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World Mission

Seychelles

Basic info

  • Area: 455 sq km
  • Population: 93,920
  • Infant mortality: 10 deaths/1,000 live births
  • Life expectancy: 74.9 years
  • Urbanisation: 56.7% of total population
  • Literacy: 91.8%

History

A lengthy struggle between France and Great Britain for the islands ended in 1814, when they were ceded to the latter. During colonial rule, a plantation-based economy developed that relied on imported labor, primarily from European colonies in Africa. Independence came in 1976. Single-party rule was brought to a close with a new constitution and free elections in 1993. President France-Albert RENE, who had served since 1977, was reelected in 2001, but stepped down in 2004. Vice President James Alix MICHEL took over the presidency and in 2006 was elected to a new five-year term; he was reelected in 2011 and again in 2015. In 2016, James MICHEL resigned and handed over the presidency to his Vice-President Danny FAURE.

Environment

The climate is tropical marine and humid; cooler season during southeast monsoon (late May to September); warmer season during northwest monsoon (March to May).

Economy

Since independence in 1976, per capita output in this Indian Ocean archipelago has expanded to roughly seven times the pre-independence, near-subsistence level, moving the island into the high income group of countries. Growth has been led by the tourist sector, which directly employs about 26% of the labor force and directly and indirectly accounts for more than 55% of GDP, and by tuna fishing. In recent years, the government has encouraged foreign investment to upgrade hotels and tourism industry services. At the same time, the government has moved to reduce the dependence on tourism by promoting the development of the offshore financial, information, and communication sectors, and renewable energy. In 2008, having depleted its foreign exchange reserves, Seychelles defaulted on interest payments due on a $230 million Eurobond, requested assistance from the IMF, and immediately enacted a number of significant structural reforms, including liberalization of the exchange rate, reform of the public sector to include layoffs, and the sale of some state assets. In December 2013, the IMF declared that Seychelles had successfully transitioned to a market-based economy with full employment and a fiscal surplus. However, state-owned enterprises still play a prominent role in the economy. Effective 1 January 2017, Seychelles was no longer eligible for trade benefits under the US African Growth and Opportunities Act after having gained developed country status. Seychelles grew at 5% in 2017 because of a strong tourism sector and low commodity prices. The Seychellois Government met the IMF’s performance criteria for 2017 but recognizes a need to make additional progress to reduce high income inequality, represented by a Gini coefficient of 46.8. As a very small open economy dependent on tourism, Seychelles remains vulnerable to developments such as economic downturns in countries that supply tourists, natural disasters, and changes in local climatic conditions and ocean temperature. One of the main challenges facing the government is implementing strategies that will increase Seychelles' long-term resilience to climate change without weakening economic growth.

Ethnic groups

Ethnic Groups(%)

and European)

89.1

Indians

4.7

Malagasy

3.1

Chinese

1.6

European origin

1.5

Religion

Religion(%)

Roman Catholic

76.2

Anglican

6.1

other Christian

2.4

Hindu

2.4

other Protestant

1.7

Muslim

1.6

Pentecostal Assembly

1.5

Seventh Day Adventist

1.2

Languages

  • 89.1%

    Seychellois Creole (official)

  • 5.1%

    English (official)

  • 0.7%

    French (official)

  • 3.8%

    Other

  • 1.4%

    Unspecified