Located close to the southern end of the Grenadines, in the Caribbean Sea, is the island country of Grenada. The country consists of the island of Grenada itself and six smaller islands. It sits to the northwest of Trinidad & Tobago, covers 133 square miles and has a population of around 110,000 people. Like many of the Caribbean countries and territories, Grenada uses the East Caribbean Dollar as its currency which is pegged to the US Dollar. The Grenada economy has faced some problems in the early part of the 21st century but has made steady progress in recovering.
Early History of Grenada Economy
As with many Caribbean locations, the real birth of the Grenada economy began back in the 17th century with the arrival of the French. They transformed the island by installing sugar plantations which were a great source of income and made the inhabitants very wealthy. Once sugar cane demand began to dwindle, Grenada turned its attention to other agricultural products such as bananas, cocoa and nutmeg.
Agriculture has been a prominent feature of the Grenada economy and although there is no longer the sugar cane production as in the days of old, Grenada is the biggest exporter of nutmeg and mace in the world. Indeed, Grenada is known as the "Island of Spice" as it also exports cinnamon and cloves. In recent years the production of organic cocoa on the island has attracted interest from the local business the Grenada Chocolate Company, which exports its products to countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States of America and even certain other EU countries.
Tourism Remains Popular in Grenada
In recent years the biggest contributor to the Grenada economy is the tourism industry, which has overtaken the agricultural industry, which was the top sector previously. Over the last 20 years or so the island had built up a flourishing tourism trade but this was almost destroyed by the violent Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Just as the country was beginning to make an initial recovery, it then suffered moderate damage at the hands of Hurricane Emily a year later.
Thankfully the island managed to recover quite quickly from these devastating events and the tourism trade is beginning to expand for further future economic stability. The hurricane actually produced an opportunity for the construction industry to build, as many business premises had to be re-built, which allowed for this industry to contribute a little to the economy at that time and to the present day.
Growth of Education Industry
Another sector that has contributed a lot to the Grenada economy is the education industry. Grenada is home to a prominent, large American medical and veterinary school, St. George's University. The university is fully operational, attracting over 3,500 students, both graduate and undergraduate types, to its shores every year.
After a very turbulent time over the last decade, the Grenada economy has settled down and is growing at an annual rate of around 5%. It is fair to say that the primary industries that are to be found on the island of Grenada are going from strength to strength and will continue to contribute to the economic growth of the island for several years to come.