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Introduction Seychelles
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. The most recent presidential elections were held 31 August-2 September 2001. President RENE, who has served since 1977, was re-elected.
Geography Seychelles
Eastern Africa, group of islands in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar
Geographic coordinates:
4 35 S, 55 40 E
Map references:
total: 455 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 455 sq km
Area - comparative:
2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
491 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
tropical marine; humid; cooler season during southeast monsoon (late May to September); warmer season during northwest monsoon (March to May)
Mahe Group is granitic, narrow coastal strip, rocky, hilly; others are coral, flat, elevated reefs
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Morne Seychellois 905 m
Natural resources:
fish, copra, cinnamon trees
Land use:
arable land: 2.22%
permanent crops: 13.33%
other: 84.45% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
lies outside the cyclone belt, so severe storms are rare; short droughts possible
Environment - current issues:
water supply depends on catchments to collect rainwater
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note:
40 granitic and about 50 coralline islands
People Seychelles
80,469 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 27.3% (male 11,116; female 10,844)
15-64 years: 66.5% (male 26,068; female 27,425)
65 years and over: 6.2% (male 1,654; female 3,362) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 26.9 years
male: 25.8 years
female: 27.9 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
0.46% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
16.89 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
6.49 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
-5.84 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.49 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 16.41 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.94 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 20.75 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.25 years
male: 65.78 years
female: 76.88 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.79 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Seychellois (singular and plural)
adjective: Seychellois
Ethnic groups:
mixed French, African, Indian, Chinese, and Arab
Roman Catholic 86.6%, Anglican 6.8%, other Christian 2.5%, other 4.1%
English (official), French (official), Creole
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 58%
male: 56%
female: 60% (1971 est.)
Government Seychelles
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Seychelles
conventional short form: Seychelles
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
23 administrative districts; Anse aux Pins, Anse Boileau, Anse Etoile, Anse Louis, Anse Royale, Baie Lazare, Baie Sainte Anne, Beau Vallon, Bel Air, Bel Ombre, Cascade, Glacis, Grand' Anse (on Mahe), Grand' Anse (on Praslin), La Digue, La Riviere Anglaise, Mont Buxton, Mont Fleuri, Plaisance, Pointe La Rue, Port Glaud, Saint Louis, Takamaka
29 June 1976 (from UK)
National holiday:
Constitution Day (National Day), 18 June (1993)
18 June 1993
Legal system:
based on English common law, French civil law, and customary law
17 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President France Albert RENE (since 5 June 1977); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 31 August-2 September 2001 (next to be held NA 2006)
election results: France Albert RENE reelected president; percent of vote - France Albert RENE (SPPF) 54.19%, Wavel RAMKALAWAN (UO) 44.95%, Philippe BOULLE 0.86%; note - the first time that presidential elections have been held separately from legislative elections
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
head of government: President France Albert RENE (since 5 June 1977); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (34 seats - 25 elected by popular vote, 9 allocated on a proportional basis to parties winning at least 10% of the vote; members serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 4-6 December 2002 (next held by 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - SPPF 54.3%, SNP 42.6%, DP 3.1%; seats by party - SPPF 23, SNP 11
note: the 9 awarded seats are apportioned according to the percentage that each party won of the total vote
Judicial branch:
Court of Appeal; Supreme Court; judges for both courts are appointed by the president
Political parties and leaders:
Democratic Party or DP [James MANCHAM, Daniel BELLE]; Mouvement Seychellois pour la Democratie [Jacques HODOUL]; Seychelles National Party or SNP (formerly the United Opposition or UO) [Wavel RAMKALAWAN]; Seychelles People's Progressive Front or SPPF [France Albert RENE, James MICHEL] - the governing party
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Roman Catholic Church; trade unions
International organization participation:
ACCT, ACP, AfDB, C, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Claude Sylvestre MOREL
chancery: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400C, New York, NY 10017
FAX: [1] (212) 972-1786
telephone: [1] (212) 972-1785
Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US does not have an embassy in Seychelles; the ambassador to Mauritius is accredited to the Seychelles
Flag description:
five oblique bands of blue (hoist side), yellow, red, white, and green (bottom) radiating from the bottom of the hoist side
Economy Seychelles
Economy - overview:
Since independence in 1976, per capita output in this Indian Ocean archipelago has expanded to roughly seven times the old near-subsistence level. 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 in order 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. A sharp drop illustrated the vulnerability of the tourist sector in 1991-92 due largely to the Gulf war, and once again following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the US. Other issues facing the government are the curbing of the budget deficit, including the containment of social welfare costs, and further privatization of public enterprises. Growth slowed in 1998-2002, due to sluggish tourist and tuna sectors. Also, tight controls on exchange rates and the scarcity of foreign exchange have impaired short-term economic prospects. The black market value of the Seychelles rupee is half the official exchange rate; without a devaluation of the currency the tourist sector should remain sluggish as vacationers seek cheaper destinations such as Comoros, Mauritius, and Madagascar.
purchasing power parity - $626 million (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1.5% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $7,800 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 2.4%
industry: 24.4%
services: 73.2% (2000)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
0.5% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
30,900 (1996)
Labor force - by occupation:
industry 19%, services 71%, agriculture 10% (1989)
Unemployment rate:
revenues: $249 million
expenditures: $262 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1998 est.)
fishing; tourism; processing of coconuts and vanilla, coir (coconut fiber) rope, boat building, printing, furniture; beverages
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
160 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
148.8 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
4,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Agriculture - products:
coconuts, cinnamon, vanilla, sweet potatoes, cassava (tapioca), bananas; broiler chickens; tuna fish
$235 million f.o.b. (2002)
Exports - commodities:
canned tuna, frozen fish, cinnamon bark, copra, petroleum products (reexports)
Exports - partners:
UK 28.6%, France 20%, Italy 8.7%, US 8.4%, Spain 6.7%, Japan 6.7%, Netherlands 6.6%, Thailand 6.4% (2002)
$380 million f.o.b. (2002)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals
Imports - partners:
Saudi Arabia 15.6%, France 12.8%, Spain 9.9%, Italy 9.7%, South Africa 8.4%, Singapore 7.3%, UK 6.1%, Taiwan 4.2% (2002)
Debt - external:
$170 million (2002 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$16.4 million (1995)
Seychelles rupee (SCR)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Seychelles rupees per US dollar - 5.48 (2002), 5.86 (2001), 5.71 (2000), 5.34 (1999), 5.26 (1998)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Seychelles
Telephones - main lines in use:
19,635 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
16,316 (1999)
Telephone system:
general assessment: effective system
domestic: radiotelephone communications between islands in the archipelago
international: direct radiotelephone communications with adjacent island countries and African coastal countries; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 2 (1998)
42,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
2 (plus 9 repeaters) (1997)
11,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)
Internet users:
9,000 (2002)
Transportation Seychelles
0 km
total: 373 km
paved: 315 km
unpaved: 58 km (1997 est.)
Ports and harbors:
Merchant marine:
total: 5 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 37,281 GRT/55,702 DWT
ships by type: cargo 3, chemical tanker 1, container 1
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: South Africa 2 (2002 est.)
14 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 2 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 4 (2002)
Military Seychelles
Military branches:
Army, Coast Guard (includes Air Wing), Presidential Protection Unit (includes Presidential Guard), Police Force (includes Police Mobile Unit, a special weapons and tactics unit capable of assisting the Army in maintaining internal stability)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 23,444 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 11,639 (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$12.8 million (FY02)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.8% (FY02)
Transnational Issues Seychelles
Disputes - international:
claims the Chagos Archipelago (UK-administered British Indian Ocean Territory)