Since the opening of the Seychelles International Airport in 1971, the tourism sector has been central to the Seychelles economy. The natural beauty of the 115 islands as well as the unique creole culture have not only attracted a growing number of visitors but have also caused the islands to be a magnet for regional and international companies looking to invest in the sector. The comparative performance of tourism in the Seychelles in the last few years is an excellent indicator of the future in store for the country’s tourism sector, with increased visitor arrivals, government revenue, and a contribution to output, employment, and tourism earnings. The sector can potentially generate significant economic, social, cultural, and environmental benefits in the long term through the projected increase in tourism investments and earnings in the upcoming years.
In March 2023, Tourism Seychelles participated in two of India’s largest travel trade shows, OTM and SATTE. With a commitment to strengthening its position in India, Tourism Seychelles showcased its multi-faceted experiences, services, and products at these shows. Amid positive sentiments and healthy projections, the island nation engaged with existing and potential trade partners and media at OTM held in Mumbai, followed by SATTE in Delhi.
Sustainability is central to the success of the Blue Economy concept and this has multi-sectoral implications. To better coordinate the approach of the Blue Economy concept, the Department of the Blue Economy was established in 2015 and it has been promoting the sustainable use of marine resources as well as coordinating its approach for the usage of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Any business activity within the EEZ will be developed according to the Seychelles Marine Spatial Plan and will have to reflect sustainable use of marine resources. Seychelles has developed a Blue Economy roadmap, which defines how Seychelles will make maximum use of its 1.358 million square kilometres of ocean in the most sustainable manner possible
India’s engagement in the Blue Economy is rising, as the country issues policy proposals, and actively participates in international and regional dialogues on the Blue Economy, maritime and marine cooperation. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) published the Blue Economy Vision 2025, which states that the Blue Economy’s impacts are not limited to the ocean but these are crucial for countries’ food security, poverty, resilience against dangerous consequences of climate change, maritime cooperation, job opportunities and countries’ socio-economic growth. Protocol on Framework of Cooperation in the field of Blue Economy also exists between the two nations.
The Seychelles Financial Services Authority is the autonomous regulatory body responsible for the non-bank financial services in Seychelles. Established under the Financial Services Authority Act, 2013, the Authority is responsible to license, regulate, enforce regulatory and compliance requirements, monitor and supervise the conduct of business in the non-bank financial services sector in Seychelles. These regulated activities are Fiduciary Services, Capital Markets and Collective Investment Schemes, Insurance, Gambling (casinos, slot machines and interactive gambling), International Trade Zone companies, Hire Purchase and Credit Sale providers. The Authority is also responsible for the registration of International Business Companies, Foundations, Limited Partnerships and International Trusts in Seychelles. The maintenance of the Seychelles excellent reputation as a premier international business center is also a strategic imperative for the FSA. The Authority remains committed to meeting strategic objectives while maintaining the soundness and resilience of its financial services sector while adhering to international best practices.
Among the Indian companies present in Seychelles, Bank of Baroda has been maintaining a successful overseas branch in Victoria since 1978. Similarly, the Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) is also in place between the two nations.
The future success of Seychelles in enhancing its competitiveness in the regional and global economy and improving the quality of life of its people is crucially dependent upon its capacity to develop as a leading ICT hub through international best practices in the use of ICT in all aspects and sectors of its economy. The current ICT opportunities available in Seychelles: E-Business Solution Providers, Website providers, Cyber Security, Multi Media development, Data Centers, Submarine Cable Links, Wireless Technology, Television Service Providers, Internet Service Providers, Mobile Service Operators, Application Development.
In the private sector, M/s Bharti Airtel Telecom group has invested over US$ 25 million in setting up the Airtel mobile telephone and internet services in Seychelles since 1998.A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in), the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, and the Department of Information Communications Technology of Seychelles on cooperation in the area of cyber security in 2023.
The Government of Seychelles is encouraging private sector investment within the medical field. Between 2014 and 2017, the government has spent USD 8.5 million sending Seychellois overseas for further treatment. For the shrewd investor, capturing a portion of this market can be very lucrative. Luxury medical tourism is an opportunistic avenue for private sector investment. With perfect year-round weather and stunning natural beauty, Seychelles is primed for such ventures. Studies show that 88% of medical travellers are willing to travel internationally for medical purposes.
India dispatched consignments of Serum Institute of India’s (SII’s) Covid-19 vaccine Covishield to Seychelles as part of the donation program to its neighbours and key partners. A high-level delegation led by Minister Jean-Paul Adam, engaged in an official visit to India at the invitation of the Indian Government in 2019. As part of this visit, Minister Adam toured several health facilities to further strengthen medical cooperation between the two countries. The Government of Seychelles has tied up with MIOT Hospitals and Madras Medical Mission in Chennai for providing healthcare to its citizens.
Agricultural land is scarce and local food production is limited. It consists mainly of artisanal fishing and small-scale cultivation of fruits and vegetables, as well as production of meat and poultry, the latter for eggs. Seychelles is a net importer of food and other commodities. Seychelles aims to increase the national raw food output and raise the visibility of the sector to attract more investments. This momentum is being driven by the recently launched Comprehensive Agricultural Development Plan drawn from the sector’s strategic framework document known as the Seychelles National Agricultural Investment Plan. Due to limited agricultural land on the islands, Seychelles aims not only to improve on traditional farming methods but also to encourage innovative modern farming techniques such as hydroponics and vertical farming to maximize land use. Therefore, investment opportunities Seychelles’ Agricultural sector include indoor farming techniques such as vertical farming, hydroponics and aeroponics. Expectations over the next three years is for the agricultural sector to produce 50% of what the local consumes. To achieve this objective a proper backbone of human capital, research and development is required.
A MoU between ICAR and Seychelles Agricultural Agency for Cooperation in Agricultural Research and Education has been in place for close to a decade between both the countries.
Investors can lease land from the government and/or buy land from the private sector. Investors wishing to lease land from the government have to submit a project concept to the SIB. As such, it is advisable to identify a site before a project proposal is submitted. If a foreigner wishes to purchase immovable property for a commercial project, they will be subject to 5% stamp Duty and 1.5% processing fee of the cost of the land. In the case of purchase of immovable property for a holiday home or residential development for private use only, a Sanction duty (currently 11%) of the market value of the property is payable to the Government of Seychelles over and above the applicable Stamp Duty (currently 5%) of the market value of the property. Any non-Seychellois who wishes to rent offices or commercial premises necessary for its business operations can do so without applying for a sanction from the Government under the Immovable Property (Transfer Action) Act.
A host of projects were inaugurated in 2021 by the Indian Prime Minister. The new Magistrates’ Court Building in the capital city Victoria, India’s first major civil infrastructure project in Seychelles built with grant assistance. The Magistrates’ Court is a state-of-the-art building which will substantially enhance the capacity of the Seychelles judicial system and aid in better delivery of judicial services to the people of Seychelles.
In Seychelles, education is compulsory up to the age of 16 years and free from pre-school through to secondary school up until the age of 18 years. The government ensures access to quality education for the population. Students who complete their secondary education can attend further training in their field of choice in teacher education, business, health and social studies, agriculture, art and design, maritime, construction, and hotels/tourism. A growing economy with greater investment opportunities will require a significant increase in the country’s skills capacity, allowing for locals to invest or be employed in more lucrative/higher-paid specialized services. Similarly, large Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) makes Seychelles ideal for the opening of Ecological and Maritime-based universities and research centres.
India and Seychelles signed six Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) for establishing cooperation in the field of education, information technology, culture, and technology in 2018. A MoU was signed to provide Indian Grant Assistance for Implementation of small development projects through local bodies, educational and vocational institutions.
Renewable Energy (RE) plays an increasingly important role in the Seychelles economy. The overall goal is to not only mitigate the effects of climate change but also strengthen our energy security. It is an area that will drive local industries, local and foreign investments as well as create job opportunities. However, given our small size and limited land, RE projects especially of utility-scale will be implemented through a competitive process. At present, the only renewable energy installation is a 4 MW wind farm off Port Victoria and a limited amount of rooftop PV installations.
The power mix of India including its thrust on renewable energy has many lessons for Seychelles to follow. India has a total 44 GW of hydropower plants that can integrate to FPV and the shining example of this is in Mudasarlova reservoir in Visakhapatnam where 2 MW FPV systems is installed by the local smart city corporation. Another 68 MW of total capacity will be planted in the near future. India has also experienced public-private partnership models in building these FPV infrastructures. Policy understanding behind such partnership models can be an example for Seychelles Mahe island FPV plant. The 1 MW ground-mounted solar power plant at the Romainville Island of Seychelles has been completed as part of the ‘Solar PV Democratization Project’ being implemented in Seychelles by the Government of India under grant assistance and inaugurated in 2021.