The Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa. It’s home to numerous beaches, coral reefs and nature reserves, as well as rare animals such as giant Aldabra tortoises. Mahé, a hub for visiting the other islands, is home to capital Victoria. It also has the mountain rainforests of Morne Seychellois National Park and beaches, including Beau Vallon and Anse Takamaka.
The Seychelles has a population of around 80,000, descended primarily from French settlers, Africans, British sailors and traders from India, China and the Middle East.
Discovery of the Islands is credited to the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama. The first French settlement was established on St. Anne Island on the 27th August 1770. In 1814 the Seychelles, along with Mauritius, were ceded to Great Britain under the terms of the Treaty of Paris. It was only in 1960 that the first gradual constitutional reforms were introduced. The Head of State is the President and a National Assembly of directly elected Members heads the legislative side of Government. Seychelles is an independent republic within the British Commonwealth.
Infrastructure and Economy
The Seychelles economy is primarily tourism and fishing based. Industrial fishing is on the increase. The rapidly expanding financial sector, linked to the establishment of the Seychelles International Business Authority and a suite of progressive laws facilitating the establishment of offshore structures and encouraging inward investment, is now a significant element of the economy.
The Port of Victoria is well equipped with modern cargo handling equipment and has more than 6,000 square metres of covered storage space. The Seychelles International Airport is one of the finest in the Indian Ocean region. In addition to the national flag carrier, Air Seychelles, the airport is served by a number of other airlines.
The official languages are English, French and Creole. Creole is spoken widely. English is the main language of business.
Exchange controls do not apply to ‘offshore’ business.