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Seychelles, officially the Republic of Seychelles, is an island country spanning an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, some 1,500 kilometres (932 mi) east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar.
Other nearby island countries and territories include Zanzibar to the west, Mauritius, Rodrigues, Agalega and Réunion to the south, Comoros and Mayotte to the southwest. Seychelles, with an estimated population of 86,525, has the smallest population of any African state. It also has the highest Human Development Index in Africa.
An island nation, Seychelles is located to the northeast of Madagascar and about 1,600 km (994 mi) east of Kenya. The number of islands in the archipelago is often given as 115 but the Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles lists 155. The islands as per the Constitution are divided into various groups as follows.
During the plantation era, cinnamon, vanilla, and copra were the chief exports. In the 1960s, about 33% of the working population worked at plantations, and 20% worked in the public or government sector. In 1971, with the opening of Seychelles International Airport, tourism became a serious industry, basically dividing the economy into plantations and tourism. The tourism sector paid better, and the plantation economy could only expand so far. The plantation sector of the economy declined in prominence, and tourism became the primary industry of Seychelles.
Since independence in 1976, per capita output has expanded to roughly seven times the old near-subsistence level. Growth has been led by the tourist sector, which employs about 30% of the labour force, compared to agriculture which today employs about 3% of the labour force. Despite the growth of tourism, farming and fishing continue to employ some people, as do industries that process coconuts and vanilla. The prime agricultural products currently produced in the Seychelles include sweet potatoes, vanilla, coconuts, and cinnamon. These products provide much of the economic support of the locals. Frozen and canned fish, copra, cinnamon, and vanilla are the main export commodities of the islands.
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