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The Effect of COVID-19 on Poverty in Seychelles

Effect of COVID-19 on Poverty in Seychelles
The COVID-19 pandemic had a tremendous effect on all of the world’s countries. However, the impact has not been the same on any two countries, especially when considering the state of poverty in some of the world’s more impoverished nations. Seychelles, an archipelago country located off of East Africa, has been through many ups and downs since the touchdown of the pandemic. In order to plan anti-poverty measures going forward, it is helpful to analyze the effect of COVID-19 on poverty in Seychelles.

Pre-Pandemic Progress

Seychelles has made much progress in reducing its poverty rates over the past few decades. It has the highest GDP per capita of any African country, even exceeding averages from other more prosperous countries on the continent such as Equatorial Guinea and South Africa. This is due to its robust tourism economy, which has been steadily reducing many of the Seychellois’ reliance on subsistence farming.

Though still having a sizable impoverished population, as many countries in Africa do, Seychelles has for the most part seen strong gains in the fight against poverty. For example, the total population of impoverished Seychellois shrunk by 13.5% between 2017 and 2018.

The Effects of COVID-19

The effects of COVID-19 have been widespread in Seychelles, both on the citizen’s health and on their economy. Though different numbers are out there, in 2018, the government of Seychelles itself reported a 25% poverty rate in the country. Due to COVID-19’s crippling effect on the tourism industry, the country’s economy changed during the first couple of years of the pandemic, which in turn has stymied opportunities for the country’s most impoverished residents to climb out of poverty. Thankfully, Seychelles’ economy has seen a strong rebound, thanks in large part due to the country’s tourism sector flourishing once again as the world has opened back up.

Progress Moving Forward

Though much remains in the effort to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 on poverty in Seychelles, the outlook is currently hopeful. In addition to Seychelles’ strong economic rebound, as the pandemic wanes, outside aid continues to play a vital role in offsetting COVID-19’s deleterious effects on the country. For example, in 2020 the World Bank pledged $15 million in aid to Seychelles to help mitigate COVID-19’s effects, with the loan intended to specifically help “protect the most vulnerable” citizens of Seychelles. Other nonprofits, such as Global Vision International and Nature Seychelles, work to help the people of Seychelles, especially those in poverty.

Today, while poverty is still a strong issue in Seychelles, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, the progress seen in reducing the impoverished population and providing economic opportunities has been heartening. Though the effect of COVID-19 on poverty in Seychelles has been strong, there have been many victories in the fight to reduce this effect.

– Elijah Beglyakov
Photo: Flickr