The Republic of Seychelles is an independent country that sits atop the Seychelles microcontinent in the Indian Ocean as an archipelago comprising 115 scenic islands in the world. Seychelles covers an economic zone of some 1.4 million km2. 41 of those islands, including the largest island of Mahe are the oldest mid-oceanic granitic islands in the world and the rest are coral islands. The Seychelles plateau and inner islands were once part of the Gandwanaland supercontinent.
Seychelles is a member of the United Nations, African Union, Commonwealth of Nations and La Francophonie. Seychelles also belongs to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
The Seychelles islands were first discovered by Arab traders many centuries ago and later visited by Portuguese merchants as early as the 16th century before the first settlements in Seychelles around 1770 when the islands were first settled by the French. The first permanent settlers were from France, Africa and India. From the beginning Seychelles has been a melting pot of different ethnicities, religions and traditions that lives on today in the “Creole Spirit”.
Seychelles remained a French territory until it was later ceded to Britain after the treaty of Paris in 1814. In 1903 Seychelles gained the status of a British Crown. Seychelles remained part of the British empire until 1976 when it gained its independence. Seychelles remains a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The climate is warm year around usually staying between 24 and 32 degrees Celsius. All but the southernmost islands are outside of the cyclone belt meaning the country is spared the destruction of hurricanes/cyclones and tornadoes that frequently pummel the Caribbean jurisdictions for instance.
Seychelles is a multi-party democratic republic with a President that is independently elected heading the executive branch and a National Assembly made up of 33 democratically elected representatives.
The main economic contributors in Seychelles are tourism, fisheries and financial services (i.e. banking, corporate services, trust services, securities, etc.) respectively. The 2016 GDP (nominal) was approximately USD 1.47 billion or just over USD 15k per capita which ranks 50th in the world and 1st in Africa out of 54 countries outpacing even oil rich Equatorial Guinea.
GDP growth in 2016 was 4.5% and 4.1% (est.) in 2017.
Seychelles is top in the African Union for internet speed. The main island of Mahe is fed by undersea fiber optic connectivity to more than one major undersea cable network off the coast of eastern Africa. The main telecommunications companies in Seychelles are Cable and Wireless and Airtel. Seychelles boasts an advanced 4G wireless infrastructure. Most businesses are connected end to end by fiber optic cable and by 2020 the entire main island of Mahe and every home and business will be connected end to end by fiber optic cable.
Seychelles is only two connecting flights to nearly every major city in the world. The country has its own airline, Air Seychelles, which is jointly owned by the Government of Seychelles and Etihad Airlines which is the operator. Other major airlines with the most flights to Seychelles are Emirates and Qatar Airways which both have daily flights. Other airlines serving Seychelles are Air France, British Airways, Qantas, Turkish Airlines, Jet Airways, South African Airways, Austrian Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines and Kenya Airways.
Seychelles is in good standing with international regulatory bodies including the OECD’s “Global Tax Forum”, the Financial Action Task Force and is not on any OECD, FATF or EU published “black lists”. Seychelles has committed to the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiative and has been working closely with representatives of the OECD and EU to ensure that proposed statutory changes planned for 2018 will be compliant.
In November 2017, Oxfam International published its latest list of jurisdictions the organization felt should be on the EU black list and Seychelles was not included.