Seychelles [Country Flag of Seychelles]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Seychelles]



[Top of Page]

Location: Eastern Africa, group of islands in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar

Geographic coordinates: 4 35 S, 55 40 E

Map references: Africa

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:
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

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%
permanent crops: 13%
permanent pastures: NA%
forests and woodland: 11%
other: 74% (1993 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 rain water

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, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

Geography—note: 40 granitic and about 50 coralline islands


[Top of Page]

Population: 78,641 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 30% (male 11,787; female 11,694)
15-64 years: 64% (male 24,555; female 25,681)
65 years and over: 6% (male 1,700; female 3,224) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.67% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 19.71 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 6.61 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -6.36 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.52 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 17 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 70.76 years
male: 66.13 years
female: 75.53 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.98 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Seychellois (singular and plural)
adjective: Seychelles

Ethnic groups: Seychellois (mixture of Asians, Africans, Europeans)

Religions: Roman Catholic 90%, Anglican 8%, other 2%

Languages: English (official), French (official), Creole

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 58%
male: 56%
female: 60% (1971 est.)


[Top of Page]

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Seychelles
conventional short form: Seychelles

Data code: SE

Government type: republic

National 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 Island), Grand' Anse (on Praslin Island), 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: National Day, 18 June (1993) (adoption of new constitution)

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 France Albert RENE (since 5 June 1977); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President France Albert RENE (since 5 June 1977); 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 20-22 March 1998 (next to be held by NA 2003)
election results: President France Albert RENE reelected; percent of vote—France Albert RENE (SPPF) 61%, Wavel RAMKALAWAN 27%, Sir James MANCHAM (DP) 12%

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (35 seats, 25 popularly elected by direct vote, 10 allocated on a proportional basis to parties winning at least 9 percent of the vote; members serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 20-22 March 1998 (next to be held by NA 2003)
election results: percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party (elected)—SPPF 24, DP 1; seats by party (awarded)—SPPF 6, DP 1, UO 3
note: the 10 awarded seats are apportioned according to the share of each party in the total vote

Judicial branch: Court of Appeal, judges are appointed by the president; Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president

Political parties and leaders: ruling party—Seychelles People's Progressive Front or SPPF [France Albert RENE]; Democratic Party or DP; United Opposition or UO [Wavel RAMKALAWAN] - a coalition of the following parties: Seychelles Party or PS [Wavel RAMKALAWAN], Seychelles Democratic Movement or MSPD [Jacques HONDOUL], and Seychelles Liberal Party or SLP [Ogilvie BERLOUIS]; New Democratic Party [Christopher GILL (former member of DP)]

Political pressure groups and leaders: trade unions; Roman Catholic Church

International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, C, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, InOC, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, NAM, OAU, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Claude MOREL
chancery: (temporary) care of the Permanent Mission of Seychelles to the United Nations, 820 Second Avenue, Suite 900F, 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


[Top of Page]

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, which accounted for 70% of GDP in 1996-97. 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. The vulnerability of the tourist sector was illustrated by the sharp drop in 1991-92 due largely to the Gulf war. Although the industry has rebounded, the government recognizes the continuing need for upgrading the sector in the face of stiff international competition.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$550 million (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: NA%

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$7,000 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 4%
industry: 15%
services: 81% (1994)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: -0.3% (1995 est.)

Labor force:
total: 26,000 (1996)
by occupation: industry 19%, services 57%, government 14%, fishing, agriculture, and forestry 10% (1989)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $220 million
expenditures: $241 million, including capital expenditures of $36 million (1994 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate: 4% (1992)

Electricity—capacity: 28,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 125 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 1,719 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: coconuts, cinnamon, vanilla, sweet potatoes, cassava (tapioca), bananas; broiler chickens; tuna fishing (expansion under way)

total value: $56.1 million ( f.o.b., 1995)
commodities: fish, cinnamon bark, copra, petroleum products (re-exports)
partners: France, UK, China, Germany, Japan (1993)

total value: $238 million (c.i.f., 1995)
commodities: manufactured goods, food, petroleum products, tobacco, beverages, machinery and transportation equipment
partners: China, Singapore, South Africa, UK (1993)

Debt—external: $170 million (1994 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA

Currency: 1 Seychelles rupee (SRe) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Seychelles rupees (SRe) per US$1—5.1901 (January 1998), 5.0263 (1997), 4.9700 (1996), 4.7620 (1995), 5.0559 (1994), 5.1815 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year


[Top of Page]

Telephones: 13,000 (1995 est.)

Telephone 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 3, FM 0, shortwave 0

Radios: 35,000 (1993 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 2 (in a government network)

Televisions: 6,000 (1993 est.)


[Top of Page]

Railways: 0 km

total: 280 km
paved: 176 km
unpaved: 104 km (1996 est.)

Ports and harbors: Victoria

Merchant marine: none

Airports: 14 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 2 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 4 (1997 est.)


[Top of Page]

Military branches: Army, Coast Guard, Marines, National Guard, Presidential Protection Unit, Police Force

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 22,107 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 11,111 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $13.7 million (1995)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: NA%

Transnational Issues

[Top of Page]

Disputes—international: claims Chagos Archipelago in British Indian Ocean Territory