Seychelles is located in the Indian Ocean to the eastern Africa and consists of 115 islands. It is 1,593 kilometers from Mombasa Port in Kenya to the west, 925 kilometers from Madagascar to the southwest, across the sea from Mauritius to the south and 2,813 kilometers from Mumbai, India to the northeast.
(File Photo: VCG)
Full name: The Republic of Seychelles
National Day: June 29
Area: Its land area is 455 square kilometers, territorial sea area about 400,000 square kilometers, and exclusive economic zone about 1.4 million square kilometers.
Capital: Victoria, with a population of about 30,000.
Population: About 96,000 (in June 2017)
Official Languages: Creole, English and French
Tourism, fisheries and a small number of handicrafts dominate the economy of Seychelles. Tourism is the biggest pillar of Seychelles’ economy, creating more than 70 percent of its GDP. Fisheries is another pillar of the country’s economy. Seychelles is rich in fishery resources and fish products ranks first in its export commodities. Seychelles relies on imports on food, household goods and means of production and these imports are expensive. The country implements high welfare policies such as free education, medical care, and lifelong health care systems.
The main economic figures of Seychelles in 2018 are as follows (data from the London Quarterly Economic Survey):
Gross domestic product: $1.6 billion
Per capita GDP: $16,700
Economic growth rate: 3.7 percent
Currency: Seychelles Rupee
Exchange rate: $1 is equivalent to 13.89 rupees
Seychelles’ exclusive marine economic zone covers an area of about 1.4 million square kilometers. There are abundant fishery resources such as tuna in Seychelles. Its forest area is about 2,000 hectares.
Daily necessities and means of production of Seychelles are imported. Seychelles mainly exports seafood. In 2018, Seychelles’ total trade volume was $1.784 billion, of which exports were $509 million and imports were $1.275 billion.
Seychelles President Danny Faure was sworn in as president on October 16, 2016. After taking office, Faure actively promoted the development of emerging industries such as high-end tourism, information and communication and the marine economy, promoted the construction of major infrastructure projects and released the vitality of the private sector, achieving remarkable results.
The Seychelles government attaches importance to the development of education. In 2018, the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development budgeted 1.65 billion rupees, ranking second among the budgets of all departments, accounting for 13.4 percent of the country’s annual budget. Children accept compulsory education since the age of 6, including 6 years in primary school and 6 years in secondary school. There are 33 kindergartens, 28 primary schools and 14 secondary schools in Seychelles according to the report of the Seychelles’ Ministry of Education in 2016. The University of Seychelles, established in 2009, is the only comprehensive university in the country. The literacy rate of the population over 15 years old reached 91.9 percent in Seychelles.
Relations with China:
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Seychelles on June 30, 1976, the friendly cooperative relations between the two countries have developed smoothly. Successive Seychelles governments have attached importance to developing relations with China and pursuing the one-China policy.
China-Seychelles economic and technological cooperation and economic and trade exchanges have continued to develop since the two countries established diplomatic relations. In 2018, the bilateral trade volume was $61 million, an increase of 21.98 percent year on year.
The two countries have signed a cultural cooperation agreement (1983). A number of Chinese art groups have visited and performed in Seychelles and held film festivals and photo exhibitions there. By the end of 2017, the China had received 160 scholarship students from Seychelles. Since 2014, Seychelles has held six consecutive "China Day" events.
In June 2014, a Confucius Classroom, run jointly by the University of Seychelles and Dalian University, was officially unveiled at the University of Seychelles. In May 2015, the Seychelles Tourism Academy and Beijing Union University signed a memorandum of understanding for the exchange of lecturers and students.
Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Seychelles President Danny Faure on September 1 ahead of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
With profound traditional friendship, China and Seychelles have always treated each other sincerely, friendly and equally, and always been committed to unity, cooperation and joint development, Xi said.
China supports Seychelles in independently taking a development path suitable to its own national conditions, and is willing to keep close exchanges with Seychelles, enhance political mutual trust, and engage in cooperation in the fields of people's livelihood, infrastructure, tourism and maritime economy, Xi said.
China is aware of the multiple challenges Seychelles is faced with as a small island nation and is ready to increase South-South cooperation with the country on tackling climate change, Xi said.
China welcomes Seychelles' active participation in the Belt and Road construction by giving full play to its favorable geographic location, Xi said.
For his part, Faure said, with traditional friendship, relations between his country and China have been increasingly consolidated.
Seychelles sees China as an important partner, and thanks China for the long-term precious help, Faure said.
Seychelles is ready to enhance communication with China on governance, take the joint building of the Belt and Road as an opportunity to conduct more bilateral cooperation, support each other in international affairs, and lift bilateral ties to a new height, Faure said.
The two leaders witnessed the signing of bilateral cooperation documents.