The Republic of Seychelles is an archipelago and country in the Indian Ocean. The 115-island country lies 932 miles east of mainland East Africa. With a population of roughly 92,000, it has the smallest population of any sovereign African country.
Seychelles is a member of the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the United Nations. After proclamation of independence from the United Kingdom in 1976, Seychelles has developed from a largely agricultural society to a market-based diversified economy, with agriculture being supplanted by rapidly rising service and public sectors as well as tourism.
Since 1976, per capita output has increased nearly sevenfold. In recent years, the government has encouraged foreign investment in order to upgrade these sectors. Today, Seychelles boasts the highest nominal per capita GDP in Africa. It is one of only a handful of countries in Africa with high Human Development Index. Despite the country's newfound economic prosperity, poverty remains widespread due to very high level of income inequality, one of the highest in the world, and low wealth distribution.