Seychelles National Level Policy and Governance Assessment for Marine And Coastal Resources

Type of content: 
Year Published: 
Topics of the content: 
Geographical Information: 

The Seychelles is an archipelago consisting of 115 granite and coral islands that occupy a land area of 445 sq. km within an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 1.3 million sq. km in the South Western Indian Ocean between 4 and 9 degrees south of the equator.

The country’s population is currently estimated at around 87,300 (2010).1 Approximately 90% of the population and infrastructure is located on the main island of Mahe. The country has a per capita income of around US$ 7,000. Tourism, fisheries and a growing industrial sector dominate the economy of the country.

The Seychelles economy has undergone major structural changes since gaining independence in 1976. As recently as the early 1970’s, agriculture accounted for around 9% of total GDP, with cinnamon and copra the major exports. Today, agriculture accounts for a mere 3% of GDP, and employs less than 6% of the labour force. The opening of the international airport in 1971 transformed the economy by laying the foundations for the development of the tourism industry, which is now the principal industry in Seychelles accounting for more than 12% of GDP and around 17% of the labour force.

The sector is also the main foreign exchange earner, accounting for around SR 750 million in 1999 (US$137 million). The fisheries sector is now the second most important, both in terms of foreign exchange earnings and employment. The artisanal fisheries sector based, which has traditionally provided the major source of protein for the Seychellois population, has in recent years expanded to meet the demand of the tourism industry. There is also an increasingly lucrative export market for high quality fish products. In addition, the development of the industrial fisheries sector is now an important foreign exchange earner, where exports of canned tuna to the European Union generated a record SR 531.9 million (approx. US$ 96 million) in export earnings in 1999.

Paralleled with the relative decline in agriculture has been the boom in the construction industry, as significant areas of land previous given to agriculture have been developed. The boom in the construction industry is partly linked to the need for development of infrastructure (including an ambitious housing programme) and the needs of the tourism industry which has invariably concentrated on the coastal zones and has thus raised a user conflict with other stakeholders. Currently, the construction sector accounts for just over 10% of total GDP. The transformation of the Seychelles economy has been matched in the social sector, and the country has progressed rapidly. This is illustrated by Seychelles ranking as a middle-income country in the UNDP Human Development Index, where was placed in 53 rd position in 2000,

This commitment to social development is reflected in the increasing life expectancy of the Seychellois people, which at 67.6 years for males and 75.7 years for females is comparable to the highest standards in the most developed countries. Other impressive social indicators include the low infant mortality rate (10.3 per ‘000), school enrolment figures of nearly 100%, a pupil/teacher ratio of 1 to 13.8, and the high ratio of medical officers to population (1 to 750).

Intellectual Property: 
Legal disclaimer statement(s)