St Vincent and The Grenadines: Economy
St Vincent and the Grenadines has a relatively undeveloped economy, nevertheless providing a relatively high quality of life. It is vulnerable as the economic base is very small, and is heavily dependent on agriculture especially bananas.
The main export crop, bananas, was sold to the EU under its preferential arrangements, but since these ended in 2007, Caribbean banana producers have faced a tougher competitive environment, and small, less efficient producers have moved out of banana production. The government has encouraged diversification into tourism, manufacturing, offshore finance and call centers, and has promoted the growth of the private sector.
Economic growth fluctuates with agricultural output and prices on world markets. The economy has, however, been prudently managed and inflation and debt have generally been relatively modest. By the mid-2000s, with new investment in tourism infrastructure, economic growth was strong – averaging 5.6 percent p.a. 2004–08 – but in the face of the world economic downturn of 2008–09, slowed sharply in 2008 (1.4 percent) and contracted in 2009 (by 2.1 percent) and 2010 (3.4 percent), before a return to more modest growth in 2011–15.