Seychelles is a republic, consisting of an archipelago of some 115 islands, scattered across the western Indian Ocean northeast of the island of Madagascar, a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. There is an estimated population of 85,000 and a land area of 454 square kilometers. The official languages are English, French and Creole (a patois based on French). The primary industries are tourism, agriculture, and fishing. The rapidly expanding financial sector, linked to the establishment of the Seychelles International Business Authority and a suite of progressive laws facilitating the establishment of offshore structures and encouraging inward investment, is now a significant element of the economy.