Economy of Seychelles
The economy of Seychelles is based on fishing, tourism, the processing of coconuts and vanilla, coir (coconut fiber) rope, boat building, printing, furniture and beverages. Agricultural products include cinnamon, sweet potatoes, cassava (tapioca), bananas, poultry and tuna.
The public sector, comprising the government and state-owned enterprises, dominates the economy in terms of employment and gross revenue, employing two-thirds of the labor force. Government consumption absorbs over one-third of the GDP.
Despite attempts to improve its agricultural base and emphasize locally manufactured products and indigenous materials, Seychelles imports 90% of the food it consumes. The exceptions are some fruits and vegetables, fish, poultry, pork, beer, cigarettes, paint, and a few locally made plastic items. Imports of all kind are controlled by the Seychelles Marketing Board (SMB), a government parastatal which operates all the major supermarkets and is the distributor and licensor of most other imports.
In an effort to increase agricultural self-sufficiency, Seychelles has undertaken steps to make the sector more productive and to provide incentives to farmers. Much of the state holdings in the agricultural sector have been privatized, while the role of the government has been reduced to conducting research and providing infrastructure. SectorsTourism and fishing
Tourism is one of the most important sectors of the economy, accounting for approximately 16.6% (2000) of GDP. Employment, foreign earnings, construction, banking, and commerce are all dominated by tourism-related industries. Tourism earned $631 million in 1999-2000. About 130,046 tourists visited Seychelles in 2000, 80.1% of them from Europe (United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany, and Switzerland). Manufacturing
Many of the other industrial activities are limited to small scale manufacturing, particularly agro-processing and import substitution. Agriculture (including artisanal and forestry), once the backbone of the economy, now accounts for around 3% of the GDP. Financial Services
In addition to the now booming tourism and building/real estate markets, Seychelles has renewed its commitment to developing its financial services sector. Government officials and industry participants believe this could overtake the tourism industry as the chief pillar of the economy by 2017. Offshore oil and gas
Several oil and gas exploration companies are active in the Seychelles offshore. These include East African Exploration (EAX) (a subsidiary of Afren), Avana Petroleum (a subsidiary of Vanoil Energy) and WHL Energy.
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