Antigua & Barbuda is a ‘Middle to Upper Income’ (World Bank) country with a GDP in 2012 of US$1.2 billion, 2.8% above the level of 2011 and a GDP per capita of US$13,500. Growth continued in 2013, estimated at 2.3%, reflecting new investment in tourism, construction, and transportation. Services now account for 64% of the economy with industry 33% and agriculture 3% (World Bank).
Tourism dominates the national economy and is the most important source of foreign exchange and foreign direct investment in Antigua & Barbuda. It underpins the country’s economic growth accounting for two thirds of GDP, 40 percent of investment and more than half of the island’s employment opportunities.
Investment banking and financial services also make up an important part of the economy. Major world banks with offices in Antigua include the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and Scotiabank. Financial Services corporations with offices in Antigua include GrantThornton.
In the 2014 World Bank ‘Doing Business Indicators’, Antigua & Barbuda is ranked 8th of 32 countries in the Latin America & Caribbean region. An IMF Report of May 2013 stated:
“Antigua & Barbuda has made excellent progress towards achieving its goal of restoring debt sustainability and macroeconomic stability’. From an overall fiscal deficit of 18 percent of GDP in 2009, and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 102 percent, the authorities’ program of fiscal consolidation and structural reforms, together with debt relief from external and domestic creditors, resulted in an average overall deficit of 1.7 percent of GDP from 2010-12 and brought the debt-to-GDP ratio down to 89 percent at end-2012. These results were achieved during a period of significant economic contraction, in the face of a difficult external economic environment and domestic financial challenges.”
Antigua & Barbuda is a member of the nine-country Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) established in 1991 by the Treaty of Basseterre. The Treaty was revised in 2010 to enable the founding of an economic union that facilitates the free movement of goods and services, as well as the factors of production (capital and labour). The OECS countries have a combined population of 636,000 and are also members of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
The OECS has maintained a common central bank and currency area with an Eastern Caribbean Dollar since 1976. The currency is pegged to the US Dollar at the rate of EC$2.70 to US$1.