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Officially known as the Republic of Seychelles, the country is comprised of an archipelago of 115 islands, situated in the West Indian Ocean, some 925 kilometres northeast of Madagascar.

According to the CIA Factbook, Seychelles covers a total area of 455 square kilometres and is the 198th largest country in the world. Estimates in July 2010 put the total population at 87,476 with a density of 186.2/km2. In terms of ethnicity 89% of the population are Creole (mixture of Asian, African and European), Indians 5%, Malagasy 3%, Chinese 1.5% and European 1.5%. The official language of the Seychelles is Creole although English and French are widely spoken.

Seychelles gained independence from European colonial rule in 1976, and Socialist rule was brought to a close in 1993, when the nation held it’s first free elections and adopted a new constitution. The nation is currently governed by the Socialist People’s Party led by James Alix Michel, who acts as both chief of state and head of the government. The National Assembly comprises of 34 seats, 24 of whom are elected by popular vote whilst the remainder are allocated on a proportional basis.

Seychelles currency is the Seychellois Rupee (SCR).

Seychelles participates in a number of international organisations including The United Nations, WTO and IMF.


In 2009 the CIA Factbook estimated Seychelles GDP at $767 million with a GDP (PPP) of $1.819 billion, ranking it 184th in comparison to the rest of the world. 66% of national GDP comes from the services sector, 31% from industry and the remaining 3% from agriculture.

Seychelles economy traditionally relied on its cinnamon, vanilla and copra plantations, which used to employ over a third of the local population. Since the opening of Seychelles international airport in 1971, tourism on the islands has flourished and the industry has become the nation’s driving force. Tourism has been embraced by the government and to improve and upgrade the islands hotels and facilities, foreign investment in the sector has been encouraged. To balance its dependence on visitors and make use of its abundant natural resources, the government has also promoted the development of farming and fishing and small scale manufacturing.

The country’s main industries are fishing, tourism, coconut and vanilla processing, coir rope, boat building, printing, furniture and beverages. Agriculture also continues to play a large role in Seychelles economy with coconuts, cinnamon, vanilla, sweet potatoes, tapioca, bananas, poultry and tuna all being produced.

Seychelles exports are worth an estimated $428 million, with commodities being exported primarily to countries such as the UK 24.8%, France 18.5%, Italy 9.4% and Mauritius 9%.

Seychelles also imports a number of products, primarily machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products and chemicals with 16% coming from Saudi Arabia, 8% India, Spain 7%, France 6% and Brazil 6%.


Seychelles has a well developed infrastructure on its main island of Mahé and nearby northern islands. The islands enjoy a well maintained network of roads that stretch for some 458 kilometres, the majority of which are paved.

Public transport consists primarily of buses that are operated by Seychelles Public Transport Corporation (STPC). Buses run along some 41 routes on both Mahé and Praslin with over 1,100 trips running daily on a defined schedule. In addition to public transportation, taxis are readily available and car hire can be organised via a number of rental companies.

Ferries are used to transport passengers to and from major islands. Cat Cocos and Inter Island Ferries operate the majority of services that run several times a day.

Seychelles has over 8 airports with paved runways in various locations, the largest of which is Seychelles International Airport situated on the Island of Mahé, near the capital of Victoria. The airport offers scheduled flights to a number of domestic and international destinations including London, Paris, Singapore and Johannesburg. In 2008 the airport moved over 675,000 passengers and 8,880 tonnes of cargo.

Seychelles has no oil, gas or coal resources and relies solely on imported petroleum.


The CIA Factbook in 2006 estimated Seychelles labour force at 39,560. 74% of the labour force work in services sector which is comprised primarily by the tourism industry. 23% are employed by the industrial sector that focuses on food processing (particularly frozen and tinned fish), boat and furniture building, printing and beverages. The remaining 3% work in agriculture producing coconut, vanilla, cinnamon, bananas, sweet potatoes tuna and poultry .

The work force is predominantly Creole, with smaller proportions of Indians, Malagasy and Chinese.

Reaping the benefits of free schooling and quality healthcare, the Seychelles enjoys a healthy and well educated work force. The nation offers a comprehensive and co-educational primary and secondary school system that is free to all children aged between 5 and 16 years. With almost 100% attendance by children in this age group, Seychelles has maintained a high literacy rate of 91.8%. Seychelles does not currently have its own university but offers further education via nine different post secondary institutions or linkages with overseas universities. Education continues to be a key area for investment, with the government allocating 6.5% of it’s GDP to the sector.

Unemployment in the Seychelles is very low, with the CIA Factbook in 2006 estimating a rate of 2%.

Business Costs

In 2010 the Seychelles government launched a comprehensive reform of its tax system, aided by the World Bank to help strengthen its economy.

By October 1st 2010, a flat income tax of 18.75% will replace the current social security contributions made every month by employers and employees.

Seychelles operates a corporate tax of 33% on any business that has over SCR 250,000 of taxable income. Certain industries such as tourism benefit from a reduced rate of 15%, whilst other businesses such as corporate service providers are exempt from corporate tax on profits.

The current GST rate in Seychelles is 12% - 15%, although a new goods and services tax is going to be introduced by 2012 that will be akin to the VAT system.

In 2010 Seychelles also announced an hourly minimum wage of SCR 16.50.
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