Introduction Seychelles

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. The most recent presidential elections were held in 2001; President RENE, who had served since 1977, was re-elected. In April 2004 RENE stepped down and Vice President James MICHEL was sworn in as president.

Geography Seychelles
Location: archipelago in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar
Geographic coordinates: 4 35 S, 55 40 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 455 sq km
land: 455 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 491 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate: tropical marine; humid; cooler season during southeast monsoon (late May to September); warmer season during northwest monsoon (March to May)
Terrain: 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% (2001)
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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: 41 granitic and about 75 coralline islands
People Seychelles
Population: 81,188 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 26.4% (male 10,839/female 10,601)
15-64 years: 67.4% (male 26,709/female 28,025)
65 years and over: 6.2% (male 1,622/female 3,392) (2005 est.)
Median age: total: 27.7 years
male: 26.62 years
female: 28.76 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.43% (2005 est.)
Birth rate: 16.22 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate: 6.34 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate: -5.54 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.48 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 15.53 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 19.65 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.28 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 71.82 years
male: 66.41 years
female: 77.4 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.75 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Seychellois (singular and plural)
adjective: Seychellois
Ethnic groups: mixed French, African, Indian, Chinese, and Arab
Religions: Roman Catholic 82.3%, Anglican 6.4%, Seventh Day Adventist 1.1%, other Christian 3.4%, Hindu 2.1%, Muslim 1.1%, other non-Christian 1.5%, unspecified 1.5%, none 0.6% (2002 census)
Languages: Creole 91.8%, English 4.9% (official), other 3.1%, unspecified 0.2% (2002 census)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91.9%
male: 91.4%
female: 92.3% (2003 est.)
Government Seychelles
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Seychelles
conventional short form: Seychelles
Government type: republic
Capital: Victoria
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
Independence: 29 June 1976 (from UK)
National holiday: Constitution Day (National Day), 18 June (1993)
Constitution: 18 June 1993
Legal system: based on English common law, French civil law, and customary law
Suffrage: 17 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President James MICHEL (since 14 April 2004); note – the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President James MICHEL (since 14 April 2004); note – the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
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 re-elected 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; France Albert RENE stepped down 14 April 2004 and Vice President James MICHEL was sworn in as president
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 to be 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, AU, C, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Claude Sylvestre MOREL
chancery: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400C, New York, NY 10017
telephone: [1] (212) 972-1785
FAX: [1] (212) 972-1786
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. Growth slowed in 1998-2002, and fell in 2003, due to sluggish tourist and tuna sectors, but resumed in 2004, erasing a persistent budget deficit. 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 may remain sluggish as vacationers seek cheaper destinations such as Comoros, Mauritius, and Madagascar.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $626 million (2002 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 1.5% (2004 est.)
GDP – per capita: purchasing power parity – $7,800 (2002 est.)
GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: 2.8%
industry: 28.7%
services: 68.9% (2004 est.)
Labor force: 30,900 (1996)
Labor force – by occupation: agriculture 10%, industry 19%, services 71% (1989)
Unemployment rate: NA
Population below poverty line: NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 39.5% of GDP (2004 est.)
Budget: revenues: $318.3 million
expenditures: $298.5 million, including capital expenditures of NA (2004 est.)
Public debt: 122.8% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture – products: coconuts, cinnamon, vanilla, sweet potatoes, cassava (tapioca), bananas; broiler chickens; tuna fish
Industries: fishing; tourism; processing of coconuts and vanilla, coir (coconut fiber) rope, boat building, printing, furniture; beverages
Industrial production growth rate: NA
Electricity – production: 218 million kWh (2002)
Electricity – production by source: fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity – consumption: 202.8 million kWh (2002)
Electricity – exports: 0 kWh (2002)
Electricity – imports: 0 kWh (2002)
Oil – production: 0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil – consumption: 4,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil – exports: NA
Oil – imports: NA
Current account balance: $-98.42 million (2004 est.)
Exports: $256.2 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports – commodities: canned tuna, frozen fish, cinnamon bark, copra, petroleum products (reexports)
Exports – partners: UK 27.7%, France 15.8%, Spain 12.6%, Japan 8.6%, Italy 7.5%, Germany 5.6% (2004)
Imports: $393.4 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports – commodities: machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals
Imports – partners: Saudi Arabia 15.5%, Spain 13.3%, France 10.3%, Singapore 7%, South Africa 6.8%, Italy 6.7%, UK 4.7% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $70.94 million (2004 est.)
Debt – external: $218.1 million (2004 est.)
Economic aid – recipient: $16.4 million (1995)
Currency (code): Seychelles rupee (SCR)
Currency code: SCR
Exchange rates: Seychelles rupees per US dollar – 5.5 (2004), 5.4007 (2003), 5.48 (2002), 5.8575 (2001), 5.7138 (2000)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Communications Seychelles
Telephones – main lines in use: 21,700 (2002)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 54,500 (2003)
Telephone system: general assessment: effective system
domestic: radiotelephone communications between islands in the archipelago
international: country code – 248; 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)
Radios: 42,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 2 (plus 9 repeaters) (1997)
Televisions: 11,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .sc
Internet hosts: 264 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: 11,700 (2002)
Transportation Seychelles
Highways: total: 373 km
paved: 315 km
unpaved: 58 km (1997 est.)
Ports and harbors: Victoria
Merchant marine: total: 5 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 42,223 GRT/63,538 DWT
by type: cargo 1, chemical tanker 3, refrigerated cargo 1
foreign-owned: 1 (Nigeria 1) (2005)
Airports: 15 (2004 est.)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 3 (2004 est.)
Airports – with unpaved runways: total: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 4 (2004 est.)
Military Seychelles
Military branches: Seychelles Defense Force: Army, Coast Guard (includes Navy Wing, Air Wing), National Guard (2005)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
Manpower available for military service: males age 18-49: 21,612 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 18-49: 16,122 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures – dollar figure: $12.3 million (2004)
Military expenditures – percent of GDP: 1.8% (2004)
Transnational Issues Seychelles
Disputes – international: together with Mauritius, Seychelles claims the Chagos Archipelago (UK-administered British Indian Ocean Territory)

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