International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
The Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) sets a high benchmark for transparency, given the economic, and financial development and literacy circumstances of Seychelles, which is recognized by the stakeholders, thus maintaining a high level of trust and accountability. Despite constrained human capital resources, the CBS has taken commendable actions to facilitate an open and dynamic dialogue with key stakeholders. The CBS took the lead in communications on extraordinary support programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, regularly engaging with the public using plain language and various communication tools. It is also making great efforts to promote financial inclusion in Seychelles by developing and implementing a broad agenda on financial education and enhancing consumer protection in the financial sector.
Seychelles’ economic recovery in 2021 vastly outperformed projections, fueled by a faster-than-expected rebound of the tourism sector. The recovery is expected to continue in 2022 with projected real GDP growth of 7.1 percent as the tourism sector shows resilience to COVID-19 waves and geopolitical tensions. The recovery has been accompanied by a significant fiscal overperformance.
A remote external sector statistics (ESS) technical assistance (TA) was provided to the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) during October 4–13, 2021. The main objectives of the mission were to (i) assist the authorities in improving the quality of ESS by focusing on actions undertaken by the CBS for collecting data from corporate service providers (CSPs) and their inclusion in the balance of payments and international investment position (IIP) statistics; (ii) assess the data reported by the CSPs and their fit into the ESS framework; (iii) prepare the basis for Seychelles’ participation in the IMF’s survey “Resident Special Purpose Entities: Cross Border Flows and Positions) (IMF’s SPEs Survey); and (iv) review and assess the adequacy of estimated travel services.
The expected macroeconomic recovery has materialized. Seychelles remains a leader in vaccine coverage at home, and the widespread availability of vaccines in Seychelles’ key tourist markets, particularly Europe, is contributing to a strong rebound in tourism. The economic outlook, while positive, remains subject to the uncertain evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic globally.
Seychelles was hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. The authorities reacted swiftly, by locking down the economy, thereby keeping infection and fatality rates low. However, the travel restrictions and global economic downturn triggered unprecedented economic contraction. The authorities responded with measures to mitigate the economic fallout on businesses and households. But the public debt ratio increased sharply, reflecting the primary balance deterioration, exchange rate depreciation, and GDP contraction. As soon as vaccines became available, Seychelles led the world in vaccination coverage and reopened its borders. With tourist arrivals bouncing back, a V-shaped recovery is now expected.
COVID-19 has had a severe economic impact on Seychelles through the implementation of strict domestic measures to contain the spread of the virus and the related global spillovers. The authorities have responded with measures to mitigate the economic fallout on businesses and households. To help address the urgent balance of payments need arising from the pandemic, the Executive Board approved on May 8, 2020 the authorities’ request for emergency financing under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) of SDR 22.9 million, equivalent to 100 percent of quota (IMF Country Report No. 20/170).