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Seychelles’ thriving artificial intelligence ecosystem

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Seychelles’ thriving artificial intelligence ecosystem

The island nation of Seychelles aims to position itself as a hub for innovation and technology, particularly in the field of artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence ecosystem landscape

The government, a key player in this perspective, has been laying the groundwork for this vision since 2018 with the launch of the Seychelles Innovation HUB. This state-of-the-art infrastructure serves as an incubation ground for start-ups and entrepreneurs, facilitating the development of their ideas and bringing them to market. As the epicenter of the AI ecosystem, the Seychelles Innovation HUB attracts startups and innovators from around the world. It offers a range of services, material, and human resources as well as financial support to perfect projects. It is also an opportunity for entrepreneurs to network and benefit from the expertise of industry leaders.

The AI ecosystem in Seychelles is developing at a steady pace, characterized by the dynamic emergence of startups, innovators, and investors. Although still in its infancy, this fast-growing sector is attracting a significant influx of international investment and stimulating the creation of local startups. A concrete example of this trend in 2019 is the establishment of an innovation center in Seychelles by global consulting firm Accenture, an initiative with a particular focus on AI and other emerging technologies.

Despite this promising growth, the sector faces significant challenges, the most notable of which is the shortage of skilled AI professionals in the country. This challenge highlights the need to invest in local skills development to sustain the AI momentum in Seychelles.

Overview of the Seychelles startup ecosystem

The emergence of AI is inextricably linked to technological advancement and digital inclusion. Despite its small size, Seychelles has achieved remarkable and noteworthy achievements in mobile technology. The steady decline in smartphone prices, which is behind the boom in mobile technology in Seychelles, is stimulating a significant increase in mobile internet usage.

In addition, the increase in connectivity is one of the main factors supporting the AI and technology ecosystem. In terms of the startup ecosystem in Seychelles, there are currently seven technology companies, including CoinFlex, Prime XBT, and LetsExchange. The Seychelles startup scene is particularly well represented in fintech, with two unicorns with valuations over 1 billion USD each.

Generative Artificial Intelligence: the players in Seychelles

The generative AI ecosystem is gradually taking root in Seychelles, joining the global trend. Key players include local companies working with international partners to develop generative AI solutions.

Travizory, a Seychellois technology pioneer

Travizory, a Seychelles-based technology company, occupies a pivotal position in this remarkable development. Combining cutting-edge technology with local knowledge, it is working on generative AI projects aimed at protecting data and improving internet access. The revolutionary digital tools developed by Travizory are fully compliant with ICAO/UN Security Council and RGPD standards. To date, these tools have benefited over 4 million passengers and facilitated the verification of nearly 15 million documents.

International companies such as Amazon and Mistral AI are showing interest in the Seychelles AI market. Most notably, Starlink, a satellite internet constellation operated by SpaceX, is keen to get involved in the archipelago. This ambitious project aims to provide internet coverage to remote and underserved areas, thereby promoting technological advancement and the digitalization of the country.

Government efforts to prepare for 2020 AI

The Seychelles government is actively involved in promoting AI, particularly through the implementation of an appropriate regulatory framework. The nation of Seychelles stands out as the third best-prepared African country in terms of information and communication technologies (ICT), ranking 68ᵉ in the Government 2020 Global AI Readiness Index.

Interestingly, the government’s 2020 Global AI Readiness Index provides a snapshot of government readiness for the AI era. In particular, it analyses the readiness of governments in 172 countries to integrate AI into their operations and public service delivery. The index is based on several criteria, including

  • Availability of open government data
  • The level of AI skills and education
  • The adaptation of regulatory frameworks for data protection.

Implications of artificial intelligence

AI is gaining momentum in the Seychelles, with a ten-year commitment from Swiss startup Tsavizory Border Security. In addition, the Seychelles Minister of Transport has announced plans to digitize services at Port Victoria as early as October to mark the 50th anniversary of the port.

Port of Victoria: an example of digitization thanks to AI

Port Victoria, Seychelles’ main trade infrastructure with the rest of the world, handles around 95 % of the country’s imports. Its digitization project is part of the Seychelles government’s drive to optimize the administrative and financial efficiency of public services. Once operational, this initiative will enable Seychelles to comply with the FAL Convention, an International Maritime Organization (IMO) convention to facilitate international maritime traffic, by 2024.

The digital transformation of the Port of Victoria encompasses several aspects, including:

  • Implementing a new AI-based customs system.
  • Using AI to optimize port logistics and cargo flows.
  • Using AI to protect the environment and preserve species.

According to the deputy director of the « Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA) », this application represents an investment of 400,000 EUR. The project is the result of a collaboration between the SPA, InfoPort, and 4SH, two companies based in the French department of Réunion. The French Development Agency (AFD), the European Investment Bank, and the European Union, through its Africa RISE initiative, have also contributed.

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