Debt Swap Gives Seychelles the Cash to Fight Climate Change
The Seychelles, a picturesque 115-island nation off the coast of East Africa, is known for its pristine beaches and exotic wildlife. But this archipelago in the West Indian Ocean is also the site of a new financial product that aims to reduce debt and climate-change mitigation pressures for the country’s government and its 90,000 citizens.
Ninety-nine percent of the Seychelles’ territory is ocean, so economic growth hinges on marine conservation. But in recent years that reliance has left residents worried as they witness extreme weather, ocean acidification and other effects of climate change. Burdened with public debt that amounts to 65 percent of its $1.4 billion gross domestic product, the country can’t afford to confront these problems alone.
“We are constantly aware of the vulnerabilities our people and economy are exposed to as a direct result of climate change,” Ronald Jumeau, the Seychelles’ ambassador for climate change and small island developing state issues, wrote in a recent op-ed. “And because our resources are so limited, we have to stretch them in unique ways.”