Flag of Seychelles

map (opens in new window)


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.


archipelago in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar

Geographic coordinates:

4 35 S, 55 40 E


total: 455 sq km
land: 455 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Land boundaries:

0 km


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


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: 2.17%
permanent crops: 13.04%
other: 84.79% (2005)

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

Geography - note:

41 granitic and about 75 coralline islands


81,541 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 25.9% (male 10,667/female 10,440)
15-64 years: 68% (male 27,060/female 28,366)
65 years and over: 6.1% (male 1,607/female 3,401) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 28.1 years
male: 27 years
female: 29.1 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.43% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

16.03 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

6.29 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

-5.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 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: 0.47 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 15.14 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 19.16 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.99 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 72.08 years
male: 66.69 years
female: 77.63 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.74 children born/woman (2006 est.)


noun: Seychellois (singular and plural)
adjective: Seychellois

Ethnic groups:

mixed French, African, Indian, Chinese, and Arab


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)


Creole 91.8%, English 4.9% (official), other 3.1%, unspecified 0.2% (2002 census)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91.9%
male: 91.4%
female: 92.3% (2003 est.)

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

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 in December 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - SPPF 54.3%, SNP 42.6%, DP 3.1%; seats by party - SPPF 23, SNP 11

Judicial branch:

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

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. Sharp drops 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. Growth turned negative again in 2005. 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 (official exchange rate):

$722 million (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

-3% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$7,800 (2002 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 3.2%
industry: 30.4%
services: 66.4% (2005 est.)

Labor force:

30,900 (1996)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 10%
industry: 19%
services: 71% (1989)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

4.4% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

41.5% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $343.3 million
expenditures: $332.2 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)

Public debt:

129.7% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products:

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


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

Electricity - production:

241.3 million kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

224.4 million kWh (2003)

Oil - consumption:

7,600 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Current account balance:

-$16.66 million (2005 est.)


$312.1 million f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

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

Exports - partners:

UK 27.6%, France 15.8%, Spain 12.7%, Japan 8.6%, Italy 7.5%, Germany 5.6% (2004)


$459.9 million f.o.b. (2005 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:

$29.16 million (2005 est.)

Debt - external:

$276.8 million (2005 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$16.4 million (1995)

Currency (code):

Seychelles rupee (SCR)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

21,200 (2004)

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)

Television broadcast stations:

2 (plus 9 repeaters) (1997)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

525 (2005)

Internet users:

20,000 (2005)


15 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 3 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 4 (2005)


total: 280 km
paved: 176 km
unpaved: 104 km (2002)

Merchant marine:

total: 5 ships (1000 GRT or over) 69,777 GRT/112,464 DWT
by type: cargo 1, chemical tanker 4
foreign-owned: 3 (Cyprus 1, Nigeria 1, South Africa 1) (2005)

Ports and terminals:


Military branches:

Seychelles Defense Force: Army, Coast Guard (includes Navy Wing, Air Wing), National Guard (2005)

Disputes - international:

together with Mauritius, Seychelles claims the Chagos Archipelago (UK-administered British Indian Ocean Territory)