Economy of Caribbean

CUBA

According to COUNTRYAAH, there are 15 countries in Caribbean. Cuba is one of them and has remained autocratically ruled by the Communist Party since the 1959 revolution. Brothers Fidel and Raul Castro led the country for the next 60 years and it was not until 2018 that a new president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, took office. However, this did not mean reforms of the political system but cautious openings of the former fully state-controlled economy. But the economy has not picked up speed and the country is going through one of the last most difficult crises in several decades.

Cuba

Country Facts

State condition: Republic

Surface: 110,860 km2

Capital: Havana

Language: Spanish

Labor market and economy:

Following unsuccessful investments in heavy industry, Cuba’s economy has been dependent on sugar and tobacco. The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe had catastrophic consequences for the Cuban economy and tourism has become increasingly important both for job creation and for withdrawing revenue for the state. In recent years, a number of reforms have been introduced to boost the economy. Among other things, some private production in agriculture and private small business are encouraged. Around half a million have been forced to leave their government jobs and are now active in the small-scale private sector. The improved relations with the United States during President Barack Obama’s time increased economic exchanges with the United States, but with Donald Trump’s accession, politics have changed and exchanges have stalled. The state continues to have control over the most important parts of production,

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

The Dominican Republic, like many other islands in the Caribbean, relies heavily on tourism. The traditional sugar industry has been marginalized and attempts to build economic free zones are facing stiff competition from low-wage countries in Asia. The economy has improved but about a third of the population lives in poverty and the informal sector is large.

Dominican Republic

Country Facts

State condition: Republic

Surface: 48 422 km2

Capital: Santo Domingo

Language: Spanish

Labor market and economy:

The country’s economy has traditionally been based on agricultural exports, especially sugar, but has diversified since the 1980’s. Industry now accounts for a third of GDP, followed by trade, services and agriculture. Tourism is also one of the most important sectors of the economy. More than half of the workforce is in the informal sector.

The economic free zones are considered important for employment, but have been exposed to fierce competition from Asia. In 2017, trade unions succeeded in concluding an agreement that entailed substantial wage increases for employees in the free zones, and it was the first time in decades that the parties reached an agreement through negotiations.

HAITI

The people of Haiti are descendants of African slaves who were brought to the island to work on large agricultural plantations. Political misrule has made the country the poorest in the western hemisphere and repeated natural disasters are exacerbating the opportunities for rebuilding the country. The informal sector dominates the economy and the trade union movement is weak.

Haiti

Country Facts

State condition: Republic

Surface: 27,750 km2

Capital: Port-au-Prince

Language: Creole, French

Labor market and economy:

According to ITYPEUSA, Haiti is the poorest country in the Caribbean. Four out of five residents live in poverty and about 85 percent of Haitians are unemployed or only temporarily employed. The economy has been in decline for many years and makes the country dependent on international aid. Hundreds of thousands of seasonal workers in the neighboring Dominican Republic and money from Haitians living abroad make up almost a fifth of the country’s economy and are the largest source of income after international aid.

COSTA RICA

Costa Rica’s modern history has been marked by stability and peace in a region dominated by political violence. As the first country in the world, the army was abolished in 1949 at the same time as social reforms built a welfare state. The trade union movement is strongest in the public sector and in total around 10 percent of the workforce is organized.

Costa Rica

Country Facts

State condition: Republic

Surface: 51,000 km2

Capital: San Jose

Language: Spanish

Labor market and economy:

Costa Rica has changed from a traditional agricultural economy with banana and coffee exports to a modern economy dominated by industrial production and services. The industrial sector today accounts for a fifth of GDP, while the service sector accounts for just over 58 percent. The tourism industry, which has long profiled itself on the country’s biological diversity, has grown into one of the country’s most important industries.
After a severe economic crisis, a structural adjustment program was implemented in the 1980’s. The program yielded results in the form of increased growth, declining inflation and external debt, but at the expense of social investments.

PANAMA

Panama was created to be able to build the canal that cuts through the narrow Central American headland. The country’s history and economy have been governed by the channel, which was first owned by the United States. In 2000, Panama took control and only then did the country become completely independent. The income from the vessels that use the canal as well as the trade and financial sector are the most important sources of income.

Panama

Country Facts

State condition: Republic

Surface: 75,517 km2

Capital: Panama City

Language: Spanish

Labor market and economy:

The economy is dominated by the canal through revenues from the ships and from the free trade zone at the canal’s outlet on the Atlantic side. The area is the world’s second largest free zone, a tax-exempt area from which companies re-export their goods to the rest of the continent. Generous tax and financing rules have led 120 international banks to establish themselves in the capital. Panamá has the highest per capita income in Central America but at the same time the second most skewed income distribution in Latin America.