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Seychelles officially the Republic of Seychelles is an archipelago nation of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, some 1,500 kilometres east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar. Other nearby island countries and territories include Zanzibar to the west, Mauritius and Reunion to the south, Comoros and Mayotte to the southwest, and the Suvadives of the Maldives to the northeast.

Background History

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 Alix Michel took over the presidency and in July 2006 was elected to a new five-year term; he was reelected in May 2011.


Country Name:

  • conventional long form: Republic of Seychelles
  • conventional short form: Seychelles


  • name: Victoria
  • geographic coordinates: 20 09 S, 57 29 E
  • time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)


  • 29 June 1976 (from the UK)

Government Type:

  • republic

Executive Branch:

  • chief of state: President James Alix Michel (since 14 April 2004); Vice President Danny Faure (since 1 July 2010)
  • head of government: President James Alix Michel (since 14 April 2004); Vice President Danny Faure (since 1 July 2010)
  • elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for two more terms); election last held on 19-21 May 2011 (next to be held in 2016)

Legislative Branch:

  • structure: unicameral National Assembly

Judicial Branch:

  • structure: Court of Appeal; Supreme Court; judges for both courts are appointed by the president


People & Society


  • 91,650 (global rank: 198)
  • growth rate: 0.87% (global rank: 129)


  • noun: Seychellois (singular and plural)
  • adjective: Seychellois

Major Cities:

  • Victoria (capital) 26,000

Ethnic Groups:

  • mixed French, African, Indian, Chinese, and Arab


  • Roman Catholic 76.2%, Protestant 10.6% (Anglican 6.1%, Pentecostal Assembly 1.5%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.2%, other Protestant 1.6), other Christian 2.4%, Hindu 2.4%, Muslim 1.6%, other non-Christian 1.1%, unspecified 4.8%, none 0.9%


  • Seychellois Creole (official) 89.1%, English (official) 5.1%, French (official) 0.7%, other 3.8%, unspecified 1.4%

Life Expectancy at Birth:

  • total population: 74.25 years (global rank: 114)
  • male: 69.66 years
  • female: 78.98 years

Infant Mortality:

  • total population: 10.77 deaths/1,000 live births (global rank: 134)
  • male: 13.48 deaths/1,000 live births
  • female: 7.98 deaths/1,000 live births


  • adult prevalence rate: NA
  • people living with AIDS: NA


  • definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  • total population: 91.8%
  • male: 91.4%
  • female: 92.3%



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. In 2008, having depleted its foreign exchange reserves, Seychelles defaulted on interest payments due on a $230 million Eurobond, requested assistance from the International Monetary Fund (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 selling 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.

Gross Domestic Product:

  • GDP (PPP): $2.304 billion (global rank: 191)
  • GDP per capita (PPP): $24,500 (global rank: 70)
  • real growth rate: 3.7% (global rank: 78)
  • composition by sector: agriculture: 3%, industry: 14%, services: 83.1%


  • currency: Seychelles Ruppee (SCR)
  • exchange rate (per US Dollar): 12.44


  • population below poverty line: NA
  • unemployment rate: 2%

Agricultural Products:

  • coconuts, cinnamon, vanilla, sweet potatoes, cassava (manioc, tapioca), copra, bananas; poultry; tuna


  • fishing, tourism, processing of coconuts and vanilla, coir (coconut fiber) rope, boat building, printing, furniture; beverages

Export Commodities:

  • canned tuna, frozen fish, cinnamon bark, copra, petroleum products (reexports)

Import Commodities:

  • machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals, other manufactured goods




  • archipelago in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar


  • total: 455 sq km (global rank: 198)
  • land: 455 sq km
  • water: 0 sq km


  • tropical marine; humid; cooler season during southeast monsoon (late May to September); warmer season during northwest monsoon (March to May)

Land Use:

  • arable land: 2.17%
  • permanent crops: 4.35%
  • other: 93.48%

Natural Resources:

  • arable land, fish

Current Environmental Issues:

  • fish, coconuts (copra), cinnamon trees


Transnational Issues

  • international disputes: Mauritius and Seychelles claim the Chagos Islands (UK-administered British Indian Ocean Territory)

Published: Friday, April 24, 2015