General Information
Capital(s): Victoria
Population: 71,000 (1995)
Area: 455 Km²
Currency: 1 Seychelles rupee = 100 cents
Language(s): English, French-Kreol

Time Zone: GMT+4h00
ISO Code: SC
Dialing Code: +248
Continent: Africa

The Republic of the Seychelles is a group of 115 islands, 41 granitic and 74 coralline, many of them uninhabited. The islands lie in the Indian Ocean north of Madagascar and form part of the Indian Ocean Island group associated with Africa. The capital city and major port is Victoria on the island of Mahe.

The official languages are English and French. However, the lingua franca of the islands’ population is Creole. The local currency is the Seychelles rupee (SR). (US$ / SR – current exchange rate).

The Seychelles oil industry is an important element in the economy of the country as all petroleum products have to be imported. On the upstream side, exploration of offshore tracts is currently underway. Electricity is provided by the parastatal Public Utilities Corporation.

Tourism is the country’s main industry, accounting for most of the Seychelles’ foreign exchange. Fishing, mainly tuna, is also an important industry, increasingly so since the tuna canning factory became privately owned in 1995. Agriculture, however, has not been significantly developed.

Since independence, the Seychelles’ economy has experienced growth. More recently the country has been trying to improve its economy by reducing debt and privatising industries.

The international time zone for the Seychelles is GMT +4 and the international dialling code is +248. There are many major airlines which fly to the international airport at Mahe. Visas are not required for visitors staying less than one month.

Hepatitis A, dengue fever and typhoid fever may be contracted while travelling in the Seychelles. The risk of contraction is based on a number of factors including location, individual’s state of health, current immunisation status, and the local disease situation.

International Trade
The main import commodities include chemical products, fuel, machinery, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, tobaccos and transport equipment. The main export commodities include cinnamon, fruit, herbs and spices, petroleum products, seafood and tuna.

In the Seychelles there is no restriction placed on payment of imports or invisibles, however, import permits are required to import certain products. There is a limited form of exchange control in that under the Exchange Control (Exemption) (Amendment) Order, 1995, it is illegal to deal in foreign currency other than with an authorised dealer.

A free trade zone is in the process of being set up and the Seychelles International Trade Zone (SITZ) will be a transshipment, redistribution and export processing and manufacturing offshore facility. The SITZ is yet to become operational.

Shaun Bakamoso

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