Social Policies in Seychelles

image of Social Policies in Seychelles


The country case studies and thematic papers in this series examine social policy issues facing small states and the implications for economic development. They show how, despite their inherent vulnerability, some small states have been successful in improving their social indicators because of the complementary social and economic policies they have implemented.


Seychelles has one of the most extensive social policy programmes in the developing world, and has been identified as a model for the rest of Africa. As a small state, however, it remains economically vulnerable and in 2008 had to accept a financial rescue package from the IMF. This book provides comprehensive analysis of social policy development in the country from the colonial era onwards, focusing on the political and economic developments that have led to the current situation. The challenge now is to maintain current levels of social policy interventions in the face of severe indebtedness and the stagnation of economic growth.



Political Economy and Development Policy

With a population of around 81,0003 and a total landmass of approximately 455 sq km, Seychelles is by any measure a small state. As might be expected, this archipelago of around 115 islands is but a blip on the screen of international trade in goods and services. The top-end tourism sector and the export of canned tuna has dominated Seychelles’ export-orientated interactions with the world economy in recent years. The economy is physically isolated, with the closest land mass, east Africa, located more than 1,500 km from the main islands. Seychelles has always been economically vulnerable. Despite being free from the cyclones and malaria that plague the western Indian Ocean, and as well as possessing a unique ecosystem, it still faces many of the same intrinsic problems encountered by most small developing economies. For example, the economy suffers from a high degree of specialisation and is therefore vulnerable to fluctuations in the world economy (e.g. tourist flows); the government has a limited capacity to borrow on international capital markets (not least due to structural indebtedness); diseconomies of scale determine the limits of manufacturing potential; and long distances from its principal markets increase the costs of imports and exports.


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