Country FilesEast & HornCountry Profile 2014: SEYCHELLES

Sun,21Oct2018

Posted on Thursday, 06 February 2014 16:17

Country Profile 2014: SEYCHELLES

Flag SeychellesPlenty of sunshine in the forecast

Coming out of the global financial crisis in much better shape than it went in makes the Seychelles an interesting case study, not least for the millionaires and billionaires who have been buying up the available land to build new homes on these legendary paradise islands. For the few days a year they choose to spend here they can feel very safely isolated.

 

 TABLE OF CONTENTS:

> TOP SEYCHELLES COMPANIES

TOP SEYCHELLES BANKS

 

theafricareport-seychelles-72dpiPlenty of sunshine in the forecast

The economic adjustment period turned out to be less painful than anticipated

The arrival of undersea marine cables brings new opportunities in finance

Coming out of the global financial crisis in much better shape than it went in makes the Seychelles an interesting case study, not least for the millionaires and billionaires who have been buying up the available land to build new homes on these legendary paradise islands. For the few days a year they choose to spend here they can feel very safely isolated.

The adjustment period of 2010, when the remaining import, price and currency controls were finally abandoned, turned out to be less painful than anticipated thanks to an inflow of new investment and sustained growth in the tourism sector. International debts were restructured, not least those relating to the national airline, Air Seychelles, in which Abu Dhabi-based Etihad now holds a 40% stake. The government will seek tighter monitoring overstate-owned enterprises in future to determine what kind of financial risk they pose to the economy, recently creating a Public Enterprise Monitoring Commission.

Since the victory of James Michel and the ruling People’s Party (PP) in 2011, the main opposition Seychelles National Party (SNP) has renewed calls for electoral reform that would allow for political parties to campaign and compete on a more level playing field. The PP occupies all 25 national assembly seats.

DIVERSIFYING THE ECONOMY

Seychelles has continued solid growth, projectedat3.3% in 2013 and forecast at 3.9% for 2014. There is, however, some concern over the country’s level of reserves, standing at only 2.6 months of imports in the fourth quarter of 2013, which falls short of the 3-4 month recommended level. The economy also stands in urgent need of diversification away from its dependence on tourism and fisheries. While the current level of government indebtedness is coming down, there is some cause for concern over the composition of the debt. Currently most debts are external, but there are calls to make a shift to more internal debt, which will help the Seychelles’ small financial sector to develop. This will be on the discussion table in 2014, as will the need for the government to issue more long-term bonds. The capital market took a step forward when the Seychelles stock exchange opened in August 2013, with SACOS Group as the first company to trade.

Visitor numbers could soon total 400,000 a year thanks to a concerted push to diversify the base from the traditional European markets. The tourism board is reaching out to China, India, the US and within Africa (namely Nigeria, Angola and Uganda). The number of visitors from South Africa has more than doubled to 12,000 visitors since 2008, thanks to a partnership with South African Airways, which gives travellers an easy access route. Air Seychelles recorded a 139% revenue increase in 2012.

MODERN PAYMENT SYSTEMS

The arrival of undersea marine cables has brought a wealth of opportunities in the information and communications technology and financial sectors. In September 2013 it was announced that Nigeria’s Airtel will expand operations into Seychelles, bringing mobile payment systems to the islands. The governor of the central bank, Caroline Abel, has noted that such initiatives will help to modernise the country’s payment systems, as well as contribute towards further development of Seychelles’ financial market. The Seychelles is already ranked by the UN as the first in Africa in the provision of e-government services.

Both China and India have been wooing the Seychelles in recent months. Attempts by both countries to foster influence there have come in the guise of cultural initiatives, such as an agreement that books on Seychelles tourism be sold in China, and vice versa. In September2013 there was a celebration of ‘Seychelles India Day’,which saw Bollywood stars lauding the on going cultural exchanges between the two nations.

Seychelles tops the UN ranking for human development in Africa. This has been earned as a result of social welfare support, including universal healthcare for its citizens. While there is good access to education for Seychellois, UNESCO has recently raised concerns over the quality of education in the country and there have been suggestions that there is generally inadequate encouragement of entrepreneurship skills.

 

TOP SEYCHELLES COMPANIES

 

No companies from The Seychelles featured in The Africa's Report's Top 500 Companies in Africa 2013.

TOP SEYCHELLES BANKS

 

No banks from The Seychelles featured in The Africa's Report's Top 200 Banks in Africa 2012.

 



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