alone in serving his native Seychelles. He is the eldest son of Jacqueline Moustache-Belle and Eddy Belle, both of whom are deeply involved in the development of Seychelles in the 21st century. His mother serves as the Mayor of Victoria, and is readily available and visible on the local scene.
His father Eddy, graduated with First Class Honours in chemistry at the University of Lancaster (UK) and later completed his Masters in Petroleum Geology in the US, State of Texas. Today, his father heads the national oil company known as Petro Seychelles. The family is from La Misère, and Mr. Bertrand Belle is himself an accomplished and educated young man. He is the first Seychellois to graduate at the Ivy League University of Harvard.
Bertrand’s younger sister, Kalsey, has just completed her Masters in Engineering and Business Finance at University College of London. The last of his siblings, Pierre-Andre, will sit for his “A” level exams in the next month.
Traveling Abroad to Study
Like his parents before him, Mr. Belle’s wanderlust prised him away from Seychelles for a time. His first trip overseas, for education, took him to Manchester in the United Kingdom. There he studied chemical engineering, eventually earning a Master of Chemical Engineering degree, graduating with First Class Honours.
He would then return to his native Seychelles for a period of time, working in the Ministry of Finance. However, after seven years in the Ministry, he believed there was still more that he could do for his country. He returned to school in pursuit of another degree, this time attending university in the United States.
In 2013 he began a course of study in public administration in international development at Harvard University. His return to school was funded through a scholarship granted by Harvard, and allowed Mr. Belle to complete a Master’s in Public Administration in International Development (MPAID). Once again, he chose to bring his talents and his education back to Seychelles to help his fellow citizens.
Ministry of Finance
Mr. Belle joined the Ministry of Finance in Seychelles at a very delicate time in the nation’s history. As he began his work with the Ministry in 2007, the nation was experiencing a very rough and unstable economic climate. The government had defaulted on its debt, started on a Stand-By Arrangement program from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), floated exchange rates, and launched a bold series of structural reforms.
Throughout all of this economic turmoil, Mr. Belle was working his way through the various levels of the Ministry of Finance. He ultimately decided to return to university, at Harvard, after watching his nation and people struggle with the financial upheaval. While he believed he had the skill and know-how to help his country meet short-term challenges, he wanted the knowledge that would help him assist his people five and ten years from now.
Even though he knew the steps the Ministry of Finance had taken to reform the country’s economy would work to generate positive economic growth, he was concerned about the lack of tools for helping average Seychellois people avoid the middle-income trap. The nation needed a way for more of its people to enjoy a higher GDP.
Master of Public Administration and the Latest Appointment
Mr. Belle was thrilled to return to university for his Master in Public Administration, because he felt it would give him the education and tools necessary to effect long-term change for Seychellois people back home. After completing his degree in early 2015, he was appointed as a Special Advisor to the Vice President of Seychelles, Danny Faure.
As a member of the Vice President’s team, Mr. Belle will assist in the policy development process in the Office of the President, and help address issues as they emerge where it relates to the interplay between economic and social development in Seychelles. In a broader sense, he will also be helping the government by providing assistance in long-term planning and project development in the public sector.
Mr. Belle’s decision to come home to Seychelles, for a second time, a giving back, exudes all the spirit of a Creole community. With his advanced education at Harvard University, and experience in the Ministry of Finance, doors throughout the capitalist world would have opened for him. The potential to earn much more would have been laid bare at his feet. Instead, he opted for a path that uses his own experience and education to improve the greater good of the people, community, and country that helped make him the man he is today.
Caring for family and providing for the community are hallmarks of Creole people around the world, and Mr. Belle provides a shining example for all young Seychellois to follow in the future.