Population: 110,663 (July 2014 CIA est.)
Surface area: 180 sq km
Currency: Aruban guilder/florin (AWG)
GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $25,300 (2011 CIA est.)
Discovered and claimed for Spain in 1499, Aruba was acquired by the Dutch in 1636. The island’s economy has been dominated by three main industries. A 19th century gold rush was followed by prosperity brought on by the opening in 1924 of an oil refinery. The last decades of the 20th century saw a boom in the tourism industry. Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986 and became a separate, autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Movement toward full independence was halted at Aruba’s request in 1990.
Economy – Overview:
Tourism and offshore banking are the mainstays of the small open Aruban economy. Tourist arrivals have rebounded strongly following a dip after the 11 September 2001 attacks. Tourism now accounts for over 80 % of economic activity. Over 1.5 million tourists per year visit Aruba, with 75% of those from the US. The rapid growth of the tourism sector has resulted in a substantial expansion of other activities. Construction continues to boom with hotel capacity five times the 1985 level. Aruba is heavily dependent on imports and is making efforts to expand exports to achieve a more desirable trade balance. Aruba weathered two major shocks in recent years: fallout from the global financial crisis, which had its largest impact on tourism, and the closure of its oil refinery in 2009. Economic recovery is progressing gradually, but output is still 12% below its pre-crisis level. Aruba’s banking sector withstood the recession well, and unemployment has significantly decreased. (CIA, 2014)
Major Export Commodities: live animals and animal products, art and collectibles, machinery and electrical equipment, transport equipment
Remittances inflow:US $5 million USD (World Bank 2012 est.)
Human Development Index 2013 ranking: Not ranked
Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners:
Net ODA in 2006 was US $76 million.
Major development partners include: the Netherlands, The Caribbean Development Bank, the United Kingdom.
Total External Debt: US $533.4 million (2005 CIA est.)
Life Expectancy: 73.3 years (CIA 2014)
CO2 Emissions (tonnes per capita): 22.8 (World Bank 2010)
CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. www.cia.gov
World Development Indicators. World Bank www.worldbank.org
Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org
Human Development Report 2013.United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org
Updated January 2015