Dominica, officially known as the Commonwealth of Dominica, is an island in the eastern Caribbean Sea. The capital city is Roseau which is located on the west side of the Island. The majority of the Dominicans, about 70.5% of the population, live in urban centers. The rest of the population lives in rural areas and typically engage in farming which is the main economic driver in Dominica. The country’s total GDP as per the 2018 estimates was US 485 million. The principal sectors that have contributed greatly to the economy of Dominica are agriculture, manufacturing industries, and the service sector.
The economy of Dominica largely depends on agriculture. Currently, the agricultural sector contributes about 17.8% of the GDP of Dominica. About 22.6% of the land area is arable and is under cultivation. The sector has employed about 40% of the labor force both directly and indirectly. Historically, banana farming monopolized the agricultural sector as the major cash crop in the late 1980s as it formed 70% of the total exports. This single crop dependency died after the destruction of the banana plantations by hurricanes and storms. Land rehabilitation programs were put in place after the hurricanes, a step that has seen this sector pick up and register positive improvements. For instance, banana production increased from 15,700 tons in 1992 to 34,000 tons by the end of the year 2000.
Dominica is an attractive destination, with rugged mountains, freshwater lakes, hot springs, diving spots, and waterfalls. Its tourism sector is slowly picking up compared to its regional neighbors. Tourists who visit Dominica enjoy hiking, cruise ship visits, watching wildlife, and exploring landscapes. Nonetheless, this sector is still in the infancy stages due to its lack of white beaches, rugged terrain, and poor infrastructure. The average number of tourists who visit the island annually is 200,000. In 1999, revenue generated by the tourism industry was US$ 49 million. Dominica is engaging in plans to boost this industry.
The manufacturing industry in Dominica largely depends on raw materials from the agricultural sector. The coconut soap production is among the top ventures in the industry. Coconut soap producers sell over three million bars of soap annually. The majority of the soap users are the Royal Caribbean cruise lines. The soap is also exported to Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. Other industries process lime, citrus fruits, toiletries, shoes, cement, blocks, ceramics, and furniture. The manufacturing industry continues to grow and expand.
The service industry in Dominica has employed about 28 % of the labor force and contributes 49.5 % of the country’s GDP. This service industry is a sector in which no physical goods are transacted. Instead, revenue is earned from the provision of intangible goods and services offered. The service providers must be resourceful, skilled, experienced, and charge fees that are commensurate to the nature of service offered. In most cases, the charges vary depending on the season, time or duration of the service, and the business cycle. There are service organization groups that play an oversight role in ensuring that the service providers meet their customers’ expectations.