Tourism continues to dominate Antigua and Barbuda‘s economy, accounting for nearly 60% of GDP and 40% of investment. The dual-island nation’s agricultural production is focused on the domestic market and constrained by a limited water supply and a labor shortage stemming from the lure of higher wages in tourism and construction. Manufacturing comprises enclave-type assembly for export with major products being bedding, handicrafts, and electronic components. Prospects for economic growth in the medium term will continue to depend on tourist arrivals from the U.S., Canada, and Europe and potential damages from natural disasters.

After taking office in 2004, the Spencer government adopted an ambitious fiscal reform program and was successful in reducing its public debt-to-GDP ratio from 120% to about 90% in 2008. The Antiguan economy experienced solid growth from 2003 to 2007, reaching over 12% in 2006 driven by a construction boom in hotels and housing associated with the Cricket World Cup.

In 2009, Antigua’s economy was severely hit by the global economic crisis and suffered from the collapse of its largest financial institution, a steep decline in tourism, a rise in debt, and a sharp economic contraction between 2009-2011. Antigua has not yet returned to its pre-crisis growth levels.

Labor force: 30,000 (1991)

Labor force by occupation:

Agriculture: 7%

Industry: 11%

Services: 82% (1983)

Exports: $37.9 million (2012 est.)

Exports – commodities: petroleum products, bedding, handicrafts, electronic components, transport equipment, food and live animals

Imports: $400 million (2012 est.)

Imports – commodities: food and live animals, machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, chemicals, oil.

Main Image: ©Linda J –