Seychelles is an archipelago far from the mainland, with the restrictions on economic development this entails, especially in terms of being self-sufficient, both with food and industrial products. Nevertheless, the country has one of the world’s highest average incomes, and a high standard of living with social services and low poverty. The economy is to a large extent based on the revenues from tourism, secondly from fishing and sales of tuna.
The country pursues a strictly regulated tourism policy so as not to attract too many visitors relative to the population, but estimates that they can accommodate up to 200,000 tourists a year – most in the upper part of the market. Tourism accounts for almost 10% of GNI, and around one-third of foreign exchange revenue. The relative dependence on tourism makes the Seychelles vulnerable to fluctuations in tourist traffic. after the Gulf War 1990-91 and as a result of the terrorist attacks in 2001. Much of the proceeds go out of the country for imports of necessary inputs, not least food and drink. The Seychelles have ambitions to become an important center for financial services; and a large number of foreign companies have registered in the country. A precarious currency shortfall was the basis for a contentious decision to invite foreign nationals to place money on the Seychelles,
No viable deposits of oil or gas have been found around the Seychelles, but the sea is rich in fish. In particular, the significant occurrences of tuna are a significant contribution to the country’s economy; partly from the sale of licenses to foreign trawlers, and partly from the canning industry. Agriculture has traditionally been the most important industry, but after the opening of an international airport in 1971 tourism has taken over. More than 70% of the working population is employed in service industries.
The Seychelles have no known mineral deposits, except guano, which are exported. Exploration has been carried out for oil, i.e. with Norwegian assistance, without any proven occurrences. It is also considered to extract coral stones for export for use in cement production. Production of electricity is from petroleum.
Agriculture and fishing
The cultivable area of Seychelles is limited to approx. 6,000 hectares, with partly poor soil and lack of water. The country is dependent on food imports, and it will be difficult to self-supply anything else with fish, as well as some fruits and vegetables. Agriculture’s share of gross domestic product (GDP) has in recent years been in sharp decline, as tourism has become the dominant industry. Coconuts, cinnamon, tea, vanilla, cassava, patches, bananas and sweet potatoes are grown, of which the first four are exported.
An economic zone of 200 nautical miles was introduced in 1978, and fishing has increased in importance since the 1980s. Some canned tuna and shrimp are exported, while lobster is fished for local consumption. The country is self-sufficient with fish, even with one of the world’s highest per capita consumption. Foreign fishing fleets fishing under license within the country’s economic zone are also important sources of income.
The Seychelles have little industry, most of which is the processing of raw materials, including coconut oil and canned tuna and fruit, as well as food business. Otherwise, some small businesses produce steel products, furniture, soap and plastic products
The Seychelles have a negative balance of trade with foreign countries, but revenues from the tourism industry as their main currency source. According to Countryaah, the main export products are petroleum products (re-export), fish and fish products (canned tuna), cinnamon, flowers and tea. Machinery and transport equipment, food and animals, petroleum products, chemicals, various finished products and raw materials are imported.
Transport and Communications
The road network is well developed at Mahé, which also has an international airport. Total road network is approx. 450 km road. Boat connection between Mauritius and the outer islands. Other ferry connection between several of the islands in the north.