What Is the Seychelles Rupee (SCR)?

SCR is the abbreviation for the Seychelles rupee, the official currency of the island nation of Seychelles. Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 landmasses in the Indian Ocean off the East Africa coastline. One rupee can be subdivided into 100 cents. The Central Bank of Seychelles controls and manages the rupee through its monetary policy.

In native Creole Seychellois (Seselwa) dialect, it is known the roupi. As of September 2020, 1 SCR is worth approximately U.S. $0.055.

Key Takeaways

  • The Seychelles rupee (SCR) is the national currency of the archipelago nation of Seychelles.
  • While the country did not gain independence from Great Britain until 1976, it began circulating the rupee as early as 1914 when it replaced the British pound.
  • The SCR was previously pegged to a basket of international currencies, but now floats freely since 2008.

Understanding the Seychelles Rupee

Seychelles established rupees as the national currency in 1914 while it was still a British colony. The country also accepted currency from its neighbor, the Mauritian rupee. The British Board of Commissioners of Currency continued to issue banknotes in 1918, 1928, and 1951.

Seychelles gained independence in 1976, and the Seychelles Monetary Authority assumed the responsibilities of issuing money. By 1979, the Central Bank of Seychelles took full responsibility for monetary policy and the circulation of currency. Newer, more secure series of notes came in 1989, 1998, and 2011 with the 2011 issue using a holograph. The most recent series of Seychelles rupees were issued in 2016 as the nation celebrated 40 years of independence. 

Until 2008, the value of the Seychelles Rupee was pegged to a basket made up of 59% euros (EUR), 31% British pounds (GBP), and 10% US dollars (USD). The Rupee was freely floated on November 2, 2008, and lost 43% of its value in the first day of forex trading.

At first, the country only issued banknotes in denominations of 50 cents and then 1, 5, and 10 rupees. Coins came into use in 1939. The SCR coins come in values of 1, 5, 10, and 25 cents, and then 1, 5, and 10 rupees. Paper currency now includes denominations of 25, 50, 100, and 500 rupees. The colorful currency features wildlife that calls the islands or the surrounding ocean home. The 50-rupee note shows a tuna, an aquatic bird, and tropical fish. The 100-rupee note depicts a tortoise, seagulls, and some more fish.

Seychelles Economy

Seychelles is now part of the African Union and the United Nations (UN). The island nation consists of numerous islands, some of which are inhabitable, and covers a land area about 2.5 times the size of Washington, D.C. Around 90% of the nation's 92,000 inhabitants live on Mahe, the largest island in the chain. Major economic activities include tourism, fishing, coconut harvesting, and growing vanilla beans. Agricultural products include sweet potatoes, bananas, and cassava. Most of the islands are made of granite and are unsuitable for farming. The nation sets aside 42% of its land mass for conservation.

The services sector, including tourism, produces 82.4% of the nation's annual GDP which brings in about $2.5 billion in economic activity. Tourism employs around 30% of the islands' 40,000 laborers. The country has a large disparity in income and poverty is widespread. According to World Bank data, Seychelles experienced a 1.8% annual inflation rate and has a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 3.9%, as of 2019, which is the most current year of available data. Most of the growth in GDP is due to the nation's robust tourism industry. The government believes Somali pirates cost the country more than $12 million per year in lost revenue. 

Between 1979 and 1993, the island nation was a one-party socialist state. The country tightly regulated its money supply in worldwide markets from 1976 to 2008 before openly trading its currency on foreign exchange markets. The Seychelles rupee (SCR) lost 43% of its value when it first hit the open market on Nov. 2, 2008. Also in that year, Seychelles defaulted on $230 million in loans after the country depleted its foreign exchange reserves, which led to an economic crisis and several reforms. Five years later, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated Seychelles had transitioned to a market-based economy. Foreign investment helped refurbish hotels in Seychelles, and the economy expanded farming, fishing, and small-scale manufacturing as a way to diversify the country's gross domestic product.