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France and Seychelles

Political relations

Bilateral relations between France and Seychelles are excellent. When pirate attacks on Seychelles started in early 2009, France’s rapid, effective response, involving the assistance of the French Army Forces in the Southern Indian Ocean Zone (FAZSOI) to the Seychelles Coast Guard and the provision of a technical adviser, was highly appreciated. On average, the French Navy calls at Victoria eight times per year, reflecting the excellence of bilateral military relations. These relations can be fostered thanks to the proximity of La Réunion and our strong shared commitment to the Indian Ocean Commission. There are no sovereign territorial disputes between France and Seychelles and the only contentious issue relates to the decision by the Ministry for the Economy and Finance on 6 January 2020 to add Seychelles to the list of Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories (NCCT) with regard to tax issues, commonly known as the list of tax havens, due to its failure to exchange information. The subsequent inclusion of Seychelles on the EU and OECD lists for the same reasons demonstrated that this is a structural problem.

French presence

Consulate: Consular chancery of Port Louis (Mauritius)
French community in Seychelles: As of 31 December 2019, there were 434 French people on the register, 50% of whom are binationals.
Seychelles community in France: About 300 people

Visits

On 11 November 2018, the President of the Republic of Seychelles, Danny Faure, attended the centenary commemorations of the First World War and the Paris Peace Forum. The most recent visit by a French President to Seychelles, however, was Mitterrand in 1990.

Ambassadors

French Ambassador in Seychelles: Dominique Mas
Seychelles Ambassador in France: Sylvestre Radegonde

Economic relations

GDP (in 2018): $1.59 billion (World Bank).
GDP per capita (in 2018): $16,434 (World Bank)
Growth: 3.5% in 2019 (World Bank)
Unemployment (as defined by the ILO) in 2015: 2.7%
Inflation: 3.4% in 2018 (World Bank)
Current account surpluses (% of GDP) in 2018: -17% (World Bank)

Share of the main GDP areas of activity in 2018:

  • agriculture: 2%
  • manufacturing: 11%
  • services: 87%

Exports from France to Seychelles (2019): €57 million (including 46% regarding fish-based preparations and tinned goods).
Imports from Seychelles to France (2019): €102 million (including 90% regarding fish-based preparations and tinned goods).

France is a major economic actor in Seychelles, and was the country’s third largest customer and second-largest supplier in 2018.

In 2019, trade between France and Seychelles totalled €159 million, compared to €178 million in 2018. French exports to Seychelles in 2019 totalled €57 million (€61 million in 2018). French imports from Seychelles stood at €102 million in 2019 (€117 million in 2018), accounting for a French trade deficit of €46 million for 2019. French imports from Seychelles are made up almost entirely of tinned tuna (€90 million).

French interests do, however, remain limited given the size of the market. In terms of stock, France was the second-largest foreign investor in Seychelles in 2018, behind Mauritius. The French presence is concentrated in a few sectors such as fishing fleets (SAPMER), catering for airlines (SERVAIR), international removals (AGS), and water treatment (Eiffage/Hydrotech). A few French operators are present on an individual basis in tourism (hospitality, catering, boat rental, diving clubs, etc.) and in other service activities (consultancy, real estate, multimedia, etc.).

In 2017, trade between La Réunion and Seychelles stood at €1.2 million, with €533,000 in exports from La Réunion to Seychelles and €735,000 in imports from Seychelles to La Réunion.

The luxury tourism, infrastructure and renewable energy sectors are investment prospects for France in Seychelles.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

In May 2016, an agreement was signed between the Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the French Musée National de la Marine (National Naval Museum) which will provide the Seychelles government with its expertise (e.g. training) for the creation of a Seychelles naval museum. For its part, Seychelles will support the national museums of the French Navy by providing its expertise in the repair and renovation of marine models. Fruitful cooperation is also being prepared with the Paris Natural History Museum.

The new University of Seychelles (founded in 2011) has partnerships with the Universities of Bordeaux, Paris and La Réunion, with an agreement set to be signed soon with the latter to train specialized doctors.

Other cooperation

In 2003, a framework cooperation agreement was signed between Seychelles and La Réunion (since renewed tacitly). It is being implemented through action plans, the last of which was signed in July 2013. It covers areas as varied as education, the environment, tourism, health, French-language teaching and energy, with an annual budget of between €300,000 and €400,000. Eight International Solidarity Volunteers (VSI) from La Réunion have been posted to various Seychelles ministries and administrations, as well as to the Alliance Française branch in Victoria, via funding from the European Union’s Interreg instrument.

Updated: March 2020