[Courtesy “The Nation” Interview – 2012]

Governor Caroline Abel is the first to give credit to her team in the important role that the Central Bank has, to make sure there is enough money in reserve to sustain the country’s economy, ensure economic development and growth, control inflation. “The Central Bank is not only about the governor but a team of capable professionals. The team, including the governor, makes the institution and ensures it delivers on the goals within its man-date, and the governor endorses the final decision of the team.”

The eldest of two daughters of first Seychellois playwright Antoine Abel who passed away in October 2004, Ms. Abel has always lived in Anse Boileau where she also followed her primary and secondary education. Between 1989 and 1990 she continued her schooling at the former National Youth Service on Ste Anne Island and Port Launay. Her love for Mathematics led her to choose the subject as well as Economics and Geography at Advanced level studies at the then School of Humanities and Sciences at the Seychelles Polytechnic.

After completing her three-year course she worked a few months at the Social Security Fund before moving to the CBS as a senior bank clerk in April 1994.

Through the CBS higher education scheme two years later she went overseas to study for her first degree in economics at the University of Leeds. On her return after three years she be-came a re-search officer in CBS’ department of research and statistics.

Over the years she has followed several other training for economists and progressively climbed the ladder to become senior research officer and director of research. In 2004, she started a Master’s degree course in monetary economics at the University of Glasgow and in 006 she was appointed head of the research and statistics divi-sion – a position she held until her appointment as deputy governor in July 2010. In 2010 she became the first deputy governor in line with the amendments to the CBS Act. On March 14, 2012 she became Governor of the CBS.

Ms. Abel says: “The way of doing things at the CBS has gradually changed and every day everyone has something differ-ent to do and this is exciting and challenging,” she said.

“Gone are those days when the CBS concentrated on writing re-views and reports. Since the introduction of reforms, the CBS is involved in a lot of new projects. These include the development of the country’s payment system and the re-organisation of the financial supervision system,” she added.

“We have a very young team at the CBS but its ability should not be underestimated,” she noted. She explained that being probably the youngest CBS governor around is more apparent during international forums but for her this is not a barrier at all.

“The aim is to ensure the concerns of your country are tabled,” she said, adding that Seychelles’ economic reforms and those of the CBS are often sought as ex-ample in international forums.

She has described relations between the government and the CBS as “a coordinated collaboration” where since the liberalisation of the economy all actors have to work closely together to maintain stability on the foreign exchange market which has also been liberalised.

“As a small economy which could be affected by any external shock, all our fiscal policies have to be coordinated,” she said.She noted that when the country embarked of the economic reforms in 2008 it was not the decision of one person or any individual alone, but it was the country which decided that this was the way to move forward and CBS and the government came together with a programme to reflect the changes that the country wanted.