Seychelles

Region: Archipelago in the Indian Ocean

Capital: Victoria

Population:  86,900 (UNDP 2011)

Surface area: 455 sq km

Currency: Seychelles rupee (SCR)

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $24,700 (201 – CIA est.)

Background:
A lengthy struggle between France and Great Britain for the islands ended in 1814, when they were ceded to the latter. Independence came in 1976. Socialist 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 re-elected in 2001, but stepped down in 2004. Vice President James Michel took over the presidency and in July 2006 was elected to a new five-year term.

Economy – Overview
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 upper-middle income group of countries. Growth has been led by the tourist sector, which employs about 30% of the labor force and provides more than 70% of hard currency earnings, and by tuna fishing. In recent years, the government has encouraged foreign investment to upgrade hotels and other services. At the same time, the government has moved to reduce the dependence on tourism by promoting the development of farming, fishing, and small-scale manufacturing. The Seychelles rupee was allowed to depreciate in 2006 after being overvalued for years and fell by 10% in the first 9 months of 2007. Despite these actions, the Seychelles economy struggled to maintain its gains and in 2008 suffered from food and oil price shocks, a foreign exchange shortage, high inflation, large financing gaps, and the global recession. In July 2008 the government defaulted on a Euro amortizing note worth roughly US$80 million, leading to a downgrading of Seychelles credit rating. In an effort to obtain loans to service its debt, Seychelles in November 2008 signed a standby arrangement with the IMF that mandated floating the exchange rate, removing foreign exchange controls, cutting government spending, and tightening monetary policy. In response to Seychelles’ successful implementation of these policies, the IMF upgraded Seychelles to a three-year extended fund facility (EFF) of $31 million in December 2009. In 2008, GDP fell more than 1% due to declining tourism and the initial effects of liberalization, but the economy recovered in 2010-11 after the reforms took hold and tourism increased. Seychelles is attempting to implement further structural reforms, including overhauling the tax system, reorganizing of state enterprises, and deregulating the finance and communications sectors. (CIA, 2012)

Major Export Commodities: canned tuna, frozen fish, cinnamon bark, copra, petroleum products (reexports)

Remittances:19 million USD (World Bank 2011 est.)

Human Development Index 2011 ranking: 52 out of 187 countries

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners: Net ODA US $56 million.  Major development partners include:France, Japan, United Arab Emirates, E.U. Institutions, Italy (OECD 2010)

Total External Debt: US $1.682 billion (December 2011- CIA est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth: 73.6 years

Environmental Indicators:

                                               Endangered Species (as a % of all species): 18

                                               Forested Area (percentage of land area): 88.5

                                               CO2 Emissions (tonnes per capita): 8.1

                                               (Data Source: UNDP 2011)

United Nations Membership Date: 21 September 1976

New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Seychelles to the United Nations
800 Second Avenue, Suite 400C
New York, N.Y. 10017 USA
Telephone: 212-972-1785
Fax: 212-972-1786
E-mail: Seychelles@un.int. 
Website:www.un.int/wcm/content/site/seychelles

Sources:

CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. www.cia.gov

World Development Indicators. World Bank www.worldbank.org

Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org

Human Development Report 2011.United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org

 

Updated July 2012