Seychelles. In January, Seychelles President James Michel appealed to foreign lenders to write off half of the country’s foreign debt. According to countryaah, already in the spring of 2008, the people of Seychelles had noticed an economic downturn. This was exacerbated by the international financial crisis in the autumn of 2008, which among other things led to reduced tourism. The crisis continued in 2009. At the beginning of the year, the number of tourists was 15 percent lower than in the same period in 2008. After criticizing the fact that arable land is sold to foreign investors to build hotels and other tourist facilities, the government decided in April to prioritize the availability of food over tourism investments. Only about 7 percent of Seychelles’ area consists of arable land and the country relies on imported food. At the same time, the tourism sector is a source of labor and income. Nearly one-third of the country’s workforce is employed in the tourism sector, which also provides over two-thirds of Seychelles’ foreign currency. Seychelles is one of Africa’s richest countries in terms of GDP per capita, but at the same time one of the world’s most indebted.
In 2009, Seychelles asked the international community for help defending its waters against Somali pirates. At first the pirates operated in the Gulf of Aden at the Horn of Africa, but since international naval forces began to patrol the Gulf of Aden, in the fall of 2009, the pirates moved south and moved to attack ships in the Indian Ocean, near the Seychelles. There, for example, a Spanish trawler, including Seychelles crew, was held by pirates for a month before the ship was released against a multimillionaire. The United States helped monitor the waters of Seychelles with spy aircraft. In October, France pledged to help develop the Seychelles’ legal system to ensure that arrested pirates can be brought to justice.
In November, the World Bank granted a US $ 9 million loan to help the country get back on its feet financially.