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Seychelles is an archipelagic nation of 115 islands located off the eastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. The majority of the country’s 99,258 inhabitants live on the three most-populated islands of Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue. Seychelles gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1976, at which time the population lived at near subsistence level. With a GDP of $1.45 billion in 2021, Seychelles has the highest GDP per capita in Africa at $14,653. Although the World Bank has designated Seychelles as a high-income country since 2015, the country’s wealth is not evenly distributed. According to the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Report for 2021/2022, the richest one percent, and the richest 10 percent of Seychellois hold 20.6 percent and 23.9 percent of the total income respectively, while the poorest 40 percent of the population hold 19.6 percent of the total income. Seychelles’ main economic activities are tourism and fishing, and the country aspires to be a financial hub.

Seychelles experienced a coup d’état in 1977, just a year after independence, which brought to power a one-party socialist government. Multiparty democracy was restored in 1993 after the adoption of a new constitution, but the United Seychelles Party (USP) continued to hold power until October 2020, when the opposition coalition Seychellois Democratic Union (Linyon Demokratik Seselwa, or LDS) won both the presidential and legislative elections. This opposition victory ushered in the first democratic transition of power in the country’s history. LDS holds 25 of the 35 assembly seats and includes four main parties: the Seychelles National Party (SNP); the Lalyans Seselwa (Seychellois Alliance); the Seychelles Party for Social Justice and Democracy (SPSD); and the Seychelles United Party (SUP). The former ruling United Seychelles party (US) currently holds 10 seats in the National Assembly. The next presidential and legislative elections will be held in 2025.

Heavy reliance on the tourism industry makes the overall economy vulnerable to external shocks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. In January 2021, the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) announced that January to November 2020 tourism revenues decreased by 78 percent. Tourism-related contributions to GDP fell from 22.3 percent in 2019 to 15.5 percent in 2020, per the National Bureau of Statistics. The CBS estimated that the economy contracted 11.3 percent in 2020 compared to 3 percent growth in 2019.

Following the reopening of borders in March 2021, tourism in Seychelles gradually picked up, with the country registering a total of 182,849 tourist arrivals for the January to December 2021 period, compared to 114,858 visitors for the same period in 2020 and 384,224 visitors in 2019. The number of visitors maintained a positive trajectory through 2022, with 332,068 tourists visiting. Large inflows of tourists came from Israel, UAE, and Russia in 2020 and 2021. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine temporarily hampered tourist arrivals, although this was more than offset by the increase in tourists’ arrivals from traditional western European markets.

According to the IMF, real GDP grew by 6.9 percent in 2021, compared to a decline of 12.9 percent in 2020. The Seychelles National Bureau of Statistics reported a year-on-year percentage increase of 14 percent in real GDP for the third quarter of 2022 as compared to the same quarter in 2021. The main sectoral drivers of this increase were information and communication, construction, administrative and support services, professional, scientific, and technical activities, transportation and storage, and public administration. The IMF forecasted real GDP growth to reach 10.6 percent in 2022, before moderating to 5.4 percent in 2023.

In 2019, the government was on track to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio to 50 percent by the end of 2021. According to the Ministry of Finance, however, by the end of 2020 the debt-to-GDP ratio had spiked to 99.4 percent. As was the case during the global economic crisis in 2008, the government turned to the IMF for support. In July 2021, Seychelles’s authorities and the IMF reached an agreement on economic and structural policies that would be supported by $107 million under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for the duration of 28 months. Seychelles’s authorities and the IMF agreed to reduce fiscal and debt vulnerabilities while promoting economic growth and protecting the environment and the most vulnerable segments of the population. Governance and transparency commitments included the completion of an audit of COVID-19 emergency spending and related procurement, and improvements in the AML/CFT regime.

In July 2022, the IMF assessed that the Government of Seychelles had made impressive progress in implementing the IMF-supported program and restoring macroeconomic balances. It highlighted that the country’s economic recovery has outperformed expectations, fueled by a strong rebound in tourism and significant fiscal overperformance. Per the Ministry of Finance, by December 2022, the total government and government guaranteed debt represented about 65 percent of GDP, compared to 74 percent as of December 2021, upturning projections in July 2022 that debt would decrease at a slower pace in 2022 due to spillovers of the war in Ukraine. Per the Central Bank of Seychelles, year-on-year inflation as of January 2023 was estimated at 2.4 percent compared to 3.9 percent in January 2022. However, the IMF expects inflation to rise to 4.5 percent in 2023, as a reflection of external factors such as higher import prices. In March 2023, the government announced that it planned to start negotiations for a new Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with the IMF.

Despite the government’s attempts to diversify the economy, activity remained focused on fishing and tourism. However, Seychelles’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which spans 1.3 million square kilometers, is a potential source of untapped oil reserves and represents potential business opportunities for U.S. companies. In September 2022, the Government of Seychelles and Petro Seychelles Ltd. signed an agreement with an oil exploration company based in Canada, for oil exploration and extraction on the southern shelf, 50 miles southeast of the main island, Mahé. Seychelles also has a small but growing offshore financial sector.

There is also potential for U.S. investment in renewable energy, as Seychelles seeks to reduce its heavy dependence on imported fossil fuels while preserving its natural environment. The government planned to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by 26.4 percent of the business-as-usual scenario 2030 value by undertaking reforms in its energy, refrigeration and air conditioning, transport, and waste sectors. Authorities planned to use solar and wind energy to increase the share of renewable energy production from 5 to 15 percent by 2030. While Seychelles welcomes foreign investment though the Seychelles Investment Act, related regulations restrict foreign investment in a number of sectors where local businesses are active, including artisanal fishing, small boat charters, taxi driving, and scuba diving instruction. The country’s investment policies encourage the development of Seychelles’ natural resources, improvements in infrastructure, and increases to productivity levels, but stress that these changes must be implemented in an environmentally sound and sustainable manner. Seychelles puts a premium on maintaining its unique ecosystems and screens all potential investment projects to ensure that any economic, social, or industrial benefits will not compromise the country’s international reputation for environmental stewardship.

Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings
Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2022 23 of 180  
Global Innovation Index 2022 N/A  
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions) 2021 USD 599
World Bank GNI per capita 2021 USD 14,540

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

Seychelles has a favorable attitude toward most foreign direct investment, though the government reserves certain types of business activities for domestic investors only. The Reserved Economic Activity Policy, enacted in April 2020, provides a detailed list of the types of business in which only Seychellois may invest and is available here: .

Some restrictions apply both to domestic and foreign investors, such as the policy forbidding vertical integration in the tourism industry with the objective of protecting local operators, and the moratorium on the construction of large-sized hotels on La Digue, Mahé and Praslin, in place since 2015, to limit mass tourism. In December 2022, the Cabinet of Ministers announced that the moratorium on the construction of new tourism accommodations and change of use, which is in effect since August 2021 on Seychelles’ third-most populated island – La Digue – has been extended to December 2023 and will be further extended beyond this date.

The Seychelles Investment Board (SIB) is the national gateway agency for the promotion and facilitation of investment in Seychelles. The government’s objective is to promote economic and commercial relationships to diversify the economy, as well as to sustain its tourism and fishing industries, which are currently the main drivers of economic growth. The SIB periodically organizes sector-specific meetings with investors and hosts a National Business Forum every two years to engage with the private sector.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

The 2010 Seychelles Investment Act and 2022 Seychelles Investment (Economic Activities) Regulations govern foreign direct investment (FDI) in Seychelles. These documents are available at: 
a . Since the implementation of IMF reforms after the 2008 financial crisis, Seychelles has successfully attracted FDI. According to the World Bank, net FDI inflows amounted to 111.5 million dollars in 2021, compared to 80 million dollars in 2020. The SIB advises foreign investors on the laws, regulations, and procedures for their activities in Seychelles.

The 2014 Seychelles Investment (Economic Activities) Regulations and the 2020 Reserved Economic Activity Policy list the economic activities in which only citizens can invest. The 2022 Seychelles Investment (Economic Activities) Regulations was enacted in July 2022 to provide more transparency to limitations and restrictions applicable to foreign investors. It revokes the 2014 Seychelles Investment (Economic Activities) Regulations. The new regulations provide a list of economic activities which may be undertaken by a foreign national, as well as a list of activities in which a foreign national may invest jointly with Seychelles national. It also provides that any activity not listed in the regulations, in the Reserved Economic Activity Policy or any other investment regulation shall be subjected to an economic needs test, by the Seychelles Investment Board, taking into consideration the interest of the domestic economy and consumers, and the development of the economic activity in Seychelles. The regulations also place financial limits on foreign equity in certain types of resident companies.

The SIB, in cooperation with other government agencies, also assists in screening potential investment projects. For a business to operate, investors must apply for a license from the Seychelles Licensing Authority. In 2012, the government also established an Investment Appeal Panel to provide a mechanism for investors to challenge the government’s decisions regarding existing or proposed investments in Seychelles. More information is available in the 2010 Seychelles Investment. Act: .

Other Investment Policy Reviews

Seychelles became the 161st World Trade Organization WTO member in April 2015. The first WTO review of the trade policies and practices of Seychelles took place on 5 and 7 December 2022: . The investment policy review of Seychelles by UNCTAD was published in September 2020:  . 

To date, Seychelles has not conducted an investment policy review through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

Business Facilitation

The government is committed to improving the business environment through public-private partnerships (PPP) to upgrade the country’s infrastructure. In March 2021, the cabinet of ministers approved the migration from the 2017 version of the harmonized system of classification to the 2022 version. The government is also currently reviewing the 1972 Companies Act.

On average, it takes eight days to obtain a certificate of incorporation and 14 days to obtain a business license.

Information on registering a business in Seychelles can be obtained on the SIB website:  . Companies, including those that are foreign owned, can register business names online through the following portal:  . However, parts of the registration process, such as payments of fees, still must be completed in person. A full digitalization of the registration process is currently ongoing and is expected to be completed in June 2022.

Since December 2021, applications for business licenses can be completed online at In an October 2022 Trade Policy Review Report of the Government of Seychelles indicated that the authorities were currently developing an investment portal, which will serve as a virtual platform for investor information and efficient application. Other actions being undertaken to improve the ease of doing business included updating the Companies Act to allow for digital filing of returns and applications, and the development of a provisional license framework for innovative businesses.

SIB also provides post-investment support in the form of consultancy services regarding the laws, regulations, guidelines, minimum operational standards, and land acquisition. This service is provided free of charge and is available to every investor, regardless of the size or nature of the business.

The Enterprise Seychelles Agency (ESA) is responsible for providing business development services to improve the performance of micro, small, and medium enterprises in Seychelles. Services provided by ESA include business planning, training, marketing expertise, and identification of business opportunities for SMEs.

Outward Investment

The Government of Seychelles does not promote or incentivize outward investment. However, it does not restrict local investors from investing abroad.

Seychelles is a member of the following trade blocs: Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA); iEPA); and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). As of June 2021, Seychelles is also a member of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). In January 2019, Seychelles was one of four Eastern and Southern African (ESA) countries to sign the UK-ESA Economic Partnership Agreement, which preserves the trade preferences currently enjoyed under the iEPA post Brexit. There is no bilateral taxation treaty between the United States and Seychelles.

Seychelles has signed tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs) with the following countries: Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Guernsey, Iceland, India, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the Swiss Confederation. In July 2019, Seychelles signed an inter-governmental agreement to implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The agreement has not yet been ratified by the Government of Seychelles and the regulations have not yet been approved by the Cabinet of ministers or the National Assembly.

Seychelles has signed a total of 28 double taxation avoidance agreements (DTAAs) with the following countries: Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Botswana, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Guernsey, Indonesia, Isle of Man, Jersey, Kenya, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mauritius, Monaco, Oman, Qatar, San Marino, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, and Zambia. Updated information on TIEAs and DTAAs can be accessed at .

In June 2021, the National Assembly voted to ratify the SADC Agreement on Tax Matters. The ratification of the agreement which Seychelles signed in 2012, is expected to allow Seychelles to enhance its rating with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes.

Seychelles is a member of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) and is party to the Inclusive Framework’s October 2021 deal on the two-pillar solution to global tax challenges, including a global minimum corporate tax. Seychelles has also signed and ratified the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (MLI). The Multilateral Convention entered into force for Seychelles on April 1, 2022. In his 2022 budget speech, the minister of finance announced that the government is working closely with the OECD on the taxation of revenues collected by multinational entities. Consultations are scheduled to begin in 2022, and the regime is scheduled to take effect in 2023.

Transparency of the Regulatory System

The government has made considerable efforts to liberalize the economy, and to improve the transparency and efficiency of its regulatory system. The 2022 Mo Ibrahim report on governance lists Seychelles as the country with the largest improvement over a 10-year period on areas such as rule of law and justice, anti-corruption, and accountability and transparency. However, the country continues to suffer a lack of transparency in the privatization and allocation of government-owned land and businesses. To promote transparency in the public procurement system, Seychelles’ National Tender Board publishes all tenders both on its website  (   and in local newspapers. The board publicizes contracts that have been awarded and includes the names of successful bidders and bid amounts. The government has also set up a Procurement Oversight Unit, which serves as a public procurement policy and monitoring body ( ).

In 2022, the government announced that a new electronic ID system has become operational, in line with its digital economy development agenda. It further announced that in 2023, the emphasis will be on interfacing government systems and the private sector through a SEY-ID digital platform. As additional steps towards transparency, in 2022, the Ministry of Finance launched a digital platform for the auction sale of government goods. The minister of finance moreover announced in his 2023 budget speech that the plan for 2023 was to launch a register of all individuals and businesses that participate in government tenders.
A new Public Enterprise bill was enacted in November 2022. This legislation establishes new obligations for public enterprises and will help the Public Enterprise Monitoring Commission (PEMC) be more efficient and rigorous in its supervisory function. The PEMC oversees 32 state-owned enterprises, which have either been established using public financial resources, or of which the government is a significant shareholder.

Following the 2016 election victory of the opposition Seychelles Democratic Union (LDS) in winning a majority in the National Assembly for the first time in 40 years, significant procedural changes were implemented. The government also took several measures to combat corruption and nepotism, including establishing the Anti-Corruption Commission; more frequently publishing special audits by the Auditor General’s Office of questionable government transactions; and appointing opposition supporters to various boards of national organizations and important positions. Since 2017, the government has held budget preparation focus group discussions, including key stakeholders such as the business community and civil society organizations. Additionally, there has been considerably more legislative debate on the annual government budget. Increased budget debate and scrutiny has continued following the October 2020 presidential and legislative elections, in which the LDS won the presidency for the first time in the country’s history, and again won a majority in the National Assembly. Every government agency is called to the National Assembly to answer questions on their proposed budgets, as well as general questions related to their organizations.

Proposed laws and regulations, as well as final laws, are published in the official gazette on a monthly basis and are available online at . Regulatory transparency improved with the balance of power between the opposition-controlled National Assembly and ruling party-controlled presidency following the 2016 elections. This included several new laws, such as the Freedom of Information Act. In 2018, the access to information law came into force. In 2019, the government appointed a chief executive officer for the Seychelles Information Commission, and appointed information officers in all ministries and departments. The law makes provisions for how citizens may access government information that is not classified as sensitive for security and defense reasons. It also makes provisions for how agencies should respond to requests, mandates proactive disclosure and a duty to assist requestors, and defines information that is deemed classified for security and defense. In 2020, the government also published a manual for using the Freedom of Information Act and accessing information. Additionally, ministries are now required to submit white papers and consult with stakeholders before legislation is adopted.

Seychelles’ budget is easily accessible to the general public: . Budget documents, including the executive budget proposal and the enacted budget, provide a substantially full picture of Seychelles’ planned expenditures and revenue streams. Publicly available budgets included expenditures broken down by ministry and revenues broken down by source and type. Information on debt obligations is also readily available. In 2019, the government also included a fiscal risk statement, which identified substantial fiscal risks emanating from public enterprises in Seychelles. The statement also contains details on explicit and contingent liabilities, and is available at Other measures to improve transparency and accountability announced by the government in 2021 include: (a) a framework for better transparency and justice related to taxes paid by charitable organizations on private sector donations; (b) review of the Income and Non-Monetary Benefits Tax Act to bring more transparency to salaries that are not taxed; (c) implementation of a Results Based Management (RBM) framework to inculcate principles of efficiency, transparency and accountability in public service; and (d) creation of a Public Sector Commission to ensure better transparency and to remove any political agenda in the appointment of senior executives in the public sector.

The Result-Based Management (RBM) framework was officially launched in March 2022. The objective of the new RBM is to increase public sector efficiency in order to create the fiscal space required to deliver national priorities, to enhance transparency in order to strengthen open and accessible government, to maximize public sector effectiveness in order to provide accessible high quality services and improve government performance and to develop a performance driven planning culture system instruments and tools so as to ensure that government delivers its mandate by achieving planned goal objectives and outcomes.
In November 2021, the government also announced the establishment of a high-level domestic regulations (HLDRC) committee to represent the public sector and members of the National Assembly. This committee will discuss ways of improving the transparency and efficiency of licensing administrative procedures, especially with regards to business with foreign investors.

Government also announced in 2023 that the Central Bank is working on the implementation of a new Credit Information System and its accompanying legal framework, with the aim of helping businesses to get information about their clients’ credit worthiness. It also announced reforms to develop capital markets in accordance with international norms.

International Regulatory Considerations

Seychelles has signed trade agreements with regional blocs such as COMESA, SADC, and the EU. Seychelles has also signed the COMESA- East African Community (EAC)-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Agreement (TFTA) and AfCFTA. Seychelles ratified the AfCFTA in June 2021 and announced its withdrawal from the TFTA in September 2021 to focus its resources on the AfCFTA. The AfCFTA started during the TFTA negotiations but moved at a faster pace and covers a larger number of African countries (54), including the 28 countries negotiating the TFTA. In January 2019, four eastern and southern African (ESA) countries, including Seychelles, signed the UK-ESA Economic Partnership Agreement, which safeguards trade preferences currently enjoyed under iEPA post Brexit.

Seychelles joined the WTO in 2015, becoming the 161st member, and underwent its first WTO Trade Policy Review in 2022. Seychelles does notify draft technical regulations to the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade. In 2016, Seychelles ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). Further details on Seychelles’ TFA notifications to the WTO can be found at . On tariff policy, Seychelles ratified the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System in August 2020 making it the 160th Contracting Party to the Harmonized System Convention.  The Customs Management (Tariff and Classification of Goods) Regulations, 2022, was published in October 2022 to enforce the changes introduced under this convention.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

Seychelles’ legal system is a blend of English common law, the Napoleonic Code, and customary law. Civil matters, such as contracts and torts, are governed by the Civil Code of Seychelles, which is derived from the French Napoleonic Code. However, the company law and criminal laws are based on British law. In both civil and criminal matters, the procedural rules derive from British law. Seychelles does not maintain a specialized commercial court. Judgments of foreign courts are governed by Section 3 of the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act of 1961. Under the current government, the perception among citizens is that the judiciary is no longer influenced by the executive. In its 2022 budget, the government announced that it will start working with the judiciary to introduce a separate court that will deal specifically with commercial cases.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

The Government of Seychelles established the SIB (Seychelles Investment Bureau,  as a one-stop-shop for all matters relating to business and investment in Seychelles. The SIB’s main functions are to promote investment and facilitate investment processes within the country’s administrative and legal framework. The SIB, in cooperation with other government agencies, also assists in screening potential investment projects. It has also implemented a digital customer relations management system to follow up on applications submitted by investors. In 2021, the government announced that it is working on a digital system to integrate functions of all government agencies involved in the administration of online business applications to further improve ease of doing business. In 2022, services which were accessible online included the registration of businesses and associations. The government also announced in 2022 that a new data protection bill will be proposed to the National Assembly in 2023 to make investors more confident about the protection of their personal data.

The government is keen to ensure that business activities are not conducted at the expense of Seychelles’ natural environment. For a business to operate, investors must apply for a license from the Seychelles Licensing Authority .

The government established an Investment Appeal Panel in 2012 to provide an appeal mechanism for investors to challenge the government’s decisions regarding investments or proposed investments in Seychelles.

Competition and Antitrust Laws

The SIB only reviews competition cases initiated by other government authorities, private sector entities, or investors. Current legislation does not empower SIB to review on its own accord all transactions for competition-related concerns. The Fair-Trading Commission ( ) is responsible for investigating competition-related concerns. Such investigations may be initiated by the Commission or may be carried out following a complaint.

A new Communications Bill was published in the Official Gazette in July 2022 to regulate and manage competition in the Information and Communication Technology industry and establish legal provisions to enable consumers to switch operators. Government also announced in 2022 the setting up of a new Communications Regulations Authority to promote fair competition in the telecommunications sector.

Previously, in November 2021, the government announced new measures to promote competition in the financial services sector: (a) modernization of the National Payments System; (b) a new fintech strategy; and (c) the introduction of financial consumer protection legislation, which will give the central bank and financial services authority more power to protect the interests of financial consumers. This new law will likely be complemented by other actions to enhance competition, such as reducing or eliminating costs for switching providers, eliminating abusive practices aimed at keeping customers tied to one particular service provider, and educating the public on its rights.

The Financial Consumer Protection Act 2022 was enacted in April 2022. Moreover, in February 2023, the Central Bank of Seychelles gave its approval for a new payment service provider to operate in the country for provision of e-money services. The Central Bank also announced upcoming new projects as part of its national payment system modernization plan and FinTech strategy, including implementation of a new payment infrastructure to improve the environment for enhanced participation/entrance into the market for digital financial solutions.

Expropriation and Compensation

The 1978 Lands Acquisition Act, last amended in 1990, states that when the government takes possession of property, it must pay prompt and full compensation for the property. The government may expropriate property in cases of public interest or for public safety. Following the 1977 socialist takeover, the government engaged in expropriation of land for redistribution or for use by the state. With the return of a multi-party-political system in 1993, the government compensated some of those who had lost land to expropriation/redistribution in the late 1970s. In 2017, Seychelles established the Land Compensation Tribunal to investigate cases where compulsory land acquisition was made by the government without adequate compensation. Citizens whose land was taken by the government from 1977 to 1993 had until December 2020 to make their claims. The Land Compensation Tribunal completed judgments in all its cases in 2021.

The Land Compensation Tribunal also works in close collaboration with the Truth Reconciliation and National Unity Commission (TRNUC), which is investigating cases of human rights abuses prior to and after the 1977 takeover. Illegal land acquisition by the government also formed part of the TRNUC’s mandate. The TRNUC officially completed its mandate in March 2023 when it submitted its final report to the President Wavel Ramkalawan.  The report contains seven volumes, which includes evidence and historical context, legal framework and approach to case determinations, amnesty, reparations, and recommendations. Discussions on compensation are ongoing within the country’s legislative and executive branches.

In October 2021, the Government of Seychelles also introduced a program to return land that was forcibly acquired between 1977 and 1993. This program applies to land acquired through the 1977 Lands Acquisition Act or purchased under a private agreement. The measure is based on the principle that land acquired by the government either compulsorily or through private agreement for a public purpose or in the national interest and which is still undeveloped and not earmarked by the government to be utilized in the public interest or for a public purpose will be considered for return to the original owner or his executor or heir. More information on this is available  here: .

U.S. Embassy Port Louis does not anticipate major expropriations in the near future, nor is it aware of any pattern of discrimination against U.S. persons.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

In 1978, Seychelles joined the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID Convention). In February 2020, Seychelles deposited its instrument of accession to the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958 New York Convention), which entered into force in May 2020.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

Seychelles has been a party to the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States since April 1978. Seychelles has signed five bilateral investment treaties (BITs), of which two are currently in force: the 2007 France-Seychelles BIT and the 1998 Cyprus-Seychelles BIT.

U.S. Embassy Port Louis is aware of at least one unresolved investment dispute involving the operation of a large hotel resort by a company with U.S. shareholders.

Parties involved in investment disputes are encouraged to resolve their disputes through arbitration and negotiation. The Seychelles Investment Act created the Investment Appeal Panel to which aggrieved investors may appeal a decision made by a public sector agency regarding their investments or proposed investments in Seychelles. In the event investors are not satisfied with the decision of the Investment Appeal Panel, they may appeal to the Court of Appeal. Seychelles has acceded to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, which entered into force in May 2020.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

The legal framework for international arbitration exists through the Commercial Code of Seychelles, the Seychelles Code of Civil Procedure, and Seychelles Investment Act. Seychelles has acceded to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, which entered into force in May 2020. Arbitration legislation in Seychelles is not based on the UNCITRAL Model Law; however, several provisions are compatible with the Model Law. In general, international arbitration is not yet a regular feature of dispute resolution in Seychelles, even though arbitration clauses are used in contracts.
BAnkruptcy regulations

Bankruptcy in Seychelles is governed under the Insolvency Act of 2013  According to his act, an individual may be discharged from bankruptcy three years from the date of its declaration. Bankruptcy is not criminalized in Seychelles.

Investment Incentives

The Government of Seychelles has enacted legislation which provides incentives for investment in several sectors. Examples include the 2005 Agriculture and Fisheries (Incentives) Act, the Tourism Incentives Act, the Seychelles International Trade Zone Act, and fiscal incentives under the Investment Code. Incentives under these laws most often take the form of tax credits, tax holidays, duty-free access for the import of materials required for initial investment, and expedited work permits for foreign employees who move to Seychelles.

The SIB has the mandate to promote investment in Seychelles and assist in screening potential investments. In 2018, the government announced an investment policy guided by the following principles: creation of a conducive and transparent environment to attract investment and operate business; modernization of the legal framework for investment; application of international best practices and standards for investment; and respect for the environment and sociocultural fabric of the country. The investment policy statement is available at the following link: .

According to the SIB, the government does not issue investment guarantees, but Seychelles’ public-private partnership framework allows public and private sector entities to jointly finance foreign direct investment projects.

The government offers tax incentives in the form of value-added tax exemptions on imported goods that (a) conserve, generate or produce renewable or environment friendly energy sources; (b) conserve fresh or potable water resources or re-use or recycle wastewater; and (c) recycle, reduce or re-use solid waste.  The government also provides rebates to businesses that use rooftop photovoltaic equipment for power generation.

In May 2023, the government announced the launching of a Seychelles Investment Map, developed by the Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The map identifies various existing Investment Opportunity Areas (IOAs) and Emerging Investment Opportunity Areas (EIOAs). As of May 2023, the map had identified green power production, eco-tourism development, and agricultural export, along with four other venture possibilities, as investment priorities open to local and foreign investors.

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

The Seychelles International Trade Zone (SITZ) Act of 1995 ( ) provides for the establishment of free trade zones, which aim to combine the benefits of a freeport and an export processing zone. Multiple locations have been declared international trade zones under this regime. The list of concessions available to SITZ license holders includes the following:

  • Exemption from customs duties on certain capital equipment to be used in the SITZ.
  • Exemption from certain taxes.
  • Exemption from fees with respect to work permits.
  • Entitlement to full foreign ownership.
  • Entitlement to employ 100 percent foreign labor.
  • Exemption from national labor laws.

Activities of the SITZ are regulated by the Seychelles Financial Services Authority. Foreign-owned firms benefit from the same incentives as local firms operating in the SITZ. To meet the requirements of the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) standard of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), licensable export services activities under the International Trade Zone Act have been amended. Under the revised regime, the export services licensee will not be allowed to provide services other than repair and reconditioning of goods, warehouse, and rent storage space, or to offer logistical services, provided that these activities relate to goods physically handled in the SITZ.

In the 2023 budget announcements, the government announced that permit procedures for imports and exports will become fully digital in 2023. It also announced that the Industry Property Act, and the Trade Remedies Act will be finalized before end of 2023. Seychelles’ first Trade Remedies law once in force will allow Seychelles to take remedial action against injurious imports to its domestic industries through the use of trade policy tools.

Performance And Data Localization Requirements

Investors operating in Seychelles are expected to abide by the following obligations:

  • Comply with the provisions of the governing laws on investment procedures and carry out investment activities in accordance with the approvals granted. This includes the responsibility for accuracy and truthfulness in materials submitted in investment proposals and registration.
  • Fully discharge their financial obligations, including taxation, in accordance with the law.
  • Carry out the provisions of the laws on accounting and auditing.
  • Carry out the provisions of the laws on registration of companies and other legal entities.
  • Carry out the provisions of the employment laws and regulations.

Seychelles does not have a single comprehensive law that addresses the collection and use of personal data. The Data Protection Act (DPA) was enacted in 2003 to provide individuals with privacy rights regarding processing of their personal data, but as of March 2021 it has not entered into force. Other sectoral laws that include data protection provisions are: the 1976 Civil Code of Seychelles; the 2001 Electronic Transactions Act; the 2004 Central Bank of Seychelles Act; the 2004 Financial Institutions Act; the 2012 Central Bank of Seychelles (Credit Information System) Regulations; the 2013 Financial Services Authority Act; the 2016 Anti-Corruption Act; the 2016 International Business Companies Act; the 2018 Access to Information Act; the 2020 Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism Act, and the 2021 Cybercrimes and Other Related Crimes Act. The drafting of a new data protection bill was approved by the cabinet of ministers in December 2021 and is currently ongoing.

There is currently no legal requirement obliging foreign IT providers to hand over their source code or provide access to the encryption utilized. Seychelles does not have any legal instrument that prevents or restricts companies from transmitting customer or business-related data outside the country. Consequently, there are currently no government agencies involved in enforcing any rules or regulations with regards to local data storage in Seychelles.

U.S. Embassy Port Louis is not aware of any investment performance requirements.

Real Property

Courts in Seychelles enforce property rights. Mortgages and liens are enforced, and the land registrar resolves land disputes. All lands in Seychelles are either publicly or privately held. In 2014, the government discontinued selling state land to foreign nationals. However, it also announced in the same year a more flexible policy on ownership of land, whereby foreign nationals would be able to buy privately owned land only, provided they meet a number of set criteria and are granted sanction by the Seychelles government. The new policy also stated that foreign nationals purchasing land rights would not be able to purchase state-owned land in Seychelles and are furthermore banned from buying land from the government’s Land Bank Scheme, which is aimed at enabling citizens to obtain a piece of land at a reduced cost.

The policy also makes provision for foreign nationals to obtain a long-term lease for a particular development on state owned land, which applies to all outlying islands of the Indian Ocean archipelago.

The Immovable Property Tax Act, which was enacted in December 2019, introduced an annual tax of 0.25 percent on the assessed market value of immovable property owned by all foreigners. In the 2023 budget speech, the government announced that this tax rate will increase to 0.5 percent as from January 2024.

Intellectual Property Rights

Seychelles is not in the 2022 United States Trade Representative (USTR) Special 301 Report. However, it is cited in the 2022 Notorious Markets List as the country of incorporation for a company listed as a notorious online market.

The Government of Seychelles has measures in place to enforce intellectual property rights (IPR), but awareness of IPR is limited and enforcement is weak. Seychelles joined the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in March 2000. The country became a contracting party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in November 2002. The cabinet of ministers approved plans for Seychelles to accede to the Madrid Protocol. Seychelles also signed the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances in June 2012 and ratified the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in October 2014. Additionally, the cabinet of ministers approved Seychelles’ membership in the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) by way of acceding to the Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs.

The 2014 Copyright Act and the 2014 Industrial Property Act, which are the two major laws regarding intellectual property rights, are currently being reviewed, along with their related regulations, with a view to updating them in line with international standards. In the 2023 budget announcements, the government stated that it is working towards finalizing the Copyright Act before end of 2023. The 2014 Customs Management (Border Measures) Regulations provide enforcement measures at the border with respect to counterfeit goods. There is currently no legislation for plant variety protection. As required by WTO principles, Seychelles IP law treats foreign nationals and citizens equally.

Enforcement of IPR protection laws is limited, as very few international brands and trademarks have local or even regional representatives.

In 2017, the cabinet of ministers established the National Intellectual Property Committee to serve as a coordinating body for consultations with stakeholders on IP matters. The Committee, which falls under the purview of the Trade Division of the Ministry of Finance, National Planning, and Trade, which comprises representatives from government, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector, meets on a monthly basis. The Registrar General’s Office serves as the one-stop-shop for both copyright and intellectual property.

Chapter 13 of the 2014 Customs Management (Border Measures) Regulations provides for enforcement measures at the border with respect to counterfeit and/or pirated goods. The Seychelles Revenue Commission’s customs officials monitor incoming shipments for counterfeit goods. However, their focus is on counterfeit products that pose a public health risk, such as medications and electrical appliances. Counterfeit apparel, CDs, and DVDs are widely available in Seychelles’s markets. During 2021, the Customs Division intercepted and seized one consignment of counterfeit goods, mainly counterfeit handbags, shoes, and articles of clothing.

For additional information about national laws and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at  .

Some Law Firms in Seychelles also handling IPR:*

Room 8, Trinity House
Huteau Lane 41
Victoria, Mahe
+248 422 624

Room 104, Premier Building
Victoria, Mahe
+248 423 28 41

*List for convenience only, not intended to imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

Seychelles welcomes foreign portfolio investment. The Seychelles Securities Act ( ) provides the legal framework for Seychelles’ stock market. The Seychelles securities exchange, now known as MERJ Exchange, has operated since 2012. Listing and trading are available in United States Dollars, Euros, Pounds Sterling, Seychelles Rupees, South African Rand, and Australian Dollars. MERJ is an affiliate of the World Federation of Exchanges, a full member of ANNA and a partner exchange of the Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative. In 2022, 10 new companies were listed on MERJ Exchange Ltd. By the end of 2022, MERJ reported a total of 52 listings (47 equity and 5 debt listings) with a total market capitalization of $1.28 billion.

SECDEX Exchange Limited is the second exchange licensed by the Seychelles Financial Services Authority in 2020 to operate as a multi-asset securities and derivatives exchange. Portfolio investment in Seychelles is limited by the small size of the economy and banking sector. The buying and selling of sizeable positions may have an outsized impact on the Seychelles Rupee and the economy in general. There are no restrictions on trading by foreigners.

Money and Banking System

Seychelles has a two-tier banking system that separates the central and commercial bank functions and roles. Commercial banks, both domestic and foreign, are regulated and supervised by the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS). According to the 2004 Central Bank of Seychelles Act, the CBS is responsible for the formulation and implementation of Seychelles’ monetary and exchange rate policies. The CBS is the only administrative body responsible for receiving applications for banking licenses, whether domestic or offshore, and issuing the corresponding licenses.

As of December 2022, there were seven commercial banks in operation: Absa Bank, Bank of Baroda, Mauritius Commercial Bank (Seychelles), Nouvobanq, Seychelles Commercial Bank, Al Salam Bank Seychelles Ltd, and Bank of Ceylon. The Pakistani Bank AL Habib Limited closed its branch in Seychelles in September 2021. Although a new bank was licensed in March 2021, it had not commenced operations in 2022. According to a 2016 report by the CBS, 94 percent of citizens use banks.

Seychelles also has three non-banking financial institutions: the Seychelles Credit Union, a savings and credit cooperative society; the Development Bank of Seychelles, which provides flexible financing for businesses and projects to promote economic growth and employment; and the Housing Finance Corporation, a government-owned company that provides financing to citizens for the purchase of land, the construction of homes, and financing home improvements.

Seychelles has multiple laws that govern the financial services sector, including: the 2004 Financial Institutions Act; the 2004 Prevention of Terrorism Act; the 2004 Central Bank Act; the 2007 Data Protection Act; the 2007 Mutual and Hedge Fund Act; the 2016 International Business Companies Act; the 2020 Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism Act (AML/CFT Act), and the 2020 Beneficial Ownership Act. In the past years, the CBS’s regulatory powers have been expanded with the adoption of the AML/CFT Act.

In 2022, the authorities progressed on updating the legal framework related to financial stability and crisis management. The Financial Consumer Protection Act, aimed at protecting the interests of consumers of financial services and handling related disputes, was approved by the National Assembly in April 2022. Moreover, Cabinet approved a draft policy paper on the Financial Stability Bill in March 2022, while the central bank submitted for Cabinet approval a draft policy paper on the Bank Resolution Bill in October 2022, aimed at improving co-operation mechanisms as well as instruments to deal with evolving types of crises. The U.S. Treasury has been assisting the central bank with this bill. Furthermore, in December 2022, the National Payment System (Electronic Money) Regulations were enacted to provide guidelines to potential investors in the e-money ecosystem, in line with CBS’s payment system modernization plan, its fintech strategy, and the government’s digital economy agency. A project is underway to implement a new credit information system and a credit reporting legislation to provide for broader coverage of credit information and better credit worthiness assessment. The legal framework is expected to be enacted in 2023.

The banking sector is generally healthy, though it is limited by its small size and reliance on correspondent bank relationships. Per the International Monetary Fund, the Seychelles banking system remained adequately capitalized in 2022. Per the CBS, all banks remained well above the prudential capital requirement of 12 percent as at end-July 2022. The central bank adopted a forward-looking monetary policy approach to anchor inflation expectations. However, it remains vigilant to domestic and external developments underlying the inflation outlook, including the impact of foreign inflation. Private credit has been weak due to uneven growth in the economy and the impact of COVID-19, although credit growth to the private sector is expected to pick up in 2023, if stimulated by an effective monetary policy transmission. The central bank has committed to the IMF’s recommendations to strengthen its monetary policy transmission mechanism through a combination of instruments and through developing its money and FX markets.

Due to concerns about money-laundering and illicit finance in the financial sector, some local banks have lost their correspondent banking relationship with foreign banks, a phenomenon known as de-risking, thus making it difficult for local banks to perform international transactions. In 2017, the CBS and the Financial Services Authority visited foreign financial centers to address de-risking. The government is actively working with international experts, including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, to ensure Seychelles is not perceived as high-risk jurisdiction.

In February 2020, the EU added Seychelles to the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, as Seychelles had not implemented the tax reforms by the mutually agreed deadline of December 2019. In December 2019, France added Seychelles to its blacklist of tax havens for not providing adequate information on French offshore entities operating in the island nation’s jurisdiction. In 2020, the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) Act and the Beneficial Ownership (BO) Act. These two pieces of legislation address the deficiencies identified in the 2018 Mutual Evaluation Report of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG).

The Beneficial Ownership Act (Compliance of Legal Persons and Legal Arrangements) Notice was enacted in September 2021 and the Beneficial Ownership Data Base digital platform, managed by the Financial Intelligence Unit, became operational in November 2021. All domestic registered companies, partnerships and associations are required to comply with the provisions of the 2020 Beneficial Ownership Act by January 31, 2022, to populate the information about their beneficial owners on the Beneficial Ownership Data Base, and to keep an up-to-date register of all their beneficial owners or shareholders.

In December 2021, the National Assembly approved five bills to make the jurisdiction compliant with FATF recommendations: the Anti-Corruption (Amendment No.3) Bill, the Licenses (Amendment) Bill, the Custody, Management and Disposal of Seized, Forfeited or Confiscated Properties Bill, the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, and the Prevention of Terrorism (Second Amendment) Bill.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) conducted in 2022 a National Risk Assessment of virtual assets and virtual assets service providers (VA/VASP), in line with FATF’s Recommendation 15. The NRA was published in August 2022 after endorsement by the Cabinet. The NRA concluded that exposure to money laundering/terrorist financing risks in relation to VA/VASP is very high, owing to a lack of regulatory framework. In response, the national committee which worked on the NRA has launched preparation of a policy framework to address the high ML/FT risks from the VA/VASP sector.

Other laws enacted previously during 2021 to upgrade the country’s financial services legal framework include: the Trusts Act, the Foundations (Amendment) Act, the International Service Providers (Amendment) Act, the International Business Companies (Amendment) Act, and the Limited Partnership (Amendment) Act.
In September 2021, the Business Tax (Amendment)(Commencement) Notice and the Business Tax (Amendment of Eleventh Schedule) were also enacted to bring into effect certain changes in Seychelles’ territorial tax system.

As a result of these new laws and amendments, the EU removed Seychelles from Annex I of its list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes in October 2021, and moved to Annex II of the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions (the “EU grey list”) for criterion 1.2 (tax transparency). Its removal from Annex II is subject to the positive outcome of a Global Forum supplementary review, which started in October 2022. The draft report of this review will be submitted to the Peer Review Group for consideration and discussion at a meeting scheduled for June 2023. Once this process is completed, the EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council will consider that report to remove Seychelles from the EU grey list for criterion 1.2.

According to the CBS in February 2023, non-performing loans to total gross loans in the banking sector stood at 7.1 percent, and foreign currency deposits totaled 13 billion Seychelles Rupees (approx. $990 million).

A wide range of financial services, such as checking accounts, savings accounts, loans, transactions in foreign currencies, and foreign currency accounts are available in the banking system. Foreigners and foreign/offshore firms must establish residency or proof of business registration to obtain a bank account.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange

Since the 2008 IMF reform package, the government places no restrictions or limitations on foreign investors converting, transferring, or repatriating funds associated with investment. Funds are freely converted. Seychelles maintains a floating exchange rate for the Seychelles Rupee (SCR), which fluctuated between SCR 12 and SCR 14.5 to $1 from 2015 to 2019. In 2020, the SCR depreciated by 53 percent with the average rate in January 2020 being SCR 14 to $1 compared to SCR 21.5 in December 2020, due to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism sector. The average exchange rate gradually appreciated through 2021 and was back to SCR14 to $1 in February 2022 as tourism and other economic activities rebounded in the country.

Remittance Policies

Foreign exchange controls were removed in 2008 and foreign investors are free to repatriate their profits and other incomes. U.S. Embassy Port Louis is unaware of any planned changes to remittance policies, time limits on remittances, or use of any legal parallel market.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

Seychelles does not maintain any sovereign wealth funds. However, in the 2022 state of the nation address, the president announced that a sovereign wealth fund will be established. This fund had not yet materialized at the time of this report.

Seychelles is one of 15 countries participating in the State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) Network for Southern Africa, which was launched in 2007 to support, in collaboration with the OECD, southern African countries in their efforts to improve the performance of SOEs.

According to the Public Enterprise Monitoring Commission (Amendments of Schedule 1) Regulations 2019, there are 34 state-owned enterprises, which have either been established using public financial resources, or in which the government has a significant shareholding. However, in 2019, Green Oak Investment Company Limited, a subsidiary of the Island Development Company Limited (IDC), was dissolved and only 4 tankers were registered as limited liability companies under the Companies Ordinance 1972. This in turn resulted to a total of 32 public enterprises in the SOE sector in 2021.These government-owned organizations are responsible for the delivery of both commercial and social objectives. They offer a range of essential services, including electricity, water, roads, seaports, fuel supply, import/export, retail, transport, civil aviation, housing, and tourism. At the end of 2021, total assets of SOEs amounted to $2.1 billion, representing 142 percent of nominal GDP while the total net income was $29.8 million, equivalent to 24 percent of GDP.

SOEs are generally free to purchase and/or supply goods and services from private sector and foreign firms depending on their mandates. There was growing concern in the business community that SOEs such as the Seychelles Trading Company (STC) had been allowed to exceed their explicit mandate and compete unfairly. For example, the STC had expanded its operations in the retail business with the opening of a hypermarket, a hardware store, and a luxury goods department selling perfumes. The new government closed the loss-making retail outlets, rebranded the STC as a wholesale outlet, and introduced the recommended retail price system.

SOEs and parastatal bodies are required to maintain a board of directors and make regular reports to the corresponding ministry. The president and the responsible minister have authority over the size and composition of the boards of SOEs. Excessive board and executive compensation are perceived to create inequities and inefficiencies in the operations of SOEs. However, the current government intends to carry out a review compensation in SOEs in 2022.
The Public Enterprise Monitoring Commission (PEMC), set up in 2013 through the PEMC Act, is an oversight government entity operating under the aegis of the Ministry for Finance, National Planning and Trade and responsible for monitoring financial, governance, and transparency issues related to public enterprises. PEMC undertakes governance and operational assessments of SOEs using a risk-based approach annually. The government has published a Code of Governance for Public Entities to provide guidelines to improve the governance, monitoring and control of public entities in Seychelles. The Code, which was developed by PEMC along with other stakeholders, entered into force in April 2019 and can be accessed on its website: The PEMC issued the first report on the application of the Code of Corporate Governance for the year 2020 in January 2022.

In January 2022, Seychelles Petroleum Company (SEYPEC), a state-owned enterprise involved in importation and supply of fuel on the domestic market, bunkering activities, shipping, and aviation refueling, sold Seychelles’ first petrol tanker without informing the government. At the time of this report, SEYPEC’s CEO was suspended and the PEMC was investigating on the procedure of the sale.

Additionally, at the end of the first quarter of 2022, it was announced, that banking institutions would no longer fall under the purview of the PEMC.

With regards, to COVID19 impact on the SOE sector, the performance of various public enterprises (PEs) was significantly impacted due the adverse effects of the pandemic which caused an economic downturn. To counter such effects in the country, measures were taken that led to the temporary closure of the Seychelles International Airport, leading to a reduction in tourism related activities in the country. During the year 2020, a few SOEs received government financial support to sustain the payment of salaries of employees and also to sustain their operations. However, 2021 saw a relaxation of government’s interventions to assist PEs in response to COVID-19 pandemic compared to 2020. The government also imposed a freeze on recruitment by SOEs in April 2020 which remained in 2021. Additionally, the Government decided that no PEs should be paying any bonuses and 13th month salary to its employees in the year 2021.

The easing of governmental intervention in 2021 mirrored improvement in general economic conditions, as the number of tourists’ arrival picked up towards the end of 2020.

The Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) also imposed a hold on dividend payments from banking institutions in 2021, given the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
In view of the Covid-19 restrictions and its effects, the Commission also extended the deadline for submission of Audited Financial Statement (AFS) to 31st May 2021.

The ownership policy, which applies to all SOEs and articulates the government’s expectations, policies, and functional relationships with respect to SOEs in the fulfilment of their mandates. was adopted in December 2020. The dividend policy for SOEs, which aims to establish a transparent framework for SOE dividend payments, was also adopted in December 2020. Audited financial statements of SOEs are published annually on the PEMC website .

Privatization Program

Previous governments had announced privatization plans several times, but these plans did not materialize. U.S. Embassy Port Louis is not aware of any other formal legal barriers to foreign investors participating in privatization.

Seychelles’s society has a high level of awareness of corporate social responsibility (CSR), especially in environmental protection and social programs, but CSR is generally regarded as a function of government. Since 2013, the Seychelles Revenue Commission has collected a CSR tax of 0.5 percent on monthly turnover for businesses with an annual turnover of SCR 1 million or more. In April 2021, the CSR Tax Repeal Bill was passed to abolish the CSR tax to provide businesses with additional liquidity during the pandemic and to deter businesses from operating in the informal sector to avoid this tax. Officially, there are no waivers available for foreign investors with regard to labor law, employment rights, consumer protection, or environmental standards.

The law prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labor. The government’s efforts to combat labor trafficking significantly increased in 2022. These efforts included increasing investigations of trafficking crimes; developing a new victim identification and referral procedure; establishing the country’s first trafficking-specific shelter; hiring personnel to establish an anti-trafficking secretariat to support the National Coordinating Committee against Trafficking in Persons (NCCTIP); and establishing the country’s first anti-trafficking hotline. However, the government did not meet the minimum international standards in several key areas. Migrant workers were the population most vulnerable to forced labor, including nonpayment of wages, physical abuse, fraudulent recruitment schemes, delayed payment of their salaries, and failure to provide them with adequate housing, resulting in substandard living conditions.

In past years, there have been reports of passport seizures and confiscations to prevent workers from changing employers prior to the end of their two-year contracts. NGOs reported that traffickers have exploited migrant workers aboard foreign-flagged fishing vessels in Seychelles’ territorial waters and ports, including through nonpayment of wages and physical abuse. Labor recruitment agents based in Seychelles have exploited migrant workers, often with the assistance of a local Citizens accomplice. Migrant workers often signed their employment contracts upon arrival in Seychelles and frequently could not read the language, which traffickers exploited in fraudulent recruitment tactics.

Seychelles currently has no production in the extractive sector, but international companies have undertaken petroleum exploration activities offshore. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) accepted Seychelles as a candidate country in August 2014 and Seychelles’ validation against the standard began in January 2018. In September 2020, the EITI Board assessed Seychelles as having achieved “meaningful progress” in implementing the 2019 EITI Standard. The 2020 draft validation assessment can be accessed at: .

Seychelles adopted a Beneficial Ownership Act in March 2020, which includes a definition of beneficial owners. The law entered into force in January 2021. Extractive companies are the only sector where beneficial ownership disclosures will be made publicly available. The next validation is scheduled to commence in January 2023.

Seychelles, a major player in the global tuna industry, joined the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) in 2017. The FiTI International Board approved Seychelles’ candidate application in April 2020. Seychelles has submitted three FiTI reports covering calendar years 2019, 2020 and 2021, and the next report covering calendar year 2022 is due by December 2023. The FiTI International Board has recognized Seychelles’ efforts to implement the FiTI Standard with a score of ‘meaningful progress’ in its first validation exercise. The ’meaningful progress’ score means that Seychelles, for now, remains a FiTI Candidate Country. As part of its Compliance Statement, the FiTI International Board has issued four corrective actions for Seychelles to undertake which, if properly addressed, will see the country progress to the status of a FiTI Compliant Country. The Board will review the implementation status of these corrective actions during the next validation of Seychelles which is scheduled to start in June 2024.

Additional Resources

Department of State

Department of the Treasury

Department of Labor

Climate Issues

According to a UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) report, Seychelles is vulnerable to storms, floods, and landslides. The Seychellois Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment (MACE) manages key climate policies.  Seychelles’ 2020 National Climate Change Policy created the National Climate Change Council chaired by the vice president to coordinate all climate change actions.  The council must report on the implementation status of all national and international climate change obligations to the cabinet of ministers and the National Assembly.

In November 2021, at the Conference of Parties 26 (COP 26), the Government of Seychelles pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 26.4 percent of the business-as-usual scenario 2030 value.  To achieve this target, the government plans to reform in its energy, refrigeration and air conditioning, transport, and waste sectors.  Details of the reforms for each sector will be included in the country’s updated National Climate Change Strategy and the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) implementation plan.  Seychelles has a long-term strategy to make its energy supply solely based on renewables as outlined in its 2010-2030 energy policy by focusing on the development of offshore wind and photovoltaic technologies.

The government expects private sector contributions to reform the energy and transport sectors and to develop the aquaculture sector.  While the contributions for the energy and transport sectors will be detailed in upcoming sectoral blueprints, the Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy has created an aquaculture department.

The government offers tax incentives in the form of value-added tax exemptions on imported goods that (a) conserve, generate or produce renewable or environment friendly energy sources; (b conserve of fresh or potable water resources or re-use or recycle wastewater; and (c) recycle, reduce or re-use solid waste.  There is a purchase rebate plan to incentivize businesses to resort to rooftop photovoltaic equipment for power generation.

Policies to preserve biodiversity include: (a) regulating coastal planning and infrastructure at the national and local level to prioritize the consideration of “blue” nature-based solutions for climate resilience; (b) protecting at least 50 percent of its seagrass and mangrove ecosystems by 2025, and 100 percent of seagrass and mangrove ecosystems by 2030; (c) establishing a long-term monitoring program for seagrass and mangrove ecosystems by 2025 and including the greenhouse gas sink of Seychelles’ blue carbon ecosystems within the national greenhouse gas inventory by 2025; and (d) committing to the implementation of its adopted marine spatial plan and the effective management of the 30-percent marine-protected areas within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

Public procurement policies in Seychelles do not currently include environmental and green growth considerations such as resource efficiency, pollution abatement, and climate resilience.

Ruling with transparency and accountability are stated priorities of the current government. In 2016, the government established the Anti-Corruption Commission of Seychelles (ACCS) under the Anti-Corruption Act, which gives it authority to investigate, detect, and prevent corrupt practices. The Transparency Initiative Seychelles (TiS), a Transparency International National Chapter in formation, was set up in 2017. TiS’s focus is currently on increasing transparency in tourism, fisheries, and finance. There is currently no legislation protecting NGOs involved in investigating corruption and no stand-alone legislation for whistleblowing and whistleblower protection.

The Anti-Corruption (Amendment) Bill became law in 2019 giving the ACCS investigative and arresting powers similar to that of the police. Another Anti-Corruption (Amendment) Bill was further introduced in May 2022 to clarify powers of the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate and prosecute offences of money laundering, and to extent to the Commission asset recovery powers following conviction for offences committed prior to the enactment of the 2020 Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act: . The ACCS has received significant criticism for having only achieved one conviction: that of an ACCS employee who was convicted of extortion, corruption, and unlawful disclosure of ACCS information in 2018, when he demanded money in exchange for providing the ACCS’ evidence to an individual under investigation by the ACCS. Per TiS, many complaints brought before the ACCS seem to be dormant or are pending follow up by the Attorney General’s office, with continued public expectations that some cases are soon to find their way to court. In September 2021, the ACCS board was dissolved and replaced by an advisory council. The president gave an ultimatum to the ACCS to take actions to prevent, detect, and investigate acts of corruption. In March 2021, the ACCS signed cooperation agreements with the Seychelles Revenue Authority, the Central Bank of Seychelles, and the Registrar General’s Office to better facilitate the exchange of information and assist the ACCS’ investigations.

In November 2021, a prominent businessman and his wife, a senior military official, and former government officials were arrested for the alleged theft of more than $50 million in foreign aid given to Seychelles by the United Arab Emirates in 2002 to help overcome foreign exchange shortages and import basic goods. The money was never recorded in government accounts. The suspects are facing charges of conspiracy to commit corruption, conspiracy to commit money laundering, concealment of property, and stealing by person in public service.

Chapter 10 of the Penal Code provides criminal penalties for conviction of corruption by officials. In 2003, the government published the Public Service Code of Ethics and Conduct. The Public Officer’s Ethics Act of 2008 prohibits personal enrichment through public office; defines and outlaws bribery; provides guidelines for avoiding conflict of interest; and mandates declaration of financial assets for public officials, including members of the National Assembly. The 2017 Public Persons (Declaration of Assets, Liabilities and Business Interests) Act requires all National Assembly members, councilors, and the mayor to submit a declaration on their assets, debts, and business interests. Asset declarations are not published but may be made public upon request to the ethics commissioner. Laws to combat corruption do not extend to political parties. The 2008 Public Procurement Act, as amended, counters conflict-of-interest in awarding contracts or government procurement.

In March 2021, the cabinet approved amendments to the Public Officers’ Ethics (POE) Act to abolish the POE commission entirely and to shift its responsibility to the ACCS, which has become the umbrella authority overseeing all matters of corruption in the public service. In September 2021, the Public Persons (Declaration of Assets, Liabilities and Business Interests) Amendment Bill was approved by the National Assembly to remove the obligation of a public person to submit declarations of assets for spouses or close family members. This move was criticized as unacceptable by TiS and members of the public. The bill also provides for establishment of a secure electronic system for submission of declarations and related documents. The government does not require private companies to establish internal codes of conduct or charters of good governance.

Seychelles ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in March 2006. Seychelles is not party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

Resources to Report Corruption

Anti-Corruption Commission
May De Silva
Chief Executive Officer
Victoria House
State House Avenue
Victoria, Mahe
+248 4326061

Office of the Ombudsperson
Nicole Tirant-Gherardi
Room 306, Aarti Chambers, Mont Fleuri, Mahe
+248 225147

The current constitution, promulgated in 1993, provides citizens the right to change their government peacefully, and citizens exercise this right in practice through periodic elections based on universal suffrage. Seychelles has not experienced large-scale political violence since the late 1970s. The United Seychelles party, formerly known as Parti Lepep (People’s Party), governed Seychelles following the 1977 coup d’etat and won every election from the introduction of multi-party democracy in 1993 until 2016, when a coalition of opposition parties won the majority of the National Assembly seats. The October 2020 election was the first time since 1976 that voters in Seychelles elected an opposition party candidate as president and there was a peaceful and smooth transfer of power. East Africa Standby Force election observers declared the election to have been peaceful, transparent, and orderly. Seychelles remained politically stable at the time of this report.

The average number of employed persons for all sectors was 54,298 in the fourth quarter of 2022 compared to 50,081 in the last quarter of 2021. This represents an increase of 8.4 percent. The private sector remained the largest employer with 66.2 percent of employed persons, followed by government with 19.0 percent and parastatal with 14.8 percent. Within the private sector, the largest category of employment were accommodation and food services activities (33.4 percent). Females made up the majority of employees in the government sector, (64.5 percent) whereas in the parastatal sector, the majority were males (58.0 percent). Disaggregated data by gender was not available for the private sector.

In the fourth quarter of 2022, average earnings were highest in the government sector (SCR 18,407) and lowest in the private sector (SCR 13,639). In the parastatal sector, average earnings were (SCR 17,857). Employees in the private sector earned the most in the information and communication industry (SCR 27,058) compared to employees in the same industry in the other sectors. Other highly paid employees in the private sector were in the financial and insurance activities (SCR 24,137) and education (SCR20,354). There were 2020 jobseekers registered in 2022, of which 1140 had secondary level qualifications, and 761 had post-secondary level qualifications. 42 percent of jobseekers in 2022 were aged between 15 and 24, and 58 percent were females.

In December 2021, the Employment Department, in collaboration with the Department of Information and Communication Technology, launched the first phase of the Internal Labour Market Information System (LMIS). The LMIS will be used register vacancies, jobseekers, job placements, and applications of redundancy, and will enable the Ministry of Employment, Immigration and Civil Status to better collect and process labor market statistics.

In June 2020, the 1995 Employment Act was amended to attempt to limit the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the labor market. The amendment regulated the deferment of payment, and reduction of wages of a worker pending the termination of the government program for salary support to workers because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The amendment also restricted the temporary lay-off or redundancy of local workers if the employer is employing a foreign national worker in a similar position as the local workers, or if the employer has not started the negotiation to temporarily lay-off the employee.

The 2022 Employment (Amendment) Act was enacted in October 2022 and makes provisions for qualifying employees within the private sector to be paid the thirteenth month pay for the year 2022, provided they have been in employment for a 12-month period, ending December 31, 2022. This law provides that 50 percent of the pay is to be paid automatically, with the other 50 percent is based on an appraisal or performance assessment of the employee. Payment of the 2020 and 2021 thirteenth pay had previously been suspended due to the economic impact of COVID-19, through two legislations (2020 Suspension of Thirteenth Month Pay and End of Year Gratuity Act and the 2021 Employment (Suspension of Thirteenth Month Pay) Act. The introduction of these two laws had triggered actions before the Seychelles Human Rights Commission.

Major challenges that persist in the labor market include difficultly recruiting Citizens for certain jobs and reported low productivity level. Seychelles has long been an importer of foreign labor due to its small population and low human resource base. The share of foreign labor to total employment in the private sector was approximately 40 percent pre-pandemic, with the majority working in the construction and tourism sectors. Foreign labor made up 25 percent of the total workforce in 2022. Since 2014, a quota system has applied to industries for which demand for foreign labor is high. In February 2021, the government restructured the Gainful Occupation Permit (GOP) framework to give local workers greater access to the labor market. The new framework eliminated COVID-19-related concessions that provided foreign nationals with certain rights while the country’s borders were closed. Restrictions on hiring of foreign workers introduced during the pandemic have been lifted and as the economy recovered, many foreign workers have returned. A foreign worker cannot change jobs locally. However, a change in employer is authorized in cases of labor exploitation and/or human trafficking.

In 2022, the governments of Seychelles and Nepal announced discussions on a bilateral labor agreement to ensure protection of the rights of Nepalese workers in Seychelles, further to discussion on a request for the recruitment of 60 Nepalese security personnel for the Seychelles Police Force.

According to statistics provided by the Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs, the informal employment rate was approximately 15 percent of the labor force in 2021. There were more males (80 percent) working in the informal sector than females. The three main sectors for informal employment include construction, wholesale and retail trade, agriculture, forestry, and fishing. There are no national agencies supporting workers in the informal sector. In March 2023, the government announced that it was working with the International Labor Organization to address causes of informal jobs in the country and to develop strategies to help workers in the informal sector transition into formal jobs.

Seychelles has been a member of the International Labor Organization (ILO) since 1977 and has ratified all fundamental International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions. Under the law, all workers, with the exception of police, military, prison, and firefighting personnel, have the right to form and organize unions of their own choosing, to participate in collective bargaining, and to conduct legal strikes. However, in practice, these rights are limited or restricted by other provisions of law. Although collective bargaining is legal, it rarely happens because the law gives the right to the government to review and approve all collective bargaining agreements in both the private and public sector. Strikes are illegal in Seychelles unless all other arbitration procedures have been exhausted. About 15 percent of the workforce is unionized.

In January 2020, the minimum wage increased to SCR 5,804 ($426) per month, with casual workers getting SCR 44.10 ($3.32) per hour as minimum wage. The Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs has been mandated to conduct training and re-skilling programs to enable citizens to seek employment. It operates a program entitled ‘My First Job’ for school leavers seeking employment. A total of 511 youths were placed in employment under this program in 2022. In the event of layoffs where there is no employee misconduct, the employer must provide the worker with one month’s notice or the equivalent of one month’s salary. Additionally, for workers who have been employed for five years or more, the employer must pay one day’s pay for each month that the employee has worked for the employer. For severance calculation, there is no distinction between layoffs and firing with severance.

The Employment Tribunal handles employment disputes for private-sector employees. The Public Service Appeals Board handles employment disputes for public-sector employees, and the Financial Services Authority deals with employment disputes of workers in the Seychelles International Trade Zone. The law authorizes the Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs to establish and enforce employment terms, conditions, and benefits, and workers frequently obtain recourse against their employers through the Employment Tribunal.

The government introduced the Occupational Safety and Health Decree in 2012 and the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons Act in 2014. However, there are very few health or labor inspectors in Seychelles, and they are limited by meager public resources and the vast ocean distances they are expected to cover.

In November 2011, Seychelles and the ILO signed the 2011-2015 Decent Work Country Program, which seeks to address such issues as employment creation, consolidation and protection of workers’ rights, enhancing social protection, and strengthening social dialogue. Compliance with international labor standards has in recent years been sufficient such that business in the country should not pose a reputational risk to investors.

In 2021, the U.S. State Department, in its annual Trafficking in Persons Report, upgraded Seychelles to a Tier 2 ranking, in recognition of its overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period. The conclusion was that while the government of Seychelles does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, it is making significant efforts to do so.

Seychelles and the United States signed an OPIC investment agreement in 2012, the text of which is available on the following link:  . As of October 1, 2019, the issuer for the purposes of the Agreement is the DFC, the successor U.S. agency to OPIC. Due to the small size of the economy, there is limited potential for DFC programs in Seychelles. Nevertheless, Seychelles-based firms and U.S. investors may seek DFC financing or insurance for joint ventures elsewhere in Africa and Asia.

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2021 $1,528 2021 $1,450
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2021 $599 BEA data available at
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2021 N/A BEA data available at
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2021 227.8% UNCTAD data available at

* Source for Host Country Data: National Bureau of Statistics of Seychelles

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward 804 100% Total Outward Amount 100%
Mauritius 309 38% Data not available
Cyprus 154 19%
Russian Federation 108 13%
United Kingdom  42 5%
British Virgin Islands  37 5%

Anjana Khemraz-Chikhuri
Economic & Commercial Specialist
U.S. Embassy to Mauritius and Seychelles, Port Louis
+202 44 00

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