Seychelles

Republic of Seychelles

President: James Michel (2004)

Total area: 176 sq mi (456 sq km)

Population (2012 est.): 90,024 (growth rate: .922%); birth rate: 15.1/1000; infant mortality rate: 11.35/1000; life expectancy: 73.77.

Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Victoria, 25,000

Monetary unit: Seychelles rupee

Current government officials

Languages: Seselwa Creole 92%, English 5%, French (all official) (2002)

Ethnicity/race: mixed French, African, Indian, Chinese, and Arab

Religions: Roman Catholic 82.3%, Anglican 6%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1%, other Christian 3%, Hindu 2%, Muslim 1%, none 1%

Literacy rate: 91.8% (2002 census)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2011 est.): $2.274 billion; per capita $25,000. Real growth rate: 4.9%. Inflation: -2.6%. Unemployment: 2% (2006 est.). Arable land: 2.17%. Agriculture: coconuts, cinnamon, vanilla, sweet potatoes, cassava (tapioca), bananas; poultry; tuna. Labor force: 39,560 (2006); industry 23%, services 74%, agriculture 3% (1989). Industries: fishing, tourism, processing of coconuts and vanilla, coir (coconut fiber) rope, boat building, printing, furniture; beverages. Natural resources: fish, copra, cinnamon trees. Exports: $495.1 million (2011 est.): canned tuna, frozen fish, cinnamon bark, copra, petroleum products (reexports). Imports: $873.5 million (2011 est.): machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals. Major trading partners: UK, France, Italy, Japan (2011).

Member of Commonwealth of Nations

Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 22,000 (2009); mobile cellular: 117,600 (2009). Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 1 (2007).Television broadcast stations: 1. Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 238 (2010). Internet users: 32,000 (2008).

Transportation: Railways: 0 km. Highways: total: 458 km; paved: 440 km; unpaved: 18 km (2003). Ports and harbors: Victoria. Airports: 14 (2010).

International disputes: claims the Chagos Archipelago (UK-administered British Indian Ocean Territory).

Major sources and definitions

Flag of Seychelles

Geography

The Seychelles consist of an archipelago of about 100 islands in the Indian Ocean northeast of Madagascar. The principal islands are Mahé (55 sq mi; 142 sq km), Praslin (15 sq mi; 38 sq km), and La Digue (4 sq mi; 10 sq km). The Aldabra, Farquhar, and Desroches groups are included in the territory of the republic.

Government

Socialist multiparty republic.

History

The Seychelles were uninhabited when the British East India Company arrived on the archipelago in 1609. Thereafter, they became a favorite pirate haven. The French claimed the islands in 1756 and administered them as part of the colony of Mauritius. The British gained control of the islands through the Treaty of Paris (1814) and changed the islands' name from the French Séchelles to the Anglicized Seychelles.

The islands became self-governing in 1975 and independent on June 29, 1976. They have remained a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Their first president, James Mancham, was overthrown in 1977 by the prime minister, France-Albert René. At first René created a Socialist state with a one-party system, but later he reintroduced a multiparty system as well as various reforms.

To increase revenue, in 1996 the government quietly initiated an Economic Citizenship Program that provides foreigners with the opportunity to obtain a Seychelles passport upon payment of $25,000. A new law in late 1995 had granted immunity from criminal prosecution to anyone investing $10 million in the country.

In April 2004, President France-Albert René stepped down after 27 years in power. His vice president, James Michel, who had also served in the government for 27 years, assumed the presidency. In July 2006, Michel won reelection with 53.7% of the vote.

In presidential elections held May 19–21, 2011 incumbent James Michel (People's Party) won his third term with 55% of the vote against Wavel Ramkalawan's (Seychelles National Party) 41%. Voter turnout was 84% over a three-day period, which allowed for voters on outlying islands to participate.

See also Encyclopedia: Seychelles
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Seychelles.
Seychelles Statistics and Database Administration Section: www.seychelles.net/misd/ .


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