The World Factbook (1990)/Seychelles

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pages 277–278


See regional map VII


Total area: 455 km²; land area: 455 km²

Comparative area: slightly more than 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 491 km

Maritime claims:

Continental shelf: edge of continental margin or 200 nm
Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: claims Tromelin Island

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

Terrain: Mahé Group is granitic, narrow coastal strip, rocky, hilly; others are coral, flat, elevated reefs

Natural resources: fish, copra, cinnamon trees

Land use: 4% arable land; 18% permanent crops; 0% meadows and pastures; 18% forest and woodland; 60% other

Environment: lies outside the cyclone belt, so severe storms are rare; short droughts possible; no fresh water, catchements collect rain; 40 granitic and about 50 coralline islands

Note: located north-northeast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean


Population: 68,336 (July 1990), growth rate 0.9% (1990)

Birth rate: 24 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 7 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 8 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 15 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 65 years male, 75 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 2.6 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Seychellois (sing. and pl.); adjective—Seychelles

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

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

Language: English and French (official); Creole

Literacy: 60%

Labor force: 27,700; 31% industry and commerce, 21% services, 20% government, 12% agriculture, forestry, and fishing, 16% other (1985); 57% of population of working age (1983)

Organized labor: three major trade unions


Long-form name: Republic of Seychelles

Type: republic; member of the Commonwealth

Capital: Victoria

Administrative divisions: none; note—there may be 21 administrative districts named Anse Boileau, Anse Etoile, Anse Louis, Anse Royale, Baie Lazare, Baie St. Anne, Beau Vallon, Bel Air, Bel Ombre, Cascade, Glacis, Grand Anse (on Mahé Island), Grand Anse (on Praslin Island), La Digue, Mont Fleuri, Plaisance, Pointe Larue, Port-Glaud, Riviere Anglaise, St. Louis, Takamaka

Independence: 29 June 1976 (from UK)

Constitution: 5 June 1979

Legal system: based on English common law, French civil law, and customary law

National holiday: Liberation Day (anniversary of coup), 5 June (1977)

Executive branch: president, Council of Ministers

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale)

Judicial branch: Court of Appeal, Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State and Head of Government—President France Albert RENÉ (since 5 June 1977)

Political parties and leaders: only party—Seychelles People's Progressive Front (SPPF), France Albert René

Suffrage: universal at age 17

Elections: President—last held 9-11 June 1989 (next to be held June 1994); results—President France Albert René reelected without opposition;

National Assembly—last held 5 December 1987 (next to be held December 1992); results—SPPF is the only party; seats—(25 total, 23 elected) SPPF 23

Communists: negligible, although some Cabinet ministers espouse pro-Soviet line

Other political or pressure groups: trade unions, Roman Catholic Church


Diplomatic representation: Second Secretary, Chargé d'Affaires ad interim Marc R. MARENGO; Chancery (temporary) at 820 Second Avenue, Suite 201, New York, NY 10017; telephone (212) 687-9766; US—Ambassador James MORAN; Embassy at 4th Floor, Victoria House, Victoria (mailing address is Box 148, Victoria, or APO New York 09030); telephone 23921 or 23922

Flag: three horizontal bands of red (top), white (wavy), and green; the white band is the thinnest, the red band is the thickest


Overview: In this small, open tropical island economy, the tourist industry employs about 30% of the labor force and provides the main source of hard currency earnings. 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 high dependence on tourism by promoting the development of farming, fishing, and small-scale manufacturing.

GDP: $255 million, per capita $3,720; real growth rate 6.2%; (1988 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.3% (1988)

Unemployment rate: 15% (1986)

Budget: revenues $106 million; expenditures $130 million, including capital expenditures of $21 million (1987)

Exports: $17 million (f.o.b., 1988 est.); commodities—fish, copra, cinnamon bark, petroleum products (reexports); partners—France 63%, Pakistan 12%, Reunion 10%, UK 7% (1987)

Imports: $116 million (f.o.b., 1988 est.); commodities—manufactured goods, food, tobacco, beverages, machinery and transportation equipment, petroleum products; partners—UK 20%, France 14%, South Africa 13%, PDRY 13%, Singapore 8%, Japan 6% (1987)

External debt: $178 million (December 1988)

Industrial production: growth rate 7% (1987)

Electricity: 25,000 kW capacity; 67 million kWh produced, 960 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: tourism, processing of coconut and vanilla, fishing, coir rope factory, boat building, printing, furniture, beverage

Agriculture: accounts for 7% of GDP, mostly subsistence farming; cash crops—coconuts, cinnamon, vanilla; other products—sweet potatoes, cassava, bananas; broiler chickens; large share of food needs imported; expansion of tuna fishing under way

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY78-88), $23 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1978-87), $297 million; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $5 million; Communist countries (1970-88), $56 million

Currency: Seychelles rupee (plural—rupees); 1 Seychelles rupee (SRe) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Seychelles rupees (SR) per US$1—5.4884 (January 1990), 5.6457 (1989), 5.3836 (1988), 5.6000 (1987), 6.1768 (1986), 7.1343 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Highways: 260 km total; 160 km bituminous, 100 km crushed stone or earth

Ports: Victoria

Merchant marine: 1 refrigerated cargo (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,827 GRT/2,170 DWT

Civil air: 3 major transport aircraft

Airports: 14 total, 14 usable; 8 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 1 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 1 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: direct radio communications with adjacent islands and African coastal countries; 13,000 telephones; stations—2 AM, no FM, 1 TV; 1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT earth station; USAF tracking station

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Militia

Military manpower: males 15-49, 17,073; 8,776 fit for military service

Defense expenditures: 6% of GDP, or $12 million (1990 est.)