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The island republic of the Seychelles is located east
of the African continent and north of Madagascar in the
Indian Ocean. In total, the republic consists of around
115 islands and atolls, of which around 35 are
inhabited. The actual Seychelles include the islands of
Mah®¶ (145 km²), Praslin (38 km²), Silhouette (20 km²)
and La Digue (10 km²). The Republic also includes the
Amirante archipelago, Farquhar, Cosmoledo and Aldabra
and the islands of Coetivy, Alphonse, Platte and
Providence. The islands are spread over a sea area of
around 390,000 km², while the land area covers only
454 km² (roughly the size of Andorra).
The Inner Seychelles include the islands that sit on
the submerged Seychelles plateau. This plateau covers
approximately 20,000 km² and lies at a depth of 30 to 70
m below sea level. A mountainous landscape with
partially rugged granite formations and long but narrow
sandy beaches are characteristic of the Inner
Seychelles. The highest peak in the country, the Morne
Seychellois with 905 m is located on the main island
Mah®¶. The Outer Seychelles include the coral islands and
atolls that rise just a few meters from the sea.
The capital of the Republic of the Seychelles,
Victoria, is located on the island of Mah®¶.
The Seychelles has a tropical sea climate with
consistently high temperatures all year round. The
average annual temperature is around 27 °„ C, during the
day usually no more than 32 °„ C, at night the
temperatures rarely drop below 20 °„ C. On the
mountainous islands of the Inner Seychelles, the annual
precipitation amounts lie between 1,500 and 3,000 mm, a
large part of the precipitation falls from December to
April (northwest monsoon). Up to 4,000 mm can also fall
on the windward slopes of the mountains. There is less
rainfall on the flat coral islands.
Flora and fauna
The originally existing tropical rainforest was
cleared for the remaining plantations of plantations.
Typical plants for the Seychelles today are coconut
tree, cinnamon tree and a variety of flowers. A
specialty is the Seychelles nut palm (sea coconut), the
fruit of which is one of the heaviest edible plant
fruits with up to 25 kg. Large sections of the coast are
lined with mangroves.
Larger mammals are not found in the Seychelles. The
bird and underwater world is extremely diverse. Rare
species, such as the Black Seychelles Vasa Parrot, can
be found especially in birds. The Seychelles weaver
bird, the flycatcher, the Russus and fairy tern, and the
frigate bird also occur. The flightless white-throated
claws live on the uninhabited Aldabra Islands, which
have been protected since the early 1970s. The
inaccessible islands serve as a place to lay eggs for
numerous sea turtles, and the giant turtles weighing up
to 250 kg, which otherwise only live on the Galapagos
Islands, also occur here.
A large number of marine animals live in the coral
banks of the islands, including clownfish, rays,
lionfish, boxfish, parrotfish and anemones.
Around 91,000 people live in the Seychelles, 90% of
them on the main island of Mah®¶. The islands of the
Outer Seychelles are not populated. The only major urban
settlement is the capital Victoria on Mah®¶ with about
According to COUNTRYAAH, 90% of the population are creoles, hybrids
with mostly African, European and also Asian ancestors.
Small groups of Europeans, Indians, Malagasy, Chinese
and Malays live on the islands. The vast majority of the
population belongs to the Catholic Church, only about 6%
are Anglicans. Followers of Hinduism and Islam form
religious minorities totaling 3%. Traditional religions
are sometimes practiced parallel to Christianity. The
official languages are Creole (since 1981), French and
The average life expectancy on the islands is 72
years. The Republic of Seychelles among the wealthier
countries in Africa, with income distribution very
uneven. Medical care for the population is free of
charge, and there is state social security. Population
growth is estimated at 0.4% (due to the high rate of
emigration). School attendance is compulsory for
children from the age of six; the current illiteracy
rate is given as 15%.
According to the 1993 constitution, the Seychelles is
a presidential republic (in the Commonwealth). The head
of state, commander-in-chief of the armed forces and
head of the government is the president (since April
2004 James Alix Michel). He is elected by the people for
a term of five years - a total of three terms are
possible - and appoints the ministers as members of the
The legislature lies with the Parliament (National
Assembly), which consists of a chamber with 31 members
who are elected every five years.
The legal system is based on English and French law.
The Seychelles are divided into 25 districts.
With an average gross domestic product (GDP) of
around $ 8,900 per capita, the Republic of Seychelles is
one of the wealthiest countries in Africa. The main
economic problem of the country is a high budget deficit
due to the dependence on imports and the strong
influence of the state on the economy: the leading
companies are nationalized in all economic sectors.
However, President Michel has been following a cautious
reform course since taking office in 2004, and some
state monopolies have already been lifted.
Agriculture and forestry are poorly developed due to
the lack of usable space. For self-sufficiency, bananas,
cassava and vegetables are grown, for example. Basic
food must be imported. The export of spices (nutmeg,
vanilla, cinnamon) has declined in importance due to the
fall in world market prices, and the export of copra has
The most important economic sector and main source of
foreign exchange income is tourism. Around 30% of all
workers are employed in this area. The number of guests
who visit the high-priced tropical vacation destination
annually is over 200,000. Three quarters of the tourists
come from Europe. The Seychelles have already been
awarded for their environmental policy (more than half
of the country is under nature conservation).
The second important economic area is the catching
and exporting of tuna. The "Indian Ocean Tuna Co." is
one of the largest fish processing factories in the
world. Piracy and declining fish stocks, however, led to
The industry is moderately developed (14% of GDP) and
focuses on food processing. Drinks, cigarettes, soap,
furniture and handicrafts are also produced.
The main trading partners of the Seychelles include
Saudi Arabia, Spain and France in imports and Great
Britain as well as Spain and France in exports. The main
import goods are machinery, vehicles, fuels, food and
There is an international airport near the capital
Victoria on the island of Mah®¶. The most important
connection between the islands are ships and smaller
planes. The road network covers around 400 km.