The Caribbean Sea, its islands, and the surrounding coasts on continental mainland together represent the Caribbean region. The richest economies in this region are as follows:
The Bahamas is an archipelagic country made up of over 700 islands, islets, and cays. It is located to the north of Cuba in the Atlantic Ocean. The country has an estimated population of 391,232 people. It is the richest country in the Caribbean region by GDP per capita. The economy of the country relies heavily on the tourism industry. The sector accounts for over 60% of the national GDP and employs nearly 50% of the national workforce. Banking and other financial services are the second biggest contributor to the Bahamian economy, accounting for about 15% of the GDP. Agriculture accounts for about 5 to 7% of the national GDP. Major crops grown in the country include onions, tomatoes, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, okra, and a few others.
The island nation of Barbados is the world’s 53rd richest and the Caribbean’s second richest country in terms of GDP per capita. The country’s economy can be described as a well-developed mixed type economy. The people of this country enjoy fairly high standards of living. Although historically, agriculture was the mainstay of the economy of Barbados, the focus has currently shifted to tourism and manufacturing. The information and finance services also contribute significantly to the national economy. The building construction industry is also thriving in Barbados. The country has the Caribbean’s largest stock exchange.
Belize is a Central American country with a coastline on the Caribbean Sea. The economy of the nation is small but thriving. It is mainly a private enterprise economy. The country relies heavily on the export revenue earned by the export of petroleum and oil, and agricultural products. The construction business and tourism sector are the fastest growing industries in the country. Industrial mineral production in the country is also an important economic activity. Sugar cane and banana are the chief crops grown in Belize. The government of the country is focussing on developing the tourism sector in the country. Due to the coastal location of the country and the facility provided to non-residents to establish accounts in the country, drug trafficking and money laundering cases are common. Such activities have a negative impact on Belize’s economy.
Located in Central America, Costa Rica is the Caribbean region's fourth richest economy by GDP per capita. The economy of the country can be described as fairly stable with moderate rates of inflation and a fairly high rate of GDP growth. The encouraging investment and tax policies of the country favor foreign investment in the region. Many foreign companies thus operate here of which nearly 50% are American companies. As of 2016, 75.9% of the national GDP is contributed by the services sector. The industrial and the agricultural sector contribute about 18.6% and 5.5% to the national GDP of Costa Rica.
Colombia is the fifth most prosperous economy in the Caribbean region. Although the economy was highly dependent on agriculture in the past, rapid urbanization in the 20th century shifted the focus from agriculture to other economic sectors. Today, agriculture accounts for only about 6.6% of the Colombian GDP while industry and services account for 19.6% and 64.6% of the national GDP, respectively. The country is rich in natural resources with its most profitable exports being minerals, oils, agricultural products, sugar, precious stones, etc.