UN looks forward to Seychelles’s 1st HDI in Africa rise even higher

Posted in International Organisations at 10:23 am by Robert Klien

On the Human Development Index (HDI), Seychelles is the 1st country in Africa.

Claudio Caldarone, who is Seychelles’ new United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative for Seychelles and Mauritius, has recently expressed his pleasure to see Seychelles progressing even further.

Mr. Caldarone replaces Aase Smedler, who was the UN representative in Seychelles from August 2004 to August 2006.

Last week Caldarone told that he had discussed past, ongoing and future cooperation between Seychelles and the UN with the President and the Vice-President. He also said that the UNDP and the UN systems have strengthened their support to Seychelles. Many essential aspects of cooperation have already been indicated – environment conservation through the Global Environment Facility is among them. Just some of the areas of UN-Seychelles collaboration during his 3-4-year term will be capacity building and addressing climate change.

Caldarone suggested that Seychelles’ current position, which is the 51st among 176 nations, can not only be maintained, but also improved.


New Korean Ambassador accredited to Seychelles

Posted in Double Taxation Agreements, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 4:10 pm by Robert Klien

Mr Yum is the 7th ambassador of the Republic of Korea to be accredited to the Seychelles, who replaced Mr Lee Suk-jo having served as ambassador since November 2002. The Republic of Korea and Seychelles established formal diplomatic relations in June 1976.

While talking to the press after his accreditation visit, Mr Yum indicated the excellent state of the bilateral understanding between the Republic of Korea and Seychelles. As to economic ties between the Republic of Korea and Seychelles, Ambassador Yum suggested that both countries will aim at strengthening cooperation in the tourism industry and the processing industry in the nearest future.

During his tenure, the Ambassador is going to observe the expansion of ways for the Republic of Korea and Seychelles to initiate various exchanges, including that in the cultural sphere.

Ambassador Mr Yum has already paid a visit to Vice-President Joseph Belmont and is going to meet with government ministers and other representatives of the authorities before he leaves for Nairobi in Kenya, where he will be based. It is worth mentioning that this is the newly-formed government after July 28-30 Presidential Elections.

The Republic of Korea is not among the countries which have signed Double Taxation Treaties with the Seychelles, so this is just one more possible breeding ground for the mutually beneficial co-operation between the two countries.


Privatisation of Nouvobanq

Posted in Seychelles banking at 7:18 pm by Robert Klien

The Ministry of Finance has announced that the privatisation of Nouvobanq, located on the ground floor of Victoria House bank, is under discussion.

Nouvobanq is the trade name of Seychelles International Mercantile Banking Corporation (SIMBC). Nouvobanq was established in 1991 as the only locally incorporated commercial bank in the Seychelles. In 1999, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) provided a loan of USD 10 million to the bank to strengthen its balance sheet and make it more attractive to private investors.

What the privatisation of Nouvobanq will give people – it will allow the public to own shares in the new banking entity.

In June, President James Michel promised that Nouvobanq would be privatised and that 30% of government shares in the Nouvobanq would be sold to the general public. This was done after this year’s government’s success in turning State Assurance Corporation of Seychelles (Sacos) into a company owned by more than 9 000 shareholders. This was just the 1st step that now will be used as a successful model for the privatisation of Nouvobanq as well as other privatisations. The President expressed the government’s wish to turn the Seychelles into a nation of entrepreneurs, shareholders and investors. In accordance with the expectations of the Ministry of Finance, the privatisation of Nouvobanq will become one more popular public ownership exercise.

The details regarding the terms of privatisation of Nouvobanq and the date of the beginning of share sale will be announced later.

According to the President Michel, the next step of privatisation policy could be the Seychelles Savings Bank.


Seychelles Rejoining SADC, Lesotho summit results

Posted in International Organisations at 12:12 pm by Robert Klien

On August 16 a senior government official said that the Seychelles intends to rejoin the Southern African Development Community and that the regional trade bloc had cancelled USD 2.5 million in fees it still owes.

As discussed earlier in Seychelles joining and quitting SADC, the Seychelles quit SADC in 2003 as it was expensive for such a small country to pay the USD 550 000 membership fees. No return on Seychelles investment of money, time and effort was seen by the country authorities, particularly because of shortages of foreign exchange.

But then the Seychelles has announced its intention to rejoin SADC because of Foreign Affairs playing a key role in defending and promoting Seychelles’ interests in a globalised world. The Seychelles was going to rejoin SADC in 2006, so leaders of the bloc have discussed its request in Lesotho this summer.

The summit has welcomed the country to rejoin the economic group. Also, the organisation has agreed to clear its arrears of about USD 2.6 million, worth of subscriptions. Although the money was a big loss to SADC, its member states wanted to readmit the Seychelles into SADC.

However, the contributions of 2% towards SADC amounting to USD 280 000 per year would still stand. The member states understood that the Seychelles had serious problems, and the SADC Secretariat was mandated to work on how the country can pay back the arrears. Although instead of the prescribed subscription the Seychelles could afford some of the sum annually, this had not been accepted.


Central Bank of Seychelles: Background

Posted in Seychelles banking, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 4:02 pm by Robert Klien

Seychelles has one of the strongest economies in Africa, but during the last years it has experienced some kind of economic stagnation. For this reason, Seychelles Government favoured economic liberalisation part of which is the independency of the Central Bank. In 2004 the Central Bank of Seychelles became an independent institution, by the approval of the parliament of Seychelles.

Autonomy was given to the CBS following an advice by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which in July 2002 had found some weakness in the Bank’s supervision system and regulations of the government’s financial sector. Also, now it is more than usual way of organizing a government financing bank in many countries, therefore, the Central Bank of Seychelles was regulated to comply with modern international standards. Main advantages of Bank’s autonomy were better realisation of its corporate objectives, ensuring accountability and transparency of monetary system supervision, possibility to introduce adequate measures to control inflation and ensure price stability.

The independence of the Bank is guaranteed by the change in the composition of the Board of Directors which is responsible for administering of the Central Bank, as well as separation between the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank of Seychelles. The CBS Board of Directors is comprised of six members – a Governor and Deputy Governor and four other members appointed by Seychelles President James Michel. The President is consulted by the Bank’s Board of Directors but he does not dictate to them.


Central Bank of Seychelles

Posted in Seychelles banking at 8:32 am by Robert Klien

The Central Bank of Seychelles defines monetary policy of Seychelles and influences all spheres of countrie’s economy. Such financial regulating authority became necessary with the growth of Seychelles economy, evidenced by large foreign exchange earnings and rapid development of the banking system.

The objectives of the CBS include regulating of the issue, supply and availability of money, international exchange, promoting internal and external monetary stability, price stability and the maintenance of both domestic and external value of the Seychelles currency. The bank is also providing financial conditions needed for the orderly and balanced economic development of Seychelles, to much extent by advising the Seychelles Government on banking, monetary and financial matters.

The Central Bank of Seychelles was formed from the institution of the Seychelles Monetary Authority, which had been the bank of issue since 1978 and until that date. Gradually the Seychelles Monetary Authority started to function very much like the central bank, and its conversion into the Central Bank of Seychelles was very logical. By 1982 the Monetary Authority had taken full responsibility for everyday operations of the main central government accounts. The establishment of Central Bank of Seychelles was provided by the Central Bank of Seychelles Act, which was enacted on December 29, 1982 and came into effect on January 1, 1983.

Beside the Central Bank, there are two more government banks in Seychelles, and five major commercial banks.