Trinidad and Tobago

Region:Caribbean

Capital: Port of Spain

Population: 1,346,400 (UNDP 2011)

Surface area: 5,128 sq km

Currency: Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD)

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $20,300 (2011-CIA est.)

Background:

First colonized by the Spanish, the islands came under British control in the early 19th century. The islands’ sugar industry was hurt by the emancipation of the slaves in 1834. Manpower was replaced with the importation of contract laborers from India between 1845 and 1917, which boosted sugar production as well as the cocoa industry. The discovery of oil on Trinidad in 1910 added another important export. Independence was attained in 1962. The country is one of the most prosperous in the Caribbean thanks largely to petroleum and natural gas production and processing. Tourism, mostly in Tobago, is targeted for expansion and is growing. The government is coping with a rise in violent crime.

Economy – Overview:

Trinidad and Tobago has earned a reputation as an excellent investment site for international businesses and has one of the highest growth rates and per capita incomes in Latin America. Economic growth between 2000 and 2007 averaged slightly over 8%, significantly above the regional average of about 3.7% for that same period; however, GDP has slowed down since then and contracted during 2009-2011. Growth had been fueled by investments in liquefied natural gas, petrochemicals, and steel. Additional petrochemical, aluminum, and plastics projects are in various stages of planning. Trinidad and Tobago is the leading Caribbean producer of oil and gas, and its economy is heavily dependent upon these resources but it also supplies manufactured goods, notably food products and beverages, as well as cement to the Caribbean region. Oil and gas account for about 40% of GDP and 80% of exports, but only 5% of employment. The country is also a regional financial center, and tourism is a growing sector, although it is not as important domestically as it is to many other Caribbean islands. The economy benefits from a growing trade surplus. The previous MANNING administration benefited from fiscal surpluses fueled by the dynamic export sector; however, declines in oil and gas prices have reduced government revenues which will challenge the new government’s commitment to maintaining high levels of public investment. (CIA, 2012)

Major Export Commodities: petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, cereal and cereal products, sugar, cocoa, coffee, citrus fruit, vegetables, flowers

Remittances:US $144 million (World Bank 2011 est.)

Human Development Index 2011 ranking:62 out of 187 countries

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners:US $4million. Major development partners include: E.U. Institutions, Canada, United States, France, IDB Sp. Fund (OECD 2010)

Total External Debt: US $4.746 billion (December 2011 est.) CIA

Life Expectancy at Birth: 70.1 years (UNDP 2011)

Environmental Indicators:

                                               Endangered Species (as a % of all species): 6

                                               Forested Area (percentage of land area): 44.4

                                               CO2 Emissions (tonnes per capita): 37.3

                                               (UNDP 2011)

United Nations membership date: 18 September 1962

New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
to the United Nations
820 Second Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, N.Y.10017USA
Telephone: 212-697-7620, 7621, 7622, 7623
Fax: 212-682-3580

Website: www.un.int/wcm/content/site/trinidadandtobago

 

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