Seychelles' drug problem threatens the success of its blue economy
The Seychelles will need to tackle its drug problem head on if it wants to develop a thriving blue economy and pay back debt raised from the first ever blue bond.
Can the Seychelles fulfil its debt obligations in the midst of a heroin epidemic?
According to the Agency for the Prevention of Drug Abuse and Rehabilitation in the Seychelles, between 5,000 and 6,000 people – from a population of around 94,000 – are addicted to heroin. This means that the Seychelles has the highest usage of heroin per capita in the entire world.
Most of those affected (83%) are young men that haven’t been educated beyond secondary school.
The epidemic coincides with efforts to prove that debt instruments tailored to small island nations are essential to their economic success.
In October 2018, the Seychelles raised $15 million from the international capital markets from the first ever blue bond.
This was the country's first foray into the international capital markets since it graduated to a high-income country (HIC) in 2015. As defined by the World Bank, a HIC is a country with a gross national income per capita of $12,376 or more.
In reality, wealth in the Seychelles is concentrated in the hands of the few, and inequality is "significant", according to the World Bank.
While the Seychelles campaigns for different ways of measuring vulnerability, for now it will have to accept its categorization.