Friday, 10 April 2009

Last of the Politics this week - Seychelles

For those in the know, I love Seychelles partly, as that is where the other half of my existence originated. Unlike Sri Lanka, it is a peaceful place, with only one coup d'etat since independence - not bad for an African state.

But anyway, it is still very 'mickey mouse' in many senses of the phrase. The Seychelles has the dubious distinction of being the most highly indebted country in the world. Yep, forget about the UK's debt level or even Iceland, if you want to see debt, then head to Seychelles.

Now, as long as the debts can be repaid back, it is not a problem. However, there has to be something that the island can produce in order to repay the debts. However, us Kreols do not really have much to give to the world, except a lot of Sun, Sand and Sea. Great when there is money floating about, but now there is a recession...

This picture is not so much postcard but a nightmare. The Seychelles by land size is absolutely tiny, the biggest is only 13x8 miles. That is it. There are over a hundred islands, but spread over a vast distance, it is impossible to utilise except for pirates. In other words, the sea is our desert, it is both alluring but at the same time isolating. No problems if we were part of a larger entity, but our small sizemakes it difficult as an independent nation.

Right now, the government's biggest problem is food. As we have not paid our loans back, it makes it difficult for the country's suppliers to buy food, as our local currency is worthless. Prices for importing are high, plus the added fact that Zimbabwe has effectively stopped producing food has meant that food prices in and around East Africa have shot up.

What is happening in Seychelles right now is also in a microcosm what could happen to the UK in a year or so if we do not pay back our debts. While the Seychelles currently has no starvation, life is difficult and somehow, someday, it has to pay back the debts that it owes. In 2007, the Seychelles had over a billion dollars in debt. Not much by western standards, but for an African nation with only 85,000 people, that is a hell of a lot of cash, or roughly, every man, woman and child on the Seychelles owes US$12,000.


It has been a political week on this blog. I promise something more lightweight next week.


Asad said...

That is a very, very interesting parallel and worthy of an extended piece. In a couple of years' time, some 'guru' will make the same comparison and be feted for his 'foresight'...

magiceye said...

it is scary