France and Seychelles

Political relations

Bilateral relations between France and the Seychelles are excellent. When pirate attacks started to hit the Seychelles in early 2009, France’s rapid, effective response, in which the French Army Forces in the Southern Indian Ocean Zone (FAZSOI) assisted the Seychelles coastguard and France provided a technical adviser, was highly appreciated. The French navy has made no less than 45 stopovers in Victoria in the last five years, reflecting the excellence of bilateral military relations. These relations are fuelled by the proximity of Réunion and our strong shared commitment to the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC).

Visits

President James Michel has made two official visits to Réunion (December 2006 and July 2013), and one to Paris in December 2014.

Economic relations

France is a major economic player in the Seychelles as it is:

  • its largest customer (38% of Seychelles exports in 2015, ahead of the United Kingdom);
  • the second-largest supplier (8% of Seychelles’ imports in 2015, after the United Arab Emirates).

In 2016, cumulative trade between France and the Seychelles was €167 million, compared to €133 million in 2015. In 2016, French exports to the Seychelles were €62 million (€48 million in 2015). French imports from the Seychelles were €105 million in 2016 (€85 million in 2015), representing a French deficit of €43 million.

French interests do, however, remain limited given the size of the market. France remains the Seychelles’ second-largest foreign investor behind the United States (major hotel chains). France’s presence is focused on a few sectors: fishing vessels (SAPMER), catering for airlines (Servair), international removals (AGS), water treatment (Eiffage/Hydrotech, €4.4 million contract). Individually, some French operators are active in tourism (hotels, restaurants, renting sailing boats, diving clubs) and other service activities (e.g. consultancy, property, multimedia).

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

In May 2016, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Seychelles’ Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the French National Navy Museum, providing the Seychelles’ government with its expertise (training in particular) for creating a national navy museum in the Seychelles. Meanwhile the Seychelles will provide the French National Navy Museums with its expertise in repairing and renovating maritime models.

Other cooperation

A cooperation framework agreement was signed with Réunion in 2003 (tacitly renewed since then). It was implemented via action plans , the most recent of which was signed in July 2013. It covers areas as varied as education, the environment, tourism, health, the press, television and energy, with an annual budget of between €300,000 and €400,000. About 23 chargés de mission and experts are working in various Ministries and administrations in the Seychelles, as well as the Alliance française in Victoria and in primary and secondary schools for teaching French.

Updated: 29 May 2017

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