|St Vincent Grenadines Economy|
The country of St Vincent & Grenadines is situated in the Lesser Antilles area of the Caribbean. The country is made up of the main island of St Vincent and the northern two-thirds of the chain of the Grenadine islands, and lies between Grenada (to the south-east) and St Lucia (to the north). The country is quite small, only covering an area of around 150 square miles and has a population of approximately 120,000 people. Like the majority of Caribbean islands, St Vincent & Grenadines uses the East Caribbean Dollar as its currency which is tied to a fixed rate against the US Dollar.
Agricultural Growth in Early St Vincent & Grenadines
Surprisingly, unlike many of the other Caribbean islands, St Vincent & Grenadines managed to hold out against Western settlement until the 18th century (most other Caribbean islands were claimed by the likes of the Dutch, Spanish and French in the 17th century). The French finally took control of the islands in 1719 and so began a history of sugar cane, tobacco, coffee, cotton and indigo production.
The islands fell under control of the British in 1783 and the sugar cane industry became stagnant at the turn of the 19th century. To add to the woes of the St Vincent & Grenadines economy, the islands suffered significant natural disasters in the early part of the 20th century and as recently as 1999. This has had an impact on the agricultural industry through the ages.
In terms of agriculture, it is now banana production that is the mainstay of the St Vincent & Grenadines economy. Banana production became prominent during the 1950s and accounts for around 50% of the country's exports. Indeed, as much as 26% of the St Vincent & Grenadines workforce (which totals approximately 67,000) works in the area of banana cultivation and export. With bananas dominating the agricultural sector and contributing as much as 10% to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the country, the islands will need to look to diversify as preference for the country to supply exports of this product to European Union countries is being phased out.
Go Yachting in St Vincent & Grenadines
The service industry, of which the tourism sector is a part, is a large contributor to the St Vincent & Grenadines economy. Like agriculture, it employs a lot of the available workforce in the country and the services sector accounts for the largest portion of the country's GDP at 64%. St Vincent & Grenadines sees around 300,000 visitors reaching its shores each year and caters for the luxury end of the market, as well as day trippers on passing cruise liners. A substantial niche of the tourism sector is the yachting industry which attracts a lot of up-market travellers, in particular those who want to see the splendour of the Grenadine islands.
The St Vincent & Grenadines economy is certainly stable for the foreseeable future but it does have one large issue that is affecting it dramatically. That issue is its unemployment rate which is at approximately 15% and the government are taking initiatives to address this issue, for example the construction of a new international airport on St Vincent which is due to be completed in 2011.