One of the most resource-rich continents in the world, Africa has remained largely underdeveloped when it comes to economy and structure. Many African nations still rely on subsistence farming and continue to experience rapid population growth, both of which cause a negative impact on a country’s GDP. Although that may be the case, there has been a steady economic growth in many nations that have adopted modern economic practices and embraced more profitable industries such as tourism. One such country that has seen sustained growth in economy in the last few years is Seychelles, and it’s considered to be the richest African nation today.
All about Seychelles
On the east coast of Africa lies a cluster of 115 islands that make up Seychelles. Officially the Republic of Seychelles, the islands have become one of the most popular vacation island destinations in the world. Many visitors to the islands have repeatedly described the country as paradise, and it’s not hard to imagine with its sprawling white sands and deep mesmerizing oceans. The beaches here are wonderfully endless, and they’re framed by the lushest hills and untamed palm trees.
Since gaining its independence from the UK in 1976, Seychelles blossomed under a market-based diversified economy. Before this time, the country relied mostly on agriculture—much like other African nations. From 1976 until 2015, Seychelles’ economy grew exponentially with the GDP increasing by a sevenfold. Out of 54 countries in the continent, there are only 2 countries that has a high-income economy classification from the World Bank; Seychelles is one of those countries. It’s also the only country in the continent that has a very high HDI score (Human Development Index) of 0.800.
Sychelles is Africa’s richest country with a per capita GDP of $1.70 billion USD and a 2022 growth forecast of $1.80 billion USD. Despite the economic gains over the years, Seychelles continues to struggle with economic inequality and poverty. Poverty is a global issue that affects even the most developed nations. Although the poverty rate in Seychelles is extremely low at 1%, the islands take the cause to heart. Citizens under the poverty line suffer from the economic impacts of tourism to the fishing industry. In addition, the poverty in Seychelles also has direct correlation to the level of education in a household. Zero poverty exists in households that carry college degrees.
The country is progressively addressing issues by developing better industries for its citizens. Tourism has been Seychelles’ largest vehicle to economic growth. Blessed with an immaculate topography, Seychelles is a country to see, taste, experience, and remember. Out of 115 islands, the 3 most visited in Seychelles are Mahe, Praslin, and La Digue. The capital city of Victoria can be found on the island of Mahe. Some of the islands here are densely populated, but they still offer spectacular beach views. Many areas in inhabited islands are roped off to protect natural habitats and preserve as much of the islands as possible.
The biodiversity in Seychelles has attracted all sorts of visitors from all over the world—hikers, snorklers, scuba divers, adventurers, and so forth. If water sports are your game, Seychelles offers the perfect location for it. Vacationing in Seychelles mean relaxation by the beach, tranquil sunsets, beautiful garden walks, and so much more. The cuisine in Seychelles is as much of a tourist draw as the nature around the area. The culture in Seychelles is an interesting diversity of African, European, and Asian influences that have melded together to create the uniqueness of the country. The result is Seychelles own blend of tradition and cuisine. There are tons of restaurants that offer local cuisines, but Seychelles also has plenty of international fares.
The tourism sector of Seychelles continues to expand operations to invite more people in and to provide even more economic growth. Seychelles has responsibly done this without putting too much pressure on the natural environment. After all, natural resources are finite, and even a resourceful country like Seychelles can come dangerously close to irreparable damage. Fortunately, this African country values its surrounding nature and has taken significant precautions in order to protect it and prolong its life. Seychelles knows exactly what its country needs and proceeds to balance it out with progress.
Apart from tourism, Seychelles’ economy also relies on a few other industries. Fishing is another source of income for the nation. Being an island nation and surrounded by water on every horizon, Seychelles makes smart use of natural resources. Fishing is also tied in with tourism. As more and more tourists come into the country, the fishing industry has also grown to fulfill the demands of tourism. Manufacturing has slowly grown in the country as a viable industry as well. Although most of manufacturing in Seychelles is still small-scale, all of it still plays an important role in the economy. Manufacturing is largely consists of food processing, but Seychelles also produces beer, cigarettes, furniture, and various chemicals. Exports of these goods account for about 45% of Seychelles’ GDP. It’s the reason why Seychelles ensures that offshore financial services and businesses maintain the highest standards for the country’s economy.
Another industry that Seychelles is less known for is the oil drilling industry. Seychelles is abounding with natural oil resources, and the country has a contract with an international oil drilling company that deals with countries like India, Indonesia, and Panama. Hydrocarbon exploration has been going on in Seychelles in the industry, but any drilling plan has to be approved by the one of the environmental authorities in the country through an Environmental Impact Assessment. Since the 70s, Seychelles has managed to prevent negative environmental impacts by taking precaution and paying heed to science and nature. Seychelles is an economical force that’s leading the African continent towards the path of development and progress. Under its tutelage, many other African nations can learn, replicate, and find economical success.