Bahamas

Region: Caribbean

Capital: Nassau

Population:347,200 (UNDP 2011)

Surface area: 13,940 sq km

Currency: Bahamian dollar (BSD)

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity $30,900 (2011- CIA est.)

Background:

Lucayan Indians inhabited the islands when Christopher Columbus first set foot in the New World on San Salvador in 1492. British settlement of the islands began in 1647; the islands became a colony in 1783. Since attaining independence from the UK in 1973, The Bahamas have prospered through tourism and international banking and investment management.

Economy – Overview:

The Bahamas is one of the wealthiest Caribbean countries with an economy heavily dependent on tourism and offshore banking. Tourism together with tourism-driven construction and manufacturing accounts for approximately 60% of GDP and directly or indirectly employs half of the archipelago’s labor force. Prior to 2006, a steady growth in tourism receipts and a boom in construction of new hotels, resorts, and residences led to solid GDP growth but since then tourism receipts have begun to drop off. The global recession in 2009 took a sizeable toll on The Bahamas, resulting in a contraction in GDP and a widening budget deficit. The decline was reversed in 2010-11 as tourism from the US and sector investment returned. Financial services constitute the second-most important sector of the Bahamian economy and, when combined with business services, account for about 36% of GDP. However, the financial sector currently is smaller than it has been in the past because of the enactment of new and stricter financial regulations in 2000 that caused many international businesses to relocate elsewhere. Manufacturing and agriculture combined contribute approximately a 10th of GDP and show little growth, despite government incentives aimed at those sectors. Overall growth prospects in the short run rest heavily on the fortunes of the tourism sector and foreign investment in tourism related infrastructure projects. The government also completed the sale of 51% of the telecommunications company in 2011 after 14 years of trying to privatize the state-owned enterprise. (CIA, 2012)

Major Export Commodities: mineral products and salt, animal products, rum, chemicals; fruit and vegetables

Remittances: Not available

Human Development Index 2011 ranking: 53 out of 187 countries

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners:Not available

Total External Debt: $342.6 million (2004 est.)

Environmental Indicators:

Endangered Species (as a % of all species): 10

Forested Area (percentage of land area): 51.4

CO2 Emissions (tonnes per capita): 6.4

                                (Data Source: UNDP 2011)

United Nations membership date: 18 September 1973

New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to the United Nations
231 East 46th Street
New York, N.Y. 10017 USA
Telephone: 212-421-6925, 6926, 6929
Fax: 212-759-2135

Website: http://www.un.int/bahamas

Sources:

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 2011.United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org

Updated July 2012