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The Best 4 Thriving Industries in The Caribbean

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The Caribbean is made up of 26 countries across 700 islands, speaking 6 official languages. Although there are only 44.4 million people, it has an up-and-coming economy with many countries already investing in thriving industries, and foreigners and expats migrating there every year. Some of the best thriving industries in The Caribbean are:

1. Tourism

Tourism is the Caribbean’s most vital industry and biggest economic contributor, making 58.9% of the total 2019 GDP across the region as a whole. It’s grown from 29 million visitors in 2010 to an all-time high of 31.5 million by 2019, of which 15.5 million were Americans. Companies and investors can expect to make money in this industry, especially where their services and products target Americans because tourism income is steady throughout the year except for hurricane season between June and November, where it experiences a minor slump.

2. Agriculture 

Agriculture contributes to a larger share of GDP and employment in the less economically developed Caribbean countries with lower infrastructure and more farming land. Despite high trade costs and an inability to meet modern safety and quality standards, demand for agricultural exports and improving links between farmers, fishers, and agri-food companies inside and outside the Caribbean drive strong industry growth.

For more information on Agriculture in the Caribbean visit IDB

Some of the main crops cultivated in the Caribbean are bananas, sugar, coconuts, coffee, rice and tobaccoBananas are a significant export crop for many countries like the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and St. Vincent. Some of the world’s most expensive coffees are cultivated in Haiti, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. Caribbean tobacco, especially Cuban cigars, are some of the most expensive and sought-after products globally.

3. Manufacturing and chemicals

Manufactured goods, in particular chemicals, is steadily growing as more countries develop in the Caribbean. According to the World Bank, manufacturing contributes to 17% of Haiti’s GDP, 12% of Suriname, and 5% or less in the remaining Caribbean countries in 2019. 

TVs, refrigerators, vehicles, tires and boat building equipment are some of the Caribbean’s main manufacturing products. Chemicals add up to 90% or more value across all countries. This makes it the most critical factor in making high revenues. Chemical products like paints, pharmaceuticals, bricks, cement, and glass are the industry’s best products. As infrastructure development continues to flourish all over the Caribbean, demand for chemicals needed to help this development will grow.

4. Oil and natural gas

Up until 2015, only Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados were thought to have enough oil reserves to extract and export. Since then, Exxon discovered reserves in Guyana and Suriname. This lead to government investments like the Guyana US$300 million per year revenue deal from profit-sharing agreements with oil companies. $180 million has been spent by ExxonMobil and its direct contractors on more than 630 local suppliers. Other leading oil companies like Chevron, Total, and Tullow Oil are also investing in suppliers, manufacturers, producers, and transporters across the Caribbean to aid production. This will boost economies across the region, especially Guyana’s, which could benefit from revenues of US$15 billion per year. The country made its first shipment oil this January 2020.

The natural gas industry may see a similar boom too as potential hydrocarbon opportunities have been found and explored in Cuba, Jamaica, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and The Bahamas. The Caribbean landscape is set to change in the years to come. The Oil and natural gas industry will experience even more prosperity.

Other notable industries which are not as strong as the above, but still are worth looking at, are:

Food and drinks

This industry goes hand-in-hand with tourism as tourist tend to pay the highest revenues for food and drinks in hotels, restaurants, bars, and clubs. It also goes with agricultural for specific foods. Some countries like Jamaica or Trinidad and Tobago have created a niche in manufacturing chocolate, spices and peppers to export globally. 

Clothing and apparel 

The apparel industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the Caribbean. Low labour wages, low-cost and high-quality clothing materials, and music and culture is driving the popularity of Caribbean apparel in North America and Europe. Clothing manufacture and production infrastructure is developing but is still far behind world-leader Asia. As infrastructure improves so will the growth of the industry. 

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