This entry briefly describes the type of economy, including the degree of market orientation, the level of economic development, the most important natural resources, and the unique areas of specialization. It also characterizes major economic events and policy changes in the most recent 12 months and may include a statement about one or two key future macroeconomic trends.
Afghanistan's economy is recovering from decades of conflict. The economy has improved significantly since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 largely because of the infusion of international assistance, the recovery of the agricultural sector, and service sector growth. Despite the progress of the past few years, Afghanistan is extremely poor, landlocked, and highly dependent on foreign aid, agriculture, and trade with neighboring countries. Much of the population continues to suffer from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs. Criminality, insecurity, weak governance, and the Afghan Government's inability to extend rule of law to all parts of the country pose challenges to future economic growth. Afghanistan's living standards are among the lowest in the world. While the international community remains committed to Afghanistan's development, pledging over $57 billion at three donors' conferences since 2002, the Government of Afghanistan will need to overcome a number of challenges, including low revenue collection, anemic job creation, high levels of corruption, weak government capacity, and poor public infrastructure.
Albania, a formerly closed, centrally-planned state, is making the difficult transition to a more modern open-market economy. Macroeconomic growth averaged around 6% between 2004-08, but declined to about 4% in 2009. Inflation is low and stable. The government has taken measures to curb violent crime, and recently adopted a fiscal reform package aimed at reducing the large gray economy and attracting foreign investment. The economy is bolstered by annual remittances from abroad representing about 15% of GDP, mostly from Albanians residing in Greece and Italy; this helps offset the towering trade deficit. The agricultural sector, which accounts for over half of employment but only about one-fifth of GDP, is limited primarily to small family operations and subsistence farming because of lack of modern equipment, unclear property rights, and the prevalence of small, inefficient plots of land. Energy shortages because of a reliance on hydropower, and antiquated and inadequate infrastructure contribute to Albania's poor business environment and lack of success in attracting new foreign investment needed to expand the country's export base. The completion of a new thermal power plant near Vlore has helped diversify generation capacity, and plans to upgrade transmission lines between Albania and Montenegro and Kosovo would help relieve the energy shortages. Also, with help from EU funds, the government is taking steps to improve the poor national road and rail network, a long-standing barrier to sustained economic growth.
The state dominates most areas of the Algerian economy. Gradual liberalization since the mid-1990's has opened up more of the economy to private domestic and foreign participation, but recent government actions impose stricter controls on foreign investment. Hydrocarbons are the backbone of the economy, accounting for roughly 60% of budget revenues, 30% of GDP, and over 95% of export earnings. Algeria has the eighth-largest reserves of natural gas in the world and is the fourth-largest gas exporter; it ranks 15th in oil reserves. Weak global hydrocarbon prices during 2009 contributed to a 40% drop in government revenue, although the government continues to enjoy a financial cushion provided by about $150 billion in foreign currency reserves and a large hydrocarbons stabilization fund. Algeria's external debt is only about 1% of GDP. The government's efforts to diversify the economy by attracting foreign and domestic investment outside the energy sector, however, has had little success in reducing high unemployment and improving living standards. A Complementary Finance Law, enacted in July, imposed tight restrictions on imports and required that new foreign investment must be in the form of joint ventures with at least 51% share of ownership by Algerian partners. That law and a January, 2009 ban on importing pharmaceutical products that are also locally produced have contributed to some domestic goods shortages and prompted foreign investors and businesses to reconsider activities in Algeria. Development of the banking sector, the construction of infrastructure, and other structural reforms are hampered by corruption and bureaucratic resistance.
American Samoa has a traditional Polynesian economy in which more than 90% of the land is communally owned. Economic activity is strongly linked to the US with which American Samoa conducts most of its commerce. Tuna fishing and tuna processing plants are the backbone of the private sector, with canned tuna the primary export. The two tuna canneries account for 80% of employment. In late September 2009, an earthquake and the resulting tsunami devastated American Samoa and nearby Samoa, disrupting transportation and power generation, and resulting in about 200 deaths. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency is overseeing a relief program of nearly $25 million. Transfers from the US Government add substantially to American Samoa's economic well being. Attempts by the government to develop a larger and broader economy are restrained by Samoa's remote location, its limited transportation, and its devastating hurricanes. Tourism is a promising developing sector.
Tourism, the mainstay of Andorra's tiny, well-to-do economy, accounts for more than 80% of GDP. An estimated 11 million tourists visit annually, attracted by Andorra's duty-free status for some products and by its summer and winter resorts. Andorra's comparative advantage eroded when the borders of neighboring France and Spain opened, providing broader availability of goods and lower tariffs. The banking sector, with its partial "tax haven" status, also contributes substantially to the economy. Agricultural production is limited - only 2% of the land is arable - and most food has to be imported. The principal livestock activity is sheep raising. Manufacturing output consists mainly of cigarettes, cigars, and furniture. Andorra is a member of the EU Customs Union and is treated as an EU member for trade in manufactured goods (no tariffs) and as a non-EU member for agricultural products.
Angola's high growth rate in recent years was driven by its oil sector, and high international oil prices. Oil production and its supporting activities contribute about 85% of GDP. Increased oil production supported growth averaging more than 15% per year from 2004 to 2007. The global recession and lower prices led to a contraction in GDP in 2009. A postwar reconstruction boom and resettlement of displaced persons has led to high rates of growth in construction and agriculture as well. Much of the country's infrastructure is still damaged or undeveloped from the 27-year-long civil war. Remnants of the conflict such as widespread land mines still mar the countryside even though an apparently durable peace was established after the death of rebel leader Jonas SAVIMBI in February 2002. Subsistence agriculture provides the main livelihood for most of the people, but half of the country's food must still be imported. Since 2005, the government has used billions of dollars in credit lines from China, Brazil, Portugal, Germany, Spain, and the EU to rebuild Angola's public infrastructure. Although consumer inflation declined from 325% in 2000 to under 13% in 2008, the stabilization policy proved unsustainable and Angola abandoned its currency peg in 2009. Angola became a member of OPEC in late 2006 and in late 2007 was assigned a production quota of 1.9 million barrels a day (bbl), somewhat less than the 2-2.5 million bbl Angola's government had wanted. In November 2009 the IMF announced its approval of Luanda's request for a Stand-By Arrangement; the loan of $1.4 billion aims to rebuild Angola's international reserves. Corruption, especially in the extractive sectors, is a major challenge.
Anguilla has few natural resources, and the economy depends heavily on luxury tourism, offshore banking, lobster fishing, and remittances from emigrants. Increased activity in the tourism industry has spurred the growth of the construction sector contributing to economic growth. Anguillan officials have put substantial effort into developing the offshore financial sector, which is small but growing. In the medium term, prospects for the economy will depend largely on the tourism sector and, therefore, on revived income growth in the industrialized nations as well as on favorable weather conditions.
Scientific undertakings rather than commercial pursuits are the predominate human activity in Antarctica. Fishing off the coast and tourism, both based abroad, account for Antarctica's limited economic activity. Antarctic fisheries, targeting three main species - Patagonian and Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides and D. mawsoni), mackerel icefish (Champsocephalus gunnari), and krill (Euphausia superba) - reported landing 141,147 metric tons in 2008-09 (1 July - 30 June). (Estimated fishing is from the area covered by the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which extends slightly beyond the Antarctic Treaty area.) Unregulated fishing, particularly of Patagonian toothfish (also known as Chilean sea bass), is a serious problem. The CCAMLR determines the recommended catch limits for marine species. A total of 37,858 tourists visited the Antarctic Treaty area in the 2008-09 Antarctic summer, down from the 46,265 visitors in 2007-2008 (estimates provided to the Antarctic Treaty by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO); this does not include passengers on overflights). Nearly all of them were passengers on commercial (nongovernmental) ships and several yachts that make trips during the summer.
Tourism continues to dominate Antigua and Barbuda's economy, accounting for nearly 60% of GDP and 40% of investment. The dual-island nation's agricultural production is focused on the domestic market and constrained by a limited water supply and a labor shortage stemming from the lure of higher wages in tourism and construction. Manufacturing comprises enclave-type assembly for export with major products being bedding, handicrafts, and electronic components. Prospects for economic growth in the medium term will continue to depend on tourist arrivals from the US, Canada, and Europe and potential damages from natural disasters. After taking office in 2004, the SPENCER government adopted an ambitious fiscal reform program, and was successful in reducing its public debt-to-GDP ratio from 120% to about 90% in 2008. However, the global financial crisis that began in 2008, has led to a significant increase in the national debt, which is expected to top 130% by the end of 2010. The Antiguan economy experienced solid growth from 2003 to 2007, reaching over 12% in 2006 driven by a construction boom in hotels and housing associated with the Cricket World Cup, but growth dropped off in 2008 with the end of the boom. In 2009, Antigua's economy was severely hit by the global economic crisis, suffering from the collapse of its largest financial institution and a steep decline in tourism. This decline is expected to continue in 2010 as the country struggles with a yawning budget deficit.
Argentina benefits from rich natural resources, a highly literate population, an export-oriented agricultural sector, and a diversified industrial base. Although one of the world's wealthiest countries 100 years ago, Argentina suffered during most of the 20th century from recurring economic crises, persistent fiscal and current account deficits, high inflation, mounting external debt, and capital flight. A severe depression, growing public and external indebtedness, and a bank run culminated in 2001 in the most serious economic, social, and political crisis in the country's turbulent history. Interim President Adolfo RODRIGUEZ SAA declared a default - the largest in history - on the government's foreign debt in December of that year, and abruptly resigned only a few days after taking office. His successor, Eduardo DUHALDE, announced an end to the peso's decade-long 1-to-1 peg to the US dollar in early 2002. The economy bottomed out that year, with real GDP 18% smaller than in 1998 and almost 60% of Argentines under the poverty line. Real GDP rebounded to grow by an average 8.5% annually over the subsequent six years, taking advantage of previously idled industrial capacity and labor, an audacious debt restructuring and reduced debt burden, excellent international financial conditions, and expansionary monetary and fiscal policies. Inflation also increased, however, during the administration of President Nestor KIRCHNER, which responded with price restraints on businesses, as well as export taxes and restraints, and beginning in early 2007, with understating inflation data. Cristina FERNANDEZ DE KIRCHNER succeeded her husband as President in late 2007, and the rapid economic growth of previous years began to slow sharply the following year as government policies held back exports and the world economy fell into recession. Her government nationalized private pension funds in late 2008 in an attempt to bolster government coffers, but the move also adversely affected private investment spending.
After several years of double-digit economic growth, Armenia is facing a severe economic recession with GDP declining at least 15% in 2009, despite large loans from multilateral institutions. Sharp declines in the construction sector and workers' remittances, particularly from Russia, are the main reasons for the downturn. Under the old Soviet central planning system, Armenia developed a modern industrial sector, supplying machine tools, textiles, and other manufactured goods to sister republics, in exchange for raw materials and energy. Armenia has since switched to small-scale agriculture and away from the large agroindustrial complexes of the Soviet era. Armenia has managed to reduce poverty, slash inflation, stabilize its currency, and privatize most small- and medium-sized enterprises. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia had made progress in implementing some economic reforms, including privatization, price reforms, and prudent fiscal policies, but geographic isolation, a narrow export base, and pervasive monopolies in important business sectors have made Armenia particularly vulnerable to the sharp deterioration in the global economy and the economic downturn in Russia. The conflict with Azerbaijan over the ethnic Armenian-dominated region of Nagorno-Karabakh contributed to a severe economic decline in the early 1990s and Armenia's borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan remain closed. Armenia is particularly dependent on Russian commercial and governmental support and most key Armenian infrastructure is Russian-owned and/or managed, especially in the energy sector. The electricity distribution system was privatized in 2002 and bought by Russia's RAO-UES in 2005. Construction of a pipeline to deliver natural gas from Iran to Armenia was completed in December 2008 but it is unlikely significant quantities of gas will flow through it until the Yerevan Thermal Power Plant renovation is completed in 2010. Armenia has some mineral deposits (copper, gold, bauxite). Pig iron, unwrought copper, and other nonferrous metals are Armenia's highest valued exports. Armenia's severe trade imbalance has been offset somewhat by international aid, remittances from Armenians working abroad, and foreign direct investment. Armenia joined the WTO in January 2003. The government made some improvements in tax and customs administration in recent years, but anti-corruption measures have been ineffective and the current economic downturn has led to a sharp drop in tax revenue and forced the government to accept large loan packages from Russia, the IMF, and other international financial institutions. Armenia will need to pursue additional economic reforms in order to regain economic growth and improve economic competitiveness and employment opportunities, especially given its economic isolation from two of its nearest neighbors, Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Tourism is the mainstay of the small open Aruban economy, together with offshore banking. Oil refining and storage ended in 2009. The rapid growth of the tourism sector over the last decade has resulted in a substantial expansion of other activities. Over 1.5 million tourists per year visit Aruba with 75% of those from the US. Construction continues to boom with hotel capacity five times the 1985 level. Tourist arrivals rebounded strongly following a dip after the 11 September 2001 attacks. The government has made cutting the budget and trade deficits a high priority.
The Atlantic Ocean provides some of the world's most heavily trafficked sea routes, between and within the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Other economic activity includes the exploitation of natural resources, e.g., fishing, dredging of aragonite sands (The Bahamas), and production of crude oil and natural gas (Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and North Sea).
Australia's abundant and diverse natural resources attract high levels of foreign investment and include extensive reserves of coal, iron ore, copper, gold, natural gas, uranium, and renewable energy sources. A series of major investments, such as the US$40 billion Gorgon Liquid Natural Gas project, will significantly expand the resources sector. Australia also has a large services sector and is a significant exporter of natural resources, energy, and food. Key tenets of Australia's trade policy include support for open trade and the successful culmination of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations, particularly for agriculture and services. The Australian economy grew for 17 consecutive years before the global financial crisis. Subsequently, the Rudd government introduced a fiscal stimulus package worth over US$50 billion to offset the effect of the slowing world economy, while the Reserve Bank of Australia cut interest rates to historic lows. These policies - and continued demand for commodities, especially from China - helped the Australian economy rebound after just one quarter of negative growth. The economy grew by 1.5% during the first three quarters of 2009 - the best performance in the OECD. Unemployment, originally expected to reach 8-10%, peaked at 5.7% in late 2009 and fell to 5.3% by February 2010. As a result of an improved economy, the budget deficit is expected to peak below 4.2% of GDP and the government could return to budget surpluses as early as 2015. The Australian financial system remained resilient throughout the financial crisis and Australian banks have rebounded. Australia was one of the first advanced economies to raise interest rates - three times since October 2009 - and the government removed the wholesale funding guarantee for financial institutions in March 2010. During 2010, the government will focus on raising Australia's economic productivity, managing the symbiotic, but sometimes tense, economic relationship with China, passing emissions trading legislation, and dealing with other climate-related issues such as drought and devastating bushfires. Australia is engaged in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks and ongoing free trade agreement negotiations with China and Japan.
Austria, with its well-developed market economy and high standard of living, is closely tied to other EU economies, especially Germany's. Its economy features a large service sector, a sound industrial sector, and a small, but highly developed agricultural sector. Following several years of solid foreign demand for Austrian exports and record employment growth, the international financial crisis and global economic downturn in 2008 led to a recession that persisted until the third quarter of 2009. Austrian GDP contracted 3.5% in 2009 but it will probably see positive growth of nearly 2% in 2010. Unemployment has not risen as steeply in Austria as elsewhere in Europe, partly because its government has subsidized reduced working hour schemes to allow companies to retain employees. Such stabilization measures, stimulus initiatives, and the government's income tax reforms pushed the budget deficit to about 4% of GDP in 2009, from only about 1.3% in 2008. The Austrian economy has benefited greatly in the past from strong commercial relations, especially in the banking and insurance sectors, with central, eastern, and southeastern Europe, but these sectors have been vulnerable to recent international financial instabilities. Some of Austria's largest banks have required government support - including in some instances, nationalization - to prevent insolvency and possible regional contagion. In the medium-term all large Austrian banks will need additional capital. Even after the global economic outlook improves, Austria will need to continue restructuring, emphasizing knowledge-based sectors of the economy, and encouraging greater labor flexibility and greater labor participation to offset growing unemployment and Austria's aging population and exceedingly low fertility rate.
Azerbaijan's high economic growth during 2006-08 was attributable to large and growing oil exports, but some non-export sectors also featured double-digit growth, spurred by growth in the construction, banking, and real estate sectors. In 2009, economic growth remained above 9% even as oil prices moderated and growth in the construction sector cooled. The current global economic slowdown presents some challenges for the Azerbaijani economy as oil prices remain below their mid-2008 highs, highlighting Azerbaijan's reliance on energy exports and lackluster attempts to diversify its economy. In 2009 the government continued to rely on financial transfers from the State Oil Fund to bridge its budget shortfalls. Azerbaijan's oil production has increased dramatically since 1997, when Azerbaijan signed the first production-sharing arrangement (PSA) with the Azerbaijan International Operating Company. Oil exports through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline remain the main economic driver while efforts to boost Azerbaijan's gas production are underway. However, Azerbaijan has made only limited progress on instituting market-based economic reforms. Pervasive public and private sector corruption and structural economic inefficiencies remain a drag on long-term growth, particularly in non-energy sectors. Several other obstacles impede Azerbaijan's economic progress: the need for stepped up foreign investment in the non-energy sector and the continuing conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Trade with Russia and the other former Soviet republics is declining in importance, while trade is building with Turkey and the nations of Europe. Long-term prospects will depend on world oil prices, the location of new oil and gas pipelines in the region, and Azerbaijan's ability to manage its energy wealth to promote sustainable growth in non-energy sectors of the economy and spur employment.
The Bahamas is one of the wealthiest Caribbean countries with an economy heavily dependent on tourism and offshore banking. Tourism together with tourism-driven construction and manufacturing accounts for approximately 60% of GDP and directly or indirectly employs half of the archipelago's labor force. Prior to 2006, a steady growth in tourism receipts and a boom in construction of new hotels, resorts, and residences led to solid GDP growth but since then tourism receipts have begun to drop off. The global recession in 2009 took a sizeable toll on the Bahamas, resulting in a contraction in GDP and a widening budget deficit. The outlook for 2010 is for slightly positive growth as tourism from the US returns, but sector investment is not expected to substantially increase. Financial services constitute the second-most important sector of the Bahamian economy and, when combined with business services, account for about 36% of GDP. However, the financial sector currently is smaller than it has been in the past because of the enactment of new and more strict financial regulations in 2000 that caused many international businesses to relocate elsewhere. Manufacturing and agriculture combined contribute approximately a tenth of GDP and show little growth, despite government incentives aimed at those sectors. Overall growth prospects in the short run rest heavily on the fortunes of the tourism sector.
Bahrain is one of the most diversified economies in the Persian Gulf. Highly developed communication and transport facilities make Bahrain home to numerous multinational firms with business in the Gulf. As part of its diversification plans, Bahrain implemented a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US in August 2006, the first FTA between the US and a Gulf state. Bahrain's economy, however, continues to depend heavily on oil. Petroleum production and refining account for more than 60% of Bahrain's export receipts, 70% of government revenues, and 11% of GDP (exclusive of allied industries). Other major economic activities are production of aluminum - Bahrain's second biggest export after oil - finance, and construction. Bahrain competes with Malaysia as a worldwide center for Islamic banking. Future economic growth hinges on Bahrain's ability to acquire new natural gas supplies as feedstock to support its expanding petrochemical and aluminum industries. Unemployment, especially among the young, is a long-term economic problem Bahrain struggles to address. In 2009, to help reduce unemployment among Bahraini nationals, Bahrain reduced sponsorship for expatriate workers, increasing the costs of employing foreign labor. The global financial crisis caused funding for many non-oil projects to dry up and resulted in slower economic growth for Bahrain. Lower oil prices also caused Bahrain's budget to slip back into deficit for the first time since 2002, prompting Bahrain to issue an emergency budget supplement and finance its deficits with bonds.
The economy has grown 5-6% per year since 1996 despite political instability, poor infrastructure, corruption, insufficient power supplies, and slow implementation of economic reforms. Bangladesh remains a poor, overpopulated, and inefficiently-governed nation. Although more than half of GDP is generated through the service sector, about 45% of Bangladeshis are employed in the agriculture sector, with rice as the single-most-important product. Bangladesh's growth was resilient during the 2008-09 global financial crisis and recession. Garment exports, totaling $12.3 billion in FY09 and remittances from overseas Bangladeshis totaling $9.7 billion in FY09 accounted for almost 25% of GDP.
Historically, the Barbadian economy was dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities. However, in recent years the economy has diversified into light industry and tourism with about three-quarters of GDP and 80% of exports being attributed to services. Growth has rebounded since 2003, bolstered by increases in construction projects and tourism revenues, reflecting its success in the higher-end segment, but the sector faced declining revenues in 2009 with the global economic downturn. The country enjoys one of the highest per capita incomes in the region. Offshore finance and information services are important foreign exchange earners and thrive from having the same time zone as eastern US financial centers and a relatively highly educated workforce. The government continues its efforts to reduce unemployment, to encourage direct foreign investment, and to privatize remaining state-owned enterprises. The public debt-to-GDP ratio rose to over 100% in 2009, largely because a sharp slowdown in tourism and financial services led to a wide budget deficit.
Belarus has seen limited structural reform since 1995, when President LUKASHENKO launched the country on the path of "market socialism." In keeping with this policy, LUKASHENKO reimposed administrative controls over prices and currency exchange rates and expanded the state's right to intervene in the management of private enterprises. Since 2005, the government has re-nationalized a number of private companies. In addition, businesses have been subjected to pressure by central and local governments, including arbitrary changes in regulations, numerous rigorous inspections, retroactive application of new business regulations, and arrests of "disruptive" businessmen and factory owners. Continued state control over economic operations hampers market entry for businesses, both domestic and foreign. Government statistics indicate GDP growth was strong, reaching 10% in 2008, despite the roadblocks of a tough, centrally directed economy with a high rate of inflation. However, the global crisis pushed the country into recession in 2009, and GDP fell 0.2%. Slumping foreign demand hit the industrial sector hard. Minsk has depended on a standby-agreement with the IMF to assist with balance of payments shortfalls. In line with IMF conditions, in 2009, Belarus devalued the ruble more than 40% and tightened some fiscal and monetary policies. Nevertheless, Belarus missed its 2009 budget targets with a deficit of less than 1% of GDP. On 1 January 2010, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus launched a customs union, with unified trade regulations and customs codes still under negotiation. In late January, Russia and Belarus amended their 2007 oil supply agreement. The new terms will raise prices for above quota purchases and increase Belarus' current account deficit.
This modern, private-enterprise economy has capitalized on its central geographic location, highly developed transport network, and diversified industrial and commercial base. Industry is concentrated mainly in the populous Flemish area in the north. With few natural resources, Belgium must import substantial quantities of raw materials and export a large volume of manufactures, making its economy vulnerable to volatility in world markets. Roughly three-quarters of Belgium's trade is with other EU countries and its overall current account deficit widened to 4% of GDP in 2009. Public debt is nearly 100% of GDP. On the positive side, income distribution is relatively equal and the government succeeded in balancing its budget during the 2000-2008 period. In 2009 Belgian GDP contracted by 3.1%, the unemployment rate rose slightly, and the budget deficit worsened because of large-scale bail-outs in the financial sector. Belgian banks have been severely affected by the international financial crisis with three major banks all receiving capital injections from the government. An ageing population and rising social expenditures are also increasing pressure on public finances, making it likely the government will need to implement unpopular austerity measures to restore fiscal balance.
In this small, essentially private-enterprise economy, tourism is the number one foreign exchange earner followed by exports of marine products, citrus, cane sugar, bananas, and garments. The government's expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, initiated in September 1998, led to sturdy GDP growth averaging nearly 4% in 1999-2007, though growth slipped to 2.1% in 2008 and -1.5% in 2009 as a result of the global slowdown, natural disasters, and the drop in the price of oil. Oil discoveries in 2006 bolstered economic growth. Exploration efforts continue and production increased a small amount in 2009. Major concerns continue to be the sizable trade deficit and sizable foreign debt. In February 2007, the government restructured nearly all of its public external commercial debt, which helped reduce interest payments and relieve some of the country's liquidity concerns. A key short-term objective remains the reduction of poverty with the help of international donors.
The economy of Benin remains underdeveloped and dependent on subsistence agriculture, cotton production, and regional trade. Growth in real output has averaged around 4% in the past three years, but rapid population growth has offset much of this increase. Inflation has subsided over the past several years. In order to raise growth, Benin plans to attract more foreign investment, place more emphasis on tourism, facilitate the development of new food processing systems and agricultural products, and encourage new information and communication technology. Specific projects to improve the business climate by reforms to the land tenure system, the commercial justice system, and the financial sector were included in Benin's $307 million Millennium Challenge Account grant signed in February 2006. The 2001 privatization policy continues in telecommunications, water, electricity, and agriculture though the government annulled the privatization of Benin's state cotton company in November 2007 after the discovery of irregularities in the bidding process. The Paris Club and bilateral creditors have eased the external debt situation, with Benin benefiting from a G-8 debt reduction announced in July 2005, while pressing for more rapid structural reforms. An insufficient electrical supply continues to adversely affect Benin's economic growth though the government recently has taken steps to increase domestic power production.
Bermuda enjoys the third highest per capita income in the world, more than 50% higher than that of the US; the average cost of a house by the mid-2000s exceeded $1,000,000. Its economy is primarily based on providing financial services for international business and luxury facilities for tourists. A number of reinsurance companies relocated to the island following the 11 September 2001 attacks and again after Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 contributing to the expansion of an already robust international business sector. Bermuda's tourism industry - which derives over 80% of its visitors from the US - continues to struggle but remains the island's number two industry. Most capital equipment and food must be imported. Bermuda's industrial sector is largely focused on construction and agriculture is limited, with only 20% of the land being arable.
The economy, one of the world's smallest and least developed, is based on agriculture and forestry, which provide the main livelihood for more than 60% of the population. Agriculture consists largely of subsistence farming and animal husbandry. Rugged mountains dominate the terrain and make the building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive. The economy is closely aligned with India's through strong trade and monetary links and dependence on India's financial assistance. The industrial sector is technologically backward, with most production of the cottage industry type. Most development projects, such as road construction, rely on Indian migrant labor. Model education, social, and environment programs are underway with support from multilateral development organizations. Each economic program takes into account the government's desire to protect the country's environment and cultural traditions. For example, the government, in its cautious expansion of the tourist sector, encourages visits by upscale, environmentally conscientious tourists. Detailed controls and uncertain policies in areas such as industrial licensing, trade, labor, and finance continue to hamper foreign investment. Hydropower exports to India have boosted Bhutan's overall growth. New hydropower projects will be the driving force behind Bhutan's ability to create employment and sustain growth in the coming years.
Bolivia is one of the poorest and least developed countries in Latin America. Following a disastrous economic crisis during the early 1980s, reforms spurred private investment, stimulated economic growth, and cut poverty rates in the 1990s. The period 2003-05 was characterized by political instability, racial tensions, and violent protests against plans - subsequently abandoned - to export Bolivia's newly discovered natural gas reserves to large northern hemisphere markets. In 2005, the government passed a controversial hydrocarbons law that imposed significantly higher royalties and required foreign firms then operating under risk-sharing contracts to surrender all production to the state energy company in exchange for a predetermined service fee. After higher prices for mining and hydrocarbons exports produced a fiscal surplus in 2008, the global recession in 2009 slowed growth. A decline in commodity prices that began in late 2008, a lack of foreign investment in the mining and hydrocarbon sectors, a poor infrastructure, and the suspension of trade benefits with the United States will pose challenges for the Bolivian economy in 2010.
The interethnic warfare in Bosnia and Herzegovina caused production to plummet by 80% from 1992 to 1995 and unemployment to soar. With an uneasy peace in place, output recovered in 1996-99 at high percentage rates from a low base; but output growth slowed in 2000-02. Part of the lag in output was made up in 2003-08 when GDP growth exceeded 5% per year. However, due in large part to the global economic crisis, GDP fell by about 3% in 2009, exports fell 24%, and unemployment - as officially reported - rose above 40%. Banking reform accelerated in 2001 as all the Communist-era payments bureaus were shut down; foreign banks, primarily from Austria and Italy, now control most of the banking sector. The konvertibilna marka (convertible mark or BAM)- the national currency introduced in 1998 - is pegged to the euro, and confidence in the currency and the banking sector has increased. Bosnia's private sector is growing and foreign investment is slowly increasing, but government spending, at nearly 50% of adjusted GDP, remains high because of redundant government offices at the state, entity and municipal level. Privatization of state enterprises, however, has been slow, particularly in the Federation where political division between ethnically-based political parties makes agreement on economic policy more difficult. A sizeable current account deficit and high unemployment rate remain the two most serious macroeconomic problems. Successful implementation of a value-added tax in 2006 provided a predictable source of revenue for the government and helped rein in gray market activity. National-level statistics have also improved over time but a large share of economic activity remains unofficial and unrecorded. Bosnia and Herzegovina became a full member of the Central European Free Trade Agreement in September 2007. In 2009, Bosnia's economy was hurt by the global financial downturn, with GDP, exports, and employment all showing declines. One of Bosnia's main challenges has been to cut public sector wages and social benefits to meet the IMF's budget deficit criteria and qualify for additional tranches of Fund aid.
Botswana has maintained one of the world's highest economic growth rates since independence in 1966, though growth fell below 5% in 2007-08, and turned sharply negative in 2009, with industry falling nearly 30%. Through fiscal discipline and sound management, Botswana transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country with a per capita GDP of $14,100 in 2008. Two major investment services rank Botswana as the best credit risk in Africa. Diamond mining has fueled much of the expansion and currently accounts for more than one-third of GDP, 70-80% of export earnings, and about half of the government's revenues. Botswana's heavy reliance on a single luxury export was a critical factor in the sharp economic contraction of 2009. Tourism, financial services, subsistence farming, and cattle raising are other key sectors. Although unemployment was 7.5% in 2007 according to official reports, unofficial estimates place it closer to 40%. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS is second highest in the world and threaten Botswana's impressive economic gains. An expected leveling off in diamond mining production within the next two decades overshadows long-term prospects.
Characterized by large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, Brazil's economy outweighs that of all other South American countries and Brazil is expanding its presence in world markets. Since 2003, Brazil has steadily improved its macroeconomic stability, building up foreign reserves, reducing its debt profile by shifting its debt burden toward real denominated and domestically held instruments, adhering to an inflation target, and committing to fiscal responsibility. In 2008, Brazil became a net external creditor and two ratings agencies awarded investment grade status to its debt. After record growth in 2007 and 2008, the onset of the global financial crisis hit Brazil in September 2008. Brazil's currency and its stock market - Bovespa - saw large swings as foreign investors pulled resources out of Brazil. Brazil experienced two quarters of recession, as global demand for Brazil's commodity-based exports dwindled and external credit dried up. However, Brazil was one of the first emerging markets to begin a recovery. Consumer and investor confidence revived and GDP growth returned to positive in the second quarter, 2009. The Central Bank expects growth of 5% for 2010.
All economic activity is concentrated on the largest island of Diego Garcia, where a joint UK-US military facility is located. Construction projects and various services needed to support the military installation are performed by military and contract employees from the UK, Mauritius, the Philippines, and the US. There are no industrial or agricultural activities on the islands. The territory earns foreign exchange by selling fishing licenses and postage stamps.
The economy, one of the most stable and prosperous in the Caribbean, is highly dependent on tourism generating an estimated 45% of the national income. More than 934,000 tourists, mainly from the US, visited the islands in 2008. In the mid-1980s, the government began offering offshore registration to companies wishing to incorporate in the islands, and incorporation fees now generate substantial revenues. Roughly 400,000 companies were on the offshore registry by yearend 2000. The adoption of a comprehensive insurance law in late 1994, which provides a blanket of confidentiality with regulated statutory gateways for investigation of criminal offenses, made the British Virgin Islands even more attractive to international business. Livestock raising is the most important agricultural activity; poor soils limit the islands' ability to meet domestic food requirements. Because of traditionally close links with the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands has used the US dollar as its currency since 1959.
Brunei has a small well-to-do economy that encompasses a mixture of foreign and domestic entrepreneurship, government regulation, welfare measures, and village tradition. Crude oil and natural gas production account for just over half of GDP and more than 90% of exports. Per capita GDP is among the highest in Asia, and substantial income from overseas investment supplements income from domestic production. The government provides for all medical services and free education through the university level and subsidizes rice and housing. Brunei's leaders are concerned that steadily increased integration into the world economy will undermine internal social cohesion. Plans for the future include upgrading the labor force, reducing unemployment, strengthening the banking and tourist sectors, increasing agricultural production, and, in general, further widening the economic base beyond oil and gas.
Bulgaria, a former Communist country that entered the EU on 1 January 2007, averaged more than 6% growth from 2004 to 2008, driven by significant amounts of foreign direct investment. Successive governments have demonstrated a commitment to economic reforms and responsible fiscal planning, but the global downturn is reducing exports, capital inflows, and industrial production. GDP in 2009 contracted by approximately 5%. Corruption in the public administration, a weak judiciary, and the presence of organized crime remain significant challenges.
One of the poorest countries in the world, landlocked Burkina Faso has few natural resources and a weak industrial base. About 90% of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture, which is vulnerable to periodic drought. Cotton is the main cash crop and the government has joined with three other cotton producing countries in the region - Mali, Niger, and Chad - to lobby in the World Trade Organization for fewer subsidies to producers in other competing countries. Since 1998, Burkina Faso has embarked upon a gradual but successful privatization of state-owned enterprises. Having revised its investment code in 2004, Burkina Faso hopes to attract foreign investors. Thanks to this new code and other legislation favoring the mining sector, the country has seen an upswing in gold exploration and production. While the bitter internal crisis in neighboring Cote d'Ivoire is beginning to be resolved, it is still having a negative effect on Burkina Faso's trade and employment. Burkina Faso received a Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) threshold grant to improve girls' education at the primary school level, and signed an MCC compact that focuses on the areas of infrastructure, agriculture, and land reform in July 2008.
Burma, a resource-rich country, suffers from pervasive government controls, inefficient economic policies, and rural poverty. Despite Burma's emergence as a natural gas exporter, socio-economic conditions have deteriorated under the regime's mismanagement, leaving most of the public in poverty, while military leaders and their business cronies exploit the country's ample natural resources. The economy suffers from serious macroeconomic imbalances - including rising inflation, fiscal deficits, multiple official exchange rates that overvalue the Burmese kyat, a distorted interest rate regime, unreliable statistics, and an inability to reconcile national accounts to determine a realistic GDP figure. Burma's poor investment climate hampers the inflow of foreign investment; in recent years, foreign investors have shied away from nearly every sector except for natural gas, power generation, timber, and mining. The business climate is widely perceived as opaque, corrupt, and highly inefficient. Over 60% of the FY 2009-10 budget is allocated to state owned enterprises - most operating at a deficit. The most productive sectors will continue to be in extractive industries - especially oil and gas, mining, and timber - with the latter two causing significant environmental degradation. Other areas, such as manufacturing, tourism and services, struggle in the face of inadequate infrastructure, unpredictable trade policies, neglected health and education systems, and endemic corruption. A major banking crisis in 2003 caused 20 private banks to close; private banks still operate under tight restrictions, limiting the private sector's access to credit. The United States, the European Union, Canada, and Australia have imposed financial and economic sanctions on Burma, prohibiting most financial transactions with Burmese entities, imposing travel bans on Burmese officials and others connected to the ruling regime, and banning imports of certain Burmese products. These sanctions affected the country's fledgling garment industry, isolated the struggling banking sector, and raised the costs of doing business with Burmese companies, particularly firms tied to Burmese regime leaders. The global crisis of 2008-09 caused exports and domestic consumer demand to drop. Remittances from overseas Burmese workers - who had provided significant financial support for their families - slowed or dried up as jobs were lost and migrant workers returned home. Though the Burmese government has good economic relations with its neighbors, better investment and business climates and an improved political situation are needed to promote serious foreign investment, exports, and tourism.
Burundi is a landlocked, resource-poor country with an underdeveloped manufacturing sector. The economy is predominantly agricultural which accounts for about 35% of GDP and employs more than 90% of the population. Burundi's primary exports are coffee and tea, which account for 90% of foreign exchange earnings, though exports are a relatively small share of GDP. Burundi's export earning - and its ability to pay for imports - rests primarily on weather conditions and international coffee and tea prices. The Tutsi minority, 14% of the population, dominates the coffee trade. An ethnic-based war that lasted for over a decade resulted in more than 200,000 deaths, forced more than 48,000 refugees into Tanzania, and displaced 140,000 others internally. Only one in two children go to school, and approximately one in 15 adults has HIV/AIDS. Food, medicine, and electricity remain in short supply. Burundi's GDP grew around 4% annually in 2006-09. Political stability and the end of the civil war have improved aid flows and economic activity has increased, but underlying weaknesses - a high poverty rate, poor education rates, a weak legal system, and low administrative capacity - risk undermining planned economic reforms. Burundi will continue to remain heavily dependent on aid from bilateral and multilateral donors; the delay of funds after a corruption scandal cut off bilateral aid in 2007 reduced government's revenues and its ability to pay salaries. Burundi joined the East African Community, which should boost Burundi's regional trade ties. Burundi's main challenge to economic growth will be maintaining sufficient fiscal discipline and peace during the upcoming national elections scheduled for 2010.
From 2004 to 2007, the economy grew about 10% per year, driven largely by an expansion in the garment sector, construction, agriculture, and tourism. GDP dropped to below 7% growth in 2008 and probably contracted in 2009 as a result of the global economic slowdown. With the January 2005 expiration of a WTO Agreement on Textiles and Clothing, Cambodian textile producers were forced to compete directly with lower-priced countries such as China, India, Vietnam, and Bangladesh. The garment industry currently employs more than 280,000 people -about 5% of the work force - and contributes more than 70% of Cambodia's exports. In 2005, exploitable oil deposits were found beneath Cambodia's territorial waters, representing a new revenue stream for the government if commercial extraction begins. Mining also is attracting significant investor interest, particularly in the northern parts of the country. The government has said opportunities exist for mining bauxite, gold, iron and gems. In 2006, a US-Cambodia bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) was signed, and several rounds of discussions have been held since 2007. Rubber exports increased about 25% in 2009 due to rising global demand. The tourism industry has continued to grow rapidly, with foreign arrivals exceeding 2 million per year in 2007-08, however, economic troubles abroad dampened growth in 2009. The global financial crisis is weakening demand for Cambodian exports, and construction is declining due to a shortage of credit. The long-term development of the economy remains a daunting challenge. The Cambodian government is working with bilateral and multilateral donors, including the World Bank and IMF, to address the country's many pressing needs. The major economic challenge for Cambodia over the next decade will be fashioning an economic environment in which the private sector can create enough jobs to handle Cambodia's demographic imbalance. More than 50% of the population is less than 21 years old. The population lacks education and productive skills, particularly in the poverty-ridden countryside, which suffers from an almost total lack of basic infrastructure.
Because of its modest oil resources and favorable agricultural conditions, Cameroon has one of the best-endowed primary commodity economies in sub-Saharan Africa. Still, it faces many of the serious problems facing other underdeveloped countries, such as stagnating per capita income, a relatively inequitable distribution of income, a top-heavy civil service, and a generally unfavorable climate for business enterprise. International oil and cocoa prices have a significant impact on the economy. Since 1990, the government has embarked on various IMF and World Bank programs designed to spur business investment, increase efficiency in agriculture, improve trade, and recapitalize the nation's banks. The IMF is pressing for more reforms, including increased budget transparency, privatization, and poverty reduction programs.
As an affluent, high-tech industrial society in the trillion-dollar class, Canada resembles the US in its market-oriented economic system, pattern of production, and affluent living standards. Since World War II, the impressive growth of the manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy into one primarily industrial and urban. The 1989 US-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (which includes Mexico) touched off a dramatic increase in trade and economic integration with the US, its principal trading partner. Canada enjoys a substantial trade surplus with the US, which absorbs nearly 80% of Canadian exports each year. Canada is the US's largest foreign supplier of energy, including oil, gas, uranium, and electric power. Given its great natural resources, skilled labor force, and modern capital plant, Canada enjoyed solid economic growth from 1993 through 2007. Buffeted by the global economic crisis, the economy dropped into a sharp recession in the final months of 2008, and Ottawa posted its first fiscal deficit in 2009 after 12 years of surplus. Canada's major banks, however, emerged from the financial crisis of 2008-09 among the strongest in the world, owing to the country's tradition of conservative lending practices and strong capitalization.
This island economy suffers from a poor natural resource base, including serious water shortages exacerbated by cycles of long-term drought. The economy is service oriented with commerce, transport, tourism, and public services accounting for about three-fourths of GDP. Although nearly 70% of the population lives in rural areas, the share of food production in GDP is low. About 82% of food must be imported. The fishing potential, mostly lobster and tuna, is not fully exploited. Cape Verde annually runs a high trade deficit financed by foreign aid and remittances from emigrants; remittances supplement GDP by more than 20%. Economic reforms are aimed at developing the private sector and attracting foreign investment to diversify the economy. Future prospects depend heavily on the maintenance of aid flows, the encouragement of tourism, remittances, and the momentum of the government's development program. Cape Verde became a member of the WTO in July 2008.
With no direct taxation, the islands are a thriving offshore financial center. More than 93,000 companies were registered in the Cayman Islands as of 2008, including almost 300 banks, 800 insurers, and 10,000 mutual funds. A stock exchange was opened in 1997. Tourism is also a mainstay, accounting for about 70% of GDP and 75% of foreign currency earnings. The tourist industry is aimed at the luxury market and caters mainly to visitors from North America. Total tourist arrivals exceeded 1.9 million in 2008, with about half from the US. About 90% of the islands' food and consumer goods must be imported. The Caymanians enjoy one of the highest outputs per capita and one of the highest standards of living in the world.
Subsistence agriculture, together with forestry, remains the backbone of the economy of the Central African Republic (CAR), with about 60% of the population living in outlying areas. The agricultural sector generates more than half of GDP. Timber has accounted for about 16% of export earnings and the diamond industry, for 40%. Important constraints to economic development include the CAR's landlocked position, a poor transportation system, a largely unskilled work force, and a legacy of misdirected macroeconomic policies. Factional fighting between the government and its opponents remains a drag on economic revitalization. Distribution of income is extraordinarily unequal. Grants from France and the international community can only partially meet humanitarian needs.
Chad's primarily agricultural economy will continue to be boosted by major foreign direct investment projects in the oil sector that began in 2000. At least 80% of Chad's population relies on subsistence farming and livestock raising for its livelihood. Chad's economy has long been handicapped by its landlocked position, high energy costs, and a history of instability. Chad relies on foreign assistance and foreign capital for most public and private sector investment projects. A consortium led by two US companies has been investing $3.7 billion to develop oil reserves - estimated at 1 billion barrels - in southern Chad. Chinese companies are also expanding exploration efforts and are currently building a 300-km pipleline and the country's first refinery. The nation's total oil reserves are estimated at 1.5 billion barrels. Oil production came on stream in late 2003. Chad began to export oil in 2004. Cotton, cattle, and gum arabic provide the bulk of Chad's non-oil export earnings.
Chile has a market-oriented economy characterized by a high level of foreign trade and a reputation for strong financial institutions and sound policy that have given it the strongest sovereign bond rating in South America. Exports account for more than one-fourth of GDP, with commodities making up some three-quarters of total exports. Copper alone provides one-third of government revenue. During the early 1990s, Chile's reputation as a role model for economic reform was strengthened when the democratic government of Patricio AYLWIN - which took over from the military in 1990 - deepened the economic reform initiated by the military government. Growth in real GDP averaged 8% during 1991-97, but fell to half that level in 1998 because of tight monetary policies implemented to keep the current account deficit in check and because of lower export earnings - the latter a product of the global financial crisis. A severe drought exacerbated the situation in 1999, reducing crop yields and causing hydroelectric shortfalls and electricity rationing, and Chile experienced negative economic growth for the first time in more than 15 years. In the years since then, growth has averaged 4% per year. Chile deepened its longstanding commitment to trade liberalization with the signing of a free trade agreement with the US, which took effect on 1 January 2004. Chile claims to have more bilateral or regional trade agreements than any other country. It has 57 such agreements (not all of them full free trade agreements), including with the European Union, Mercosur, China, India, South Korea, and Mexico. Over the past five years, foreign direct investment inflows have quadrupled to some $17 billion in 2008, but FDI dropped to about $7 billion in 2009 in the face of diminished investment throughout the world. The Chilean government conducts a rule-based countercyclical fiscal policy, accumulating surpluses in sovereign wealth funds during periods of high copper prices and economic growth, and allowing deficit spending only during periods of low copper prices and growth. As of September 2008, those sovereign wealth funds - kept mostly outside the country and separate from Central Bank reserves - amounted to more than $20 billion. Chile used $4 billion from this fund to finance a fiscal stimulus package to fend off recession. The economy was starting to show signs of a rebound in the fourth quarter, 2009, although GDP still fell more than 1% for the year. In December 2009, the OECD invited Chile to become a full member, after a two year period of compliance with organization mandates. The magnitude 8.8 earthquake that struck Chile in February 2010 was one of the top ten strongest earthquakes on record. It caused considerable damage near the epicenter, located about 70 miles from Concepcion - and about 200 miles southwest of Santiago.
China's economy during the past 30 years has changed from a centrally planned system that was largely closed to international trade to a more market-oriented economy that has a rapidly growing private sector and is a major player in the global economy. Reforms started in the late 1970s with the phasing out of collectivized agriculture, and expanded to include the gradual liberalization of prices, fiscal decentralization, increased autonomy for state enterprises, the foundation of a diversified banking system, the development of stock markets, the rapid growth of the non-state sector, and the opening to foreign trade and investment. Annual inflows of foreign direct investment rose to nearly $108 billion in 2008. China has generally implemented reforms in a gradualist or piecemeal fashion. In recent years, China has re-invigorated its support for leading state-owned enterprises in sectors it considers important to "economic security," explicitly looking to foster globally competitive national champions. After keeping its currency tightly linked to the US dollar for years, China in July 2005 revalued its currency by 2.1% against the US dollar and moved to an exchange rate system that references a basket of currencies. Cumulative appreciation of the renminbi against the US dollar since the end of the dollar peg was more than 20% by late 2008, but the exchange rate has remained virtually pegged since the onset of the global financial crisis. The restructuring of the economy and resulting efficiency gains have contributed to a more than tenfold increase in GDP since 1978. Measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis that adjusts for price differences, China in 2009 stood as the second-largest economy in the world after the US, although in per capita terms the country is still lower middle-income. The Chinese government faces numerous economic development challenges, including: (a) reducing its high domestic savings rate and correspondingly low domestic demand through increased corporate transfers and a strengthened social safety net; (b) sustaining adequate job growth for tens of millions of migrants and new entrants to the work force; (c) reducing corruption and other economic crimes; and (d) containing environmental damage and social strife related to the economy's rapid transformation. Economic development has been more rapid in coastal provinces than in the interior, and approximately 200 million rural laborers and their dependents have relocated to urban areas to find work. One demographic consequence of the "one child" policy is that China is now one of the most rapidly aging countries in the world. Deterioration in the environment - notably air pollution, soil erosion, and the steady fall of the water table, especially in the north - is another long-term problem. China continues to lose arable land because of erosion and economic development. In 2006, China announced that by 2010 it would decrease energy intensity 20% from 2005 levels. In 2009, China announced that by 2020 it would reduce carbon intensity 40% from 2005 levels. The Chinese government seeks to add energy production capacity from sources other than coal and oil, and is focusing on nuclear and other alternative energy development. In 2009, the global economic downturn reduced foreign demand for Chinese exports for the first time in many years. The government vowed to continue reforming the economy and emphasized the need to increase domestic consumption in order to make China less dependent on foreign exports for GDP growth in the future.
Phosphate mining had been the only significant economic activity, but in December 1987 the Australian government closed the mine. In 1991, the mine was reopened. With the support of the government, a $34 million casino opened in 1993, but closed in 1998.
Coconuts, grown throughout the islands, are the sole cash crop. Small local gardens and fishing contribute to the food supply, but additional food and most other necessities must be imported from Australia. There is a small tourist industry.
Colombia experienced accelerating growth between 2002 and 2007, chiefly due to improvements in domestic security, rising commodity prices, and to President URIBE's promarket economic policies. Foreign direct investment reached a record $10 billion in 2008. A series of policies enhanced Colombia's investment climate: President URIBE's pro-market measures; pro-business reforms in the oil and gas sectors; and export-led growth fueled mainly by the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act. Inequality, underemployment, and narcotrafficking remain significant challenges, and Colombia's infrastructure requires major improvements to sustain economic expansion. Because of the global financial crisis and weakening demand for Colombia's exports, Colombia's economy grew only 2.6% in 2008, and contracted slightly in 2009. In response, the URIBE administration cut capital controls, arranged for emergency credit lines from multilateral institutions, and promoted investment incentives, such as Colombia's modernized free trade zone mechanism, legal stability contracts, and new bilateral investment treaties and trade agreements. The government also encouraged exporters to diversify their customer base beyond the United States and Venezuela, traditionally Colombia's largest trading partners. The government is pursuing free trade agreements with European and Asian partners and awaits the approval of a Canadian trade accord by Canada's parliament. In 2009, China replaced Venezuela as Colombia's number two trading partner, largely because of Venezuela's decision to limit the entry of Colombian products. The business sector remains concerned about the impact of the global recession on Colombia's economy, Venezuela's trade restrictions on Colombian exports, an appreciating domestic currency, and the pending US Congressional approval of the US-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement.
One of the world's poorest countries, Comoros is made up of three islands that have inadequate transportation links, a young and rapidly increasing population, and few natural resources. The low educational level of the labor force contributes to a subsistence level of economic activity, high unemployment, and a heavy dependence on foreign grants and technical assistance. Agriculture, including fishing, hunting, and forestry, contributes 40% to GDP, employs 80% of the labor force, and provides most of the exports. Export income is heavily reliant on the three main crops of vanilla, cloves, and ylang-ylang and Comoros' export earnings are easily disrupted by disasters such as fires. The country is not self-sufficient in food production; rice, the main staple, accounts for the bulk of imports. The government - which is hampered by internal political disputes - lacks a comprehensive strategy to attract foreign investment and is struggling to upgrade education and technical training, privatize commercial and industrial enterprises, improve health services, diversify exports, promote tourism, and reduce the high population growth rate. Political problems have inhibited growth, which has averaged only about 1% in 2006-09. Remittances from 150,000 Comorans abroad help supplement GDP. In September 2009 the IMF approved a three-year $21 million loan for Comoros.
The economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo - a nation endowed with vast potential wealth - is slowly recovering from two decades of decline. Conflict that began in May 1997 has dramatically reduced national output and government revenue, increased external debt, and resulted in the deaths of more than 5 million people from violence, famine, and disease. Foreign businesses curtailed operations due to uncertainty about the outcome of the conflict, lack of infrastructure, and the difficult operating environment. Conditions began to improve in late 2002 with the withdrawal of a large portion of the invading foreign troops. The transitional government reopened relations with international financial institutions and international donors, and President KABILA began implementing reforms, although progress has been slow and the International Monetary Fund curtailed their program for the DRC at the end of March 2006 because of fiscal overruns. Much economic activity still occurs in the informal sector, and is not reflected in GDP data. Renewed activity in the mining sector, the source of most export income, boosted Kinshasa's fiscal position and GDP growth from 2006-2008, however, the government's review of mining contracts that began in 2006, combined with a fall in world market prices for the DRC's key mineral exports inflicted major damage on the sector. An uncertain legal framework, corruption, a lack of transparency in government policy are long-term problems for the mining sector and the economy as a whole. The global recession cut economic growth in 2009 to less than half its 2008 level, but donor assistance and diligence on the part of the central bank have brought foreign exchange reserves to their highest levels in 25 years after the financial crisis caused reserves to fall to less than one day's worth of imports in early 2009. The DRC signed a new Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility with the IMF this year.
The economy is a mixture of subsistence agriculture, an industrial sector based largely on oil, and support services, and a government characterized by budget problems and overstaffing. Oil has supplanted forestry as the mainstay of the economy, providing a major share of government revenues and exports. In the early 1980s, rapidly rising oil revenues enabled the government to finance large-scale development projects with GDP growth averaging 5% annually, one of the highest rates in Africa. The government has mortgaged a substantial portion of its oil earnings through oil-backed loans that have contributed to a growing debt burden and chronic revenue shortfalls. Economic reform efforts have been undertaken with the support of international organizations, notably the World Bank and the IMF. However, the reform program came to a halt in June 1997 when civil war erupted. Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO, who returned to power when the war ended in October 1997, publicly expressed interest in moving forward on economic reforms and privatization and in renewing cooperation with international financial institutions. Economic progress was badly hurt by slumping oil prices and the resumption of armed conflict in December 1998, which worsened the republic's budget deficit. The current administration presides over an uneasy internal peace and faces difficult economic challenges of stimulating recovery and reducing poverty. Recovery of oil prices has boosted the economy's GDP and near-term prospects. In March 2006, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) treatment for Congo.
Like many other South Pacific island nations, the Cook Islands' economic development is hindered by the isolation of the country from foreign markets, the limited size of domestic markets, lack of natural resources, periodic devastation from natural disasters, and inadequate infrastructure. Agriculture, employing more than one-quarter of the working population, provides the economic base with major exports made up of copra and citrus fruit. Black pearls are the Cook Islands' leading export. Manufacturing activities are limited to fruit processing, clothing, and handicrafts. Trade deficits are offset by remittances from emigrants and by foreign aid overwhelmingly from New Zealand. In the 1980s and 1990s, the country lived beyond its means, maintaining a bloated public service and accumulating a large foreign debt. Subsequent reforms, including the sale of state assets, the strengthening of economic management, the encouragement of tourism, and a debt restructuring agreement, have rekindled investment and growth.
Prior to the global economic crisis, Costa Rica enjoyed stable economic growth. The economy contracted 1.6% in 2009. While the traditional agricultural exports of bananas, coffee, sugar, and beef are still the backbone of commodity export trade, a variety of industrial and specialized agricultural products have broadened export trade in recent years. High value added goods and services, including microchips, have further bolstered exports. Tourism continues to bring in foreign exchange, as Costa Rica's impressive biodiversity makes it a key destination for ecotourism. Foreign investors remain attracted by the country's political stability and relatively high education levels, as well as the fiscal incentives offered in the free-trade zones; and Costa Rica has attracted one of the highest levels of foreign direct investment per capita in Latin America. However, many business impediments, such as high levels of bureaucracy, difficulty of enforcing contracts, and weak investor protection, remain. Poverty has remained around 15-20% for nearly 20 years, and the strong social safety net that had been put into place by the government has eroded due to increased financial constraints on government expenditures. Unlike the rest of Central America, Costa Rica is not highly dependent on remittances as they only represent about 2% of GDP. Immigration from Nicaragua has increasingly become a concern for the government. The estimated 300,000-500,000 Nicaraguans in Costa Rica legally and illegally are an important source of - mostly unskilled - labor, but also place heavy demands on the social welfare system. Under the ARIAS administration, the government has made strides in reducing internal and external debt - in 2007, Costa Rica had its first budget surplus in 50 years. The US-Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) entered into force on 1 January 2009, after significant delays within the Costa Rican legislature.
Cote d'Ivoire is the world's largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans and a significant producer and exporter of coffee and palm oil. Consequently, the economy is highly sensitive to fluctuations in international prices for these products, and, to a lesser extent, in climatic conditions. Despite government attempts to diversify the economy, it is still heavily dependent on agriculture and related activities, engaging roughly 68% of the population. Since 2006, oil and gas production have become more important engines of economic activity than cocoa. According to IMF statistics, earnings from oil and refined products were $1.3 billion in 2006, while cocoa-related revenues were $1 billion during the same period. Cote d'Ivoire's offshore oil and gas production has resulted in substantial crude oil exports and provides sufficient natural gas to fuel electricity exports to Ghana, Togo, Benin, Mali and Burkina Faso. Oil exploration by a number of consortiums of private companies continues offshore, and President GBAGBO has expressed hope that crude output could reach 200,000 barrels per day by the end of the decade. Since the end of the civil war in 2003, political turmoil has continued to damage the economy, resulting in the loss of foreign investment and slow economic growth. GDP grew by more than 2% in 2008 and nearly 4% in 2009. Per capita income has declined by 15% since 1999.
Once one of the wealthiest of the Yugoslav republics, Croatia's economy suffered badly during the 1991-95 war as output collapsed and the country missed the early waves of investment in Central and Eastern Europe that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall. Between 2000 and 2007, however, Croatia's economic fortunes began to improve slowly, with moderate but steady GDP growth between 4% and 6% led by a rebound in tourism and credit-driven consumer spending. Inflation over the same period has remained tame and the currency, the kuna, stable. Nevertheless, difficult problems still remain, including a stubbornly high unemployment rate, a growing trade deficit and uneven regional development. The state retains a large role in the economy, as privatization efforts often meet stiff public and political resistance. While macroeconomic stabilization has largely been achieved, structural reforms lag because of deep resistance on the part of the public and lack of strong support from politicians. The EU accession process should accelerate fiscal and structural reform. While long term growth prospects for the economy remain strong, Croatia will face significant pressure as a result of the global financial crisis. Croatia's high foreign debt, anemic export sector, strained state budget, and over-reliance on tourism revenue will result in higher risk to economic stability over the medium term.
The government continues to balance the need for economic loosening against a desire for firm political control. It has rolled back limited reforms undertaken in the 1990s to increase enterprise efficiency and alleviate serious shortages of food, consumer goods, and services. The average Cuban's standard of living remains at a lower level than before the downturn of the 1990s, which was caused by the loss of Soviet aid and domestic inefficiencies. Since late 2000, Venezuela has been providing oil on preferential terms, and it currently supplies about 100,000 barrels per day of petroleum products. Cuba has been paying for the oil, in part, with the services of Cuban personnel in Venezuela including some 30,000 medical professionals.
Tourism, petroleum refining, and offshore finance are the mainstays of this small economy, which is closely tied to the outside world. Although GDP grew slightly during the past decade, the island enjoys a high per capita income and a well-developed infrastructure compared with other countries in the region. Curacao has an excellent natural harbor that can accommodate large oil tankers. The Venezuelan state oil company leases the single refinery on the island from the government; most of the oil for the refinery is imported from Venezuela; most of the refined products are exported to the US. Almost all consumer and capital goods are imported, with the US, Brazil, Italy, and Mexico being the major suppliers. The government is attempting to diversify its industry and trade and has signed an Association Agreement with the EU to expand business there. Poor soils and inadequate water supplies hamper the development of agriculture. Budgetary problems complicate reform of the health and pension systems for an aging population.
The area of the Republic of Cyprus under government control has a market economy dominated by the service sector, which accounts for nearly four-fifths of GDP. Tourism, financial services, and real estate are the most important sectors. Erratic growth rates over the past decade reflect the economy's reliance on tourism, which often fluctuates with political instability in the region and economic conditions in Western Europe. Nevertheless, the economy in the area under government control has grown at a rate well above the EU average since 2000. Cyprus joined the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM2) in May 2005 and adopted the euro as its national currency on 1 January 2008. An aggressive austerity program in the preceding years, aimed at paving the way for the euro, helped turn a soaring fiscal deficit (6.3% in 2003) into a surplus of 1.2% in 2008, and reduced inflation to 4.7%. This prosperity came under pressure in 2009, as construction and tourism slowed in the face of reduced foreign demand triggered by the ongoing global financial crisis. Although Cyprus lagged its EU peers in showing signs of stress from the global crisis, the economy tipped into recession in mid 2009 and GDP contracted by 0.8% in 2009. In addition, the budget deficit is on the rise and reached 4.4% of GDP, a violation of the EU's budget deficit criteria of no more than 3% of GDP. In response to the country's deteriorating finances, Nicosia is promising to implement measures to cut the cost of the state payroll, curb tax evasion, and revamp social benefits. As in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots, water shortages are a perennial problem; a few desalination plants have been added to existing plants over the last year and are now on line. After 10 years of drought, the country received substantial rainfall from 2001-04. Since then, rainfall has been well below average, making water rationing a necessity.
The Czech Republic is one of the most stable and prosperous of the post-Communist states of Central and Eastern Europe. Maintaining an open investment climate has been a key element of the Czech Republic's transition from a communist, centrally planned economy to a functioning market economy. As a member of the European Union, with an advantageous location in the center of Europe, a relatively low cost structure, and a well-qualified labor force, the Czech Republic is an attractive destination for foreign investment. Prior to its EU accession in 2004, the Czech government harmonized its laws and regulations with those of the European Union. The small, open, export-driven Czech economy grew by over 6% annually from 2005-2007 and by 2.5% in 2008. The conservative Czech financial system has remained relatively healthy throughout 2009. Nevertheless, the real economy contracted by 4.1% in 2009, mainly due to a significant drop in external demand as the Czech Republic's main export markets fell into recession.
This thoroughly modern market economy features a high-tech agricultural sector, state-of-the-art industry with world-leading firms in pharmaceuticals, maritime shipping and renewable energy, and a high dependence on foreign trade. The Danish economy is also characterized by extensive government welfare measures, an equitable distribution of income, and comfortable living standards. Denmark is a net exporter of food and energy and enjoys a comfortable balance of payments surplus. After a long consumption-driven upswing, Denmark's economy began slowing in early 2007 with the end of a housing boom. The global financial crisis has exacerbated this cyclical slowdown through increased borrowing costs and lower export demand, consumer confidence, and investment. The global financial crises cut Danish GDP by 0.9% in 2008 and 4.3% in 2009. Historically low levels of unemployment have risen sharply with the recession. Denmark is likely to make a slow and modest recovery, though unemployment is likely to rise through 2010. An impending decline in the ratio of workers to retirees will be a major long-term issue. Denmark maintained a healthy budget surplus for many years up to 2008, but the budget balance swung into deficit during 2009. Nonetheless, Denmark's fiscal position remains among the strongest in the EU. Despite previously meeting the criteria to join the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), so far Denmark has decided not to join, although the Danish krone remains pegged to the euro.
The economy is based on service activities connected with the country's strategic location and status as a free trade zone in the Horn of Africa. Two-thirds of Djibouti's inhabitants live in the capital city; the remainder are mostly nomadic herders. Scanty rainfall limits crop production to fruits and vegetables, and most food must be imported. Djibouti provides services as both a transit port for the region and an international transshipment and refueling center. Imports and exports from landlocked neighbor Ethiopia represent 70% of port activity at Djibouti's container terminal. Djibouti has few natural resources and little industry. The nation is, therefore, heavily dependent on foreign assistance to help support its balance of payments and to finance development projects. An unemployment rate of nearly 60% in urban areas continues to be a major problem. While inflation is not a concern, due to the fixed tie of the Djiboutian franc to the US dollar, the artificially high value of the Djiboutian franc adversely affects Djibouti's balance of payments. Per capita consumption dropped an estimated 35% between 1999 and 2006 because of recession, civil war, and a high population growth rate (including immigrants and refugees). Djibouti has experienced relatively minimal impact from the global economic downturn, but its reliance on diesel-generated electricity and imported food leave average consumers vulnerable to global price shocks.
The Dominican economy has been dependent on agriculture - primarily bananas - in years past, but increasingly has been driven by tourism as the government seeks to promote Dominica as an "ecotourism" destination. In order to diversify the island's production base, the government also is attempting to develop an offshore financial sector and has signed an agreement with the EU to develop geothermal energy resources. In 2003, the government began a comprehensive restructuring of the economy - including elimination of price controls, privatization of the state banana company, and tax increases - to address an economic and financial crisis and to meet IMF requirements. This restructuring paved the way for an economic recovery - real growth for 2006 reached a two-decade high - and helped to reduce the debt burden, which remains at about 85% of GDP. Hurricane Dean struck the island in August 2007 causing damages equivalent to 20% of GDP. In 2009, growth slowed as a result of the global recession and is projected to pick up only slightly in 2010.
The Dominican Republic has long been viewed primarily as an exporter of sugar, coffee, and tobacco, but in recent years the service sector has overtaken agriculture as the economy's largest employer, due to growth in tourism and free trade zones. The economy is highly dependent upon the US, the destination for nearly 60% of exports. Remittances from the US amount to about a tenth of GDP, equivalent to almost half of exports and three-quarters of tourism receipts. The country suffers from marked income inequality; the poorest half of the population receives less than one-fifth of GDP, while the richest 10% enjoys nearly 40% of GDP. High unemployment and underemployment remains an important long-term challenge. The Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) came into force in March 2007, boosting investment and exports and reducing losses to the Asian garment industry. In the middle of 2008, however, the Dominican Republic's economy started slowing after several years of strong GDP growth, as the global recession had a significant negative impact on tourism and remittances. The financial crisis and the US recession caused GDP to dip in 2009, but a rebound is expected in 2010.
Ecuador is substantially dependent on its petroleum resources, which have accounted for more than half of the country's export earnings and one-fourth of public sector revenues in recent years. In 1999/2000, Ecuador suffered a severe economic crisis, with GDP contracting by more than 6%. Poverty increased significantly, the banking system collapsed, and Ecuador defaulted on its external debt later that year. In March 2000, Congress approved a series of structural reforms that also provided for the adoption of the US dollar as legal tender. Dollarization stabilized the economy, and positive growth returned in the years that followed, helped by high oil prices, remittances, and increased non-traditional exports. From 2002-06 the economy grew 5.5%, the highest five-year average in 25 years. The poverty rate declined during this period but remained high at 38% in 2006. After moderate growth in 2007, the economy reached a growth rate of 6.5% in 2008, in large part due to high global petroleum prices. Poverty levels declined to about 35% by the end of 2008. President Rafael CORREA, who took office in January 2007, raised the specter of a sovereign debt default and followed through on those threats in December 2008, defaulting on $3.2 billion in international bonds, representing over 80% of Ecuador's private external debt. Economic policies under the CORREA administration - including an announcement in late 2009 terminating 13 bilateral investment treaties, one with the US - have generated economic uncertainty and discouraged both domestic and foreign private investment. The Ecuadorian economy contracted in 2009, mainly due to the global financial crisis, and also the sharp decline in world oil prices and remittance flows.
Occupying the northeast corner of the African continent, Egypt is bisected by the highly fertile Nile valley, where most economic activity takes place. Egypt's economy was highly centralized during the rule of former President Gamal Abdel NASSER but has opened up considerably under former President Anwar EL-SADAT and current President Mohamed Hosni MUBARAK. Cairo from 2004 to 2008 aggressively pursued economic reforms to attract foreign investment and facilitate GDP growth. The global financial crisis has slowed, but not stopped, the reform efforts. The international economic downturn slowed Egypt's GDP growth to 4.7% in 2009, predominately affecting export-oriented sectors, including manufacturing and tourism, and Suez Canal revenues. Growth in domestic sectors, including energy, transportation, telecommunications, retail trade, and construction kept economic growth from falling further in 2009. The government announced three separate stimulus packages between the end of 2008 and the end of 2009 totaling $6.3 billion, but it is not clear how much has been spent. Despite high levels of economic growth over the past few years, living conditions for the average Egyptian remain poor.
Despite being the smallest country geographically in Central America, El Salvador has the third largest economy with a per capita income that is roughly two-thirds that of Costa Rica and Panama, but more than double that of Nicaragua. Growth has been modest in recent years and the economy contracted nearly 3% in 2009. El Salvador leads the region in remittances per capita with inflows equivalent to nearly all export income and about a third of all households receive these financial inflows. In 2006 El Salvador was the first country to ratify the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement. CAFTA has bolstered exports of processed foods, sugar, and ethanol, and supported investment in the apparel sector, which faced Asian competition with the expiration of the Multi-Fiber Agreement in 2005. In anticipation of the declines in the apparel sector's competitiveness, the previous administration sought to diversify the economy by promoting the country as a regional distribution and logistics hub, and by promoting tourism investment through tax incentives. El Salvador has promoted an open trade and investment environment, and has embarked on a wave of privatizations extending to telecom, electricity distribution, banking, and pension funds. In late 2006, the government and the Millennium Challenge Corporation signed a five-year, $461 million compact to stimulate economic growth and reduce poverty in the country's northern region, the primary conflict zone during the civil war, through investments in education, public services, enterprise development, and transportation infrastructure. With the adoption of the US dollar as its currency in 2001, El Salvador lost control over monetary policy. Any counter-cyclical policy response to the downturn must be through fiscal policy, which is constrained by legislative requirements for a two-thirds majority to approve any international financing.
The discovery and exploitation of large oil reserves have contributed to dramatic economic growth in recent years. Forestry, farming, and fishing are also major components of GDP. Subsistence farming predominates. Although pre-independence Equatorial Guinea counted on cocoa production for hard currency earnings, the neglect of the rural economy under successive regimes has diminished potential for agriculture-led growth (the government has stated its intention to reinvest some oil revenue into agriculture). A number of aid programs sponsored by the World Bank and the IMF have been cut off since 1993 because of corruption and mismanagement. No longer eligible for concessional financing because of large oil revenues, the government has been trying to agree on a "shadow" fiscal management program with the World Bank and IMF. Government officials and their family members own most businesses. Undeveloped natural resources include titanium, iron ore, manganese, uranium, and alluvial gold. Growth remained strong in 2008, led by oil, but dropped in 2009, as the price of oil fell.
Since independence from Ethiopia in 1993, Eritrea has faced the economic problems of a small, desperately poor country, accentuated by the recent implementation of restrictive economic policies. Eritrea has a command economy under the control of the sole political party, the People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ). Like the economies of many African nations, a large share of the population - nearly 80% - is engaged in subsistence agriculture, but they produce only a small share of total output. The Ethiopian-Eritrea war in 1998-2000 severely hurt Eritrea's economy. GDP growth fell to zero in 1999 and to -12.1% in 2000. The May 2000 Ethiopian offensive into northern Eritrea caused some $600 million in property damage and loss including losses of $225 million in livestock and 55,000 homes. The attack prevented planting of crops in Eritrea's most productive region, causing food production to drop by 62%. Despite the fighting, Eritrea developed its transportation infrastructure, asphalting new roads, improving its ports, and repairing war-damaged roads and bridges. Since the war's conclusion, the government has maintained a firm grip on the economy, expanding the use of the military and party-owned businesses to complete Eritrea's development agenda. The government strictly controls the use of foreign currency by limiting access and availability. Few private enterprises remain in Eritrea. Eritrea's economy depends heavily on taxes paid by members of the diaspora. Erratic rainfall and the delayed demobilization of agriculturalists from the military continue to interfere with agricultural production, and Eritrea's recent harvests have been unable to meet the food needs of the country. The Government continues to place its hope for additional revenue on the development of several international mining projects. Despite difficulties for international companies in working with the Eritrean Government, a Canadian mining company signed a contract with the government in 2007 and plans to begin mineral extraction in 2010. Eritrea's economic future depends upon its ability to master social problems such as illiteracy, unemployment, and low skills, and more importantly, on the government's willingness to support a true market economy.
Estonia, a 2004 European Union entrant, has a modern market-based economy and one of the higher per capita income levels in Central Europe and the Baltic region. Estonia's successive governments have pursued a free market, pro-business economic agenda and have wavered little in their commitment to pro-market reforms. The current government has pursued relatively sound fiscal policies that have resulted in balanced budgets - at least up until 2009 - and low public debt. Tallinn's priority has been to sustain high growth rates - on average 8% per year from 2003 to 2007. The economy benefits from strong electronics and telecommunications sectors and strong trade ties with Finland, Sweden, and Germany. The government is on track to adopt the euro in 2011. Estonia's economy slowed down markedly and fell sharply into recession in mid-2008, primarily as a result of an investment and consumption slump following the bursting of the real estate market bubble. GDP dropped nearly 15% in 2009, among the world's highest rates of contraction.
Ethiopia's poverty-stricken economy is based on agriculture, accounting for about 45% of GDP, and 85% of total employment. The agricultural sector suffers from frequent drought and poor cultivation practices. Coffee is critical to the Ethiopian economy with exports of some $350 million in 2006, but historically low prices have seen many farmers switching to qat to supplement income. The war with Eritrea in 1998-2000 and recurrent drought have buffeted the economy in particular coffee production. In November 2001, Ethiopia qualified for debt relief from the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, and in December 2005 the IMF forgave Ethiopia's debt. Under Ethiopia's constitution, the state owns all land and provides long-term leases to the tenants; the system continues to hamper growth in the industrial sector as entrepreneurs are unable to use land as collateral for loans. Drought struck again late in 2002, leading to a 3.3% decline in GDP in 2003. Although GDP growth has since rebounded, soaring commodity prices in 2007 and 2008 and the global economic downturn led to balance of payments pressures, partially alleviated by recent emergency funding from the IMF.
Internally, the EU has abolished trade barriers, adopted a common currency, and is striving toward convergence of living standards. Internationally, the EU aims to bolster Europe's trade position and its political and economic power. Because of the great differences in per capita income among member states (from $7,000 to $78,000) and historic national animosities, the EU faces difficulties in devising and enforcing common policies. In the wake of the global economic crisis, the European Commission projected that the EU's economy would shrink by 4% in 2009. In September 2009, the Commission reported that the EU was recovering from the crisis faster than it had projected, however, significant risks to sustainable growth remain, including, deteriorating fiscal positions, rising unemployment, and tight bank lending. In June 2010, prompted by the Greek financial crisis, the EU and the IMF set up a $1 trillion bailout fund that could rescue any member of the EMU from default, aiming to calm market jitters that have diminished the value of the euro. Even prior to the global economic crisis Germany and France flouted EMU member states' treaty obligation to prevent their national budgets from running more than a 3% deficit, and now many more member states are running substantial deficits. Eleven established EU member states introduced the euro as their common currency on 1 January 1999 (Greece did so two years later), but the UK, Sweden, and Denmark chose not to participate. Between 2004 and 2007, the EU admitted 12 countries that are, in general, less advanced economically than the other 15. Of the 12 most recent member states, only Slovenia (1 January 2007), Cyprus and Malta (1 January 2008), and Slovakia (1 January 2009) have adopted the euro; the remaining eight are legally required to adopt the currency upon meeting EU's fiscal and monetary convergence criteria.
The economy was formerly based on agriculture, mainly sheep farming, but today fishing contributes the bulk of economic activity. In 1987, the government began selling fishing licenses to foreign trawlers operating within the Falkland Islands' exclusive fishing zone. These license fees total more than $40 million per year, which help support the island's health, education, and welfare system. Squid accounts for 75% of the fish taken. Dairy farming supports domestic consumption; crops furnish winter fodder. Foreign exchange earnings come from shipments of high-grade wool to the UK and the sale of postage stamps and coins. The islands are now self-financing except for defense. The British Geological Survey announced a 200-mile oil exploration zone around the islands in 1993, and early seismic surveys suggest substantial reserves capable of producing 500,000 barrels per day; to date, no exploitable site has been identified. An agreement between Argentina and the UK in 1995 seeks to defuse licensing and sovereignty conflicts that would dampen foreign interest in exploiting potential oil reserves. Tourism, especially eco-tourism, is increasing rapidly, with about 30,000 visitors in 2001. Another large source of income is interest paid on money the government has in the bank. The British military presence also provides a sizeable economic boost.
The Faroese economy is dependent on fishing, which makes the economy vulnerable to price swings. The sector accounts for about 95% of exports and nearly half of GDP. In early 2008 the Faroese economy began to slow as a result of smaller catches and historically high oil prices. Though oil prices have come down, reduced catches, especially of cod and haddock, have continued to strain the Faroese economy. GDP grew 0.5% in 2008-09. The slowdown in the Faroese economy followed a strong performance since the mid-1990s with annual growth rates averaging close to 6%, mostly a result of increased fish landings and salmon farming, and high export prices. Unemployment reached its lowest level in the first half of 2008, but increased to 5.3% in 2009 and is rising. The Faroese Home Rule Government produced increasing budget surpluses that helped to reduce the large public debt, most of it to Denmark. However, total dependence on fishing and salmon farming make the Faroese economy very vulnerable to fluctuations in world demand, and budget surpluses turned to deficits in 2008-09. Initial discoveries of oil in the Faroese area give hope for eventual oil production, which may provide a foundation for a more diversified economy and less dependence on Danish economic assistance. Aided by an annual subsidy from Denmark amounting to about 6% of Faroese GDP, the Faroese have a standard of living comparable to that of the Danes and other Scandinavians.
Fiji, endowed with forest, mineral, and fish resources, is one of the most developed of the Pacific island economies though still with a large subsistence sector. Sugar exports, remittances from Fijians working abroad, and a growing tourist industry - with 400,000 to 500,000 tourists annually - are the major sources of foreign exchange. Fiji's sugar has special access to European Union markets but will be harmed by the EU's decision to cut sugar subsidies. Sugar processing makes up one-third of industrial activity but is not efficient. Fiji's tourism industry was damaged by the December 2006 coup and is facing an uncertain recovery time. In 2007 tourist arrivals were down almost 6%, with substantial job losses in the service sector, and GDP dipped. The coup has created a difficult business climate. The EU has suspended all aid until the interim government takes steps toward new elections. Long-term problems include low investment, uncertain land ownership rights, and the government's inability to manage its budget. Overseas remittances from Fijians working in Kuwait and Iraq have decreased significantly. Fiji's current account deficit reached 23% of GDP in 2006.
Finland has a highly industrialized, largely free-market economy with per capita output roughly that of Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Trade is important with exports accounting for over one third of GDP in recent years. Finland is strongly competitive in manufacturing - principally the wood, metals, engineering, telecommunications, and electronics industries. Finland excels in high-tech exports such as mobile phones. Except for timber and several minerals, Finland depends on imports of raw materials, energy, and some components for manufactured goods. Because of the climate, agricultural development is limited to maintaining self-sufficiency in basic products. Forestry, an important export earner, provides a secondary occupation for the rural population. Finland had been one of the best performing economies within the EU in recent years and its banks and financial markets avoided the worst of global financial crisis. However, the world slowdown hit exports and domestic demand hard in 2009, with Finland experiencing one of the deepest contractions in the euro zone, and will serve as a brake on economic growth in 2010. The slowdown of construction, other investment, and exports will cause unemployment to rise further from the 2009 level. The recession will leave a deep, long-lasting mark on general government finances and the debt ratio. It turned previously strong public finances into deficit within a year. In the next few years, the great challenge of economic policy will be to implement a post-recession exit strategy in which measures supporting growth will be combined with general government adjustment measures. Longer-term, Finland must address a rapidly aging population and decreasing productivity that threaten competitiveness, fiscal sustainability, and economic growth.
France is in the midst of transition from a well-to-do modern economy that has featured extensive government ownership and intervention to one that relies more on market mechanisms. The government has partially or fully privatized many large companies, banks, and insurers, and has ceded stakes in such leading firms as Air France, France Telecom, Renault, and Thales. It maintains a strong presence in some sectors, particularly power, public transport, and defense industries. With at least 75 million foreign tourists per year, France is the most visited country in the world and maintains the third largest income in the world from tourism. France's leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that reduce income disparity and the impact of free markets on public health and welfare. France has weathered the global economic crisis better than most other big EU economies because of more resilient consumer and government spending, and lower exposure to the downturn in global demand. Nonetheless, France's real GDP contracted 2.2% in 2009, while the unemployment rate increased from 7.4% in 2008 to nearly 10%. In response to the economic crisis the government passed a $35 billion stimulus plan in February 2009 centered on investment in infrastructure and tax breaks for small businesses. Paris also created a $25 billion strategic investment fund to protect French companies from foreign takeovers, and President Nicolas SARKOZY proposed a $52 billion plan for strategic investments in science and technology. These various stimulus and investment measures are contributing to a deterioration of France's public finances. France's tax burden remains one of the highest in Europe - at nearly 50% of GDP. The government budget deficit rose sharply from 3.4% of GDP in 2008 to over 8% of GDP in 2009, topping the 3% euro-zone ceiling in both years. SARKOZY is expected to seek passage of some structural reforms - notably to the pension system and government bureaucracy - which have the potential to cut public expenditures, while he may delay additional, more costly, reforms.
Since 1962, when France stationed military personnel in the region, French Polynesia has changed from a subsistence agricultural economy to one in which a high proportion of the work force is either employed by the military or supports the tourist industry. With the halt of French nuclear testing in 1996, the military contribution to the economy fell sharply. Tourism accounts for about one-fourth of GDP and is a primary source of hard currency earnings. Other sources of income are pearl farming and deep-sea commercial fishing. The small manufacturing sector primarily processes agricultural products. The territory benefits substantially from development agreements with France aimed principally at creating new businesses and strengthening social services.
Economic activity is limited to servicing meteorological and geophysical research stations, military bases, and French and other fishing fleets. The fish catches landed on Iles Kerguelen by foreign ships are exported to France and Reunion.
Gabon enjoys a per capita income four times that of most sub-Saharan African nations, but because of high income inequality, a large proportion of the population remains poor. Gabon depended on timber and manganese until oil was discovered offshore in the early 1970s. The oil sector now accounts for more than 50% of GDP. Gabon continues to face fluctuating prices for its oil, timber, and manganese exports. Despite the abundance of natural wealth, poor fiscal management hobbles the economy. In 1997, an IMF mission to Gabon criticized the government for overspending on off-budget items, overborrowing from the central bank, and slipping on its schedule for privatization and administrative reform. The rebound of oil prices from 1999 to 2008 helped growth, but drops in production have hampered Gabon from fully realizing potential gains. Gabon signed a 14-month Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF in May 2007, and received Paris Club debt rescheduling later that year.
The Gambia has sparse natural resource deposits and a limited agricultural base, and relies in part on remittances from workers overseas. About three-quarters of the population depends on the agricultural sector for its livelihood. Small-scale manufacturing activity features the processing of peanuts, fish, and hides. The Gambia's natural beauty and proximity to Europe has made it one of the larger markets for tourism in West Africa, boosted by government and private sector investments in eco-tourism and upscale facilities. In the past few years, the Gambia's re-export trade - traditionally a major segment of economic activity - has declined, but its banking sector has grown rapidly. Unemployment and underemployment rates remain high; economic progress depends on sustained bilateral and multilateral aid, on responsible government economic management, and on continued technical assistance from multilateral and bilateral donors.
High population density, limited land and sea access, continuing isolation, and strict internal and external security controls have degraded economic conditions in the Gaza Strip - the smaller of the two areas in the Palestinian Territories. Israeli-imposed crossings closures, which became more restrictive after HAMAS violently took over the territory in June 2007, and fighting between HAMAS and Israel during December 2008-January 2009, resulted in the near collapse of most of the private sector, extremely high unemployment, and high poverty rates. Shortages of many goods are met through the HAMAS-controlled black market tunnel trade that flourishes under the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt.
Georgia's economy sustained GDP growth of more than 10% in 2006-07, based on strong inflows of foreign investment and robust government spending. However, GDP growth slowed to 2.1% in 2008 following the August 2008 conflict with Russia, and the economy contracted by about 7% in 2009 as foreign direct investment and workers' remittances declined in the wake of the global financial crisis. Georgia's main economic activities include the cultivation of agricultural products such as grapes, citrus fruits, and hazelnuts; mining of manganese and copper; and output of a small industrial sector producing alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, metals, machinery, aircraft and chemicals. Areas of recent improvement include growth in the construction, banking services, and mining sectors, but reduced availability of external investment and the slowing regional economy are emerging risks. The country imports nearly all its needed supplies of natural gas and oil products. It has sizeable hydropower capacity, a growing component of its energy supplies. Georgia has overcome the chronic energy shortages and gas supply interruptions of the past by renovating hydropower plants and by increasingly relying on natural gas imports from Azerbaijan instead of from Russia. The construction on the Baku-T'bilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Baku-T'bilisi-Erzerum gas pipeline, and the Kars-Akhalkalaki Railroad are part of a strategy to capitalize on Georgia's strategic location between Europe and Asia and develop its role as a transit point for gas, oil and other goods. Georgia has historically suffered from a chronic failure to collect tax revenues; however, the government, since coming to power in 2004, has simplified the tax code, improved tax administration, increased tax enforcement, and cracked down on petty corruption. However, the current economic downturn has eroded the tax base and led to a decline in the budget surplus and an increase in public borrowing needs. The country is pinning its hopes for renewed growth on a determined effort to continue to liberalize the economy by reducing regulation, taxes, and corruption in order to attract foreign investment, but the economy faces a more difficult investment climate both domestically and internationally.
The German economy - the fifth largest economy in the world in PPP terms and Europe's largest - is a leading exporter of machinery, vehicles, chemicals, and household equipment and benefits from a highly skilled labor force. Like its western European neighbors, Germany faces significant demographic challenges to sustained long-term growth. Low fertility rates and declining net immigration are increasing pressure on the country's social welfare system and necessitate structural reforms. The modernization and integration of the eastern German economy - where unemployment can exceed 20% in some municipalities - continues to be a costly long-term process, with annual transfers from west to east amounting in 2008 alone to roughly $12 billion. Reforms launched by the government of Chancellor Gerhard SCHROEDER (1998-2005), deemed necessary to address chronically high unemployment and low average growth, contributed to strong growth in 2006 and 2007 and falling unemployment, which in 2008 reached a new post-reunification low of 7.8%. These advances, as well as a government subsidized, reduced working hour scheme, have helped to explain the relatively modest increase in unemployment during Germany's 2008-09 recession - the deepest since World War II. GDP grew just over 1% in 2008 and contracted roughly 5% in 2009. Germany crept out of recession in the second and third quarters of 2009, thanks largely to rebounding manufacturing orders and exports - primarily outside the Euro Zone - and relatively steady consumer demand. The German economy probably will recover to about 1.5% growth for the year 2010. However, a relatively strong euro, tighter credit markets, and an anticipated bump in unemployment could cloud Germany's medium-term recovery prospects. Stimulus and stabilization efforts initiated in 2008 and 2009 and tax cuts introduced in Chancellor Angela MERKEL's second term will increase Germany's record budget deficit, which is expected to exceed 5% of GDP in 2010. The EU has given Germany until 2013 to get its consolidated budget deficit below 3% of GDP. A new constitutional amendment likewise limits the federal government to structural deficits of no more than 0.35% of GDP per annum as of 2016.
Well endowed with natural resources, Ghana has roughly twice the per capita output of the poorest countries in West Africa. Even so, Ghana remains heavily dependent on international financial and technical assistance. Gold and cocoa production and individual remittances are major sources of foreign exchange. Oil production is expected to expand in late 2010 or early 2011. The domestic economy continues to revolve around agriculture, which accounts for more than a third of GDP and employs more than half of the work force, mainly small landholders. Ghana signed a Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact in 2006, which aims to assist in transforming Ghana's agricultural sector. Ghana opted for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) program in 2002, and is also benefiting from the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative that took effect in 2006. Thematic priorities under its current Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy, which also provides the framework for development partner assistance, are: macroeconomic stability; private sector competitiveness; human resource development; and good governance and civic responsibility. Sound macro-economic management along with high prices for gold and cocoa helped sustain GDP growth in 2008 and 2009.
Self-sufficient Gibraltar benefits from an extensive shipping trade, offshore banking, and its position as an international conference center. The British military presence has been sharply reduced and now contributes about 7% to the local economy, compared with 60% in 1984. The financial sector, tourism (almost 5 million visitors in 1998), shipping services fees, and duties on consumer goods also generate revenue. The financial sector, the shipping sector, and tourism each contribute 25%-30% of GDP. Telecommunications accounts for another 10%. In recent years, Gibraltar has seen major structural change from a public to a private sector economy, but changes in government spending still have a major impact on the level of employment.
Greece has a capitalist economy with the public sector accounting for about 40% of GDP and with per capita GDP about two-thirds that of the leading euro-zone economies. Tourism provides 15% of GDP. Immigrants make up nearly one-fifth of the work force, mainly in agricultural and unskilled jobs. Greece is a major beneficiary of EU aid, equal to about 3.3% of annual GDP. The Greek economy grew by nearly 4.0% per year between 2003 and 2007, due partly to infrastructural spending related to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, and in part to an increased availability of credit, which has sustained record levels of consumer spending. But growth dropped to 2% in 2008. The economy went into recession in 2009 and contracted by 2%, as a result of the world financial crisis, tightening credit conditions, and Athens' failure to address a growing budget deficit, which was triggered by falling state revenues, and increased government expenditures. Greece violated the EU's Growth and Stability Pact budget deficit criterion of no more than 3% of GDP from 2001 to 2006, but finally met that criterion in 2007-08, before exceeding it again in 2009, with the deficit reaching 13.7% of GDP. Public debt, inflation, and unemployment are above the euro-zone average while per capita income is below; debt and unemployment rose in 2009, while inflation subsided. Eroding public finances, a credibility gap stemming from inaccurate and misreported statistics, and consistent underperformance on following through with reforms prompted major credit rating agencies in late 2009 to downgrade Greece's international debt rating, and has led the country into a financial crisis. Under intense pressure by the EU and international market participants, the government has adopted a medium-term austerity program that includes cutting government spending, reducing the size of the public sector, decreasing tax evasion, reforming the health care and pension systems, and improving competitiveness through structural reforms to the labor and product markets. Athens, however, faces long-term challenges to push through unpopular reforms in the face of often vocal opposition from the country's powerful labor unions and the general public. Greek labor unions are striking over new austerity measures, but the strikes so far have had a limited impact on the government's will to adopt reforms. An uptic in widespread unrest, however, could challenge the government's ability to implement reforms and meet budget targets, and could also lead to rioting or violence. In April 2010 a leading credit agency assigned Greek debt its lowest possible credit rating; in May, the International Monetary Fund and Eurozone governments provided Greece emergency short- and medium-term loans worth $147 billion so that the country could make debt repayments to creditors. In exchange for the largest bailout ever assembled, the government announced combined spending cuts and tax increases totalling $40 billion over three years, on top of the tough austerity measures already taken.
The economy remains critically dependent on exports of shrimp and fish and on a substantial subsidy - about $650 million in 2009 - from the Danish Government, which supplies nearly 60% of government revenues. The public sector, including publicly owned enterprises and the municipalities, plays the dominant role in Greenland's economy. Greenland's GDP contracted about 2% in 2009 as a result of the global economic slowdown. Budget surpluses turned to deficits beginning in 2007 and unemployment has risen. During the last decade the Greenland Home Rule Government (GHRG) pursued conservative fiscal and monetary policies, but public pressure has increased for better schools, health care and retirement systems. The Greenlandic economy has benefited from increasing catches and exports of shrimp, Greenland halibut and, more recently, crabs. Due to Greenland's continued dependence on exports of fish - which account for 82% of exports - the economy remains very sensitive to foreign developments. International consortia are increasingly active in exploring for hydrocarbon resources off Greenland's western coast, and international studies indicate the potential for oil and gas fields in northern and northeastern Greenland. In May 2007 a US aluminum producer concluded a memorandum of understanding with the Greenland Home Rule Government to build an aluminum smelter and a power generation facility, which takes advantage of Greenland's abundant hydropower potential. Tourism also offers another avenue of economic growth for Greenland, with increasing numbers of cruise lines now operating in Greenland's western and southern waters during the peak summer tourism season.
Grenada relies on tourism as its main source of foreign exchange especially since the construction of an international airport in 1985. Hurricanes Ivan (2004) and Emily (2005) severely damaged the agricultural sector - particularly nutmeg and cocoa cultivation - which had been a key driver of economic growth. Grenada has rebounded from the devastating effects of the hurricanes but is now saddled with the debt burden from the rebuilding process. Public debt-to-GDP is nearly 110%, leaving the THOMAS administration limited room to engage in public investments and social spending. Strong performances in construction and manufacturing, together with the development of tourism and an offshore financial industry, have also contributed to growth in national output; however, economic growth will likely be stagnant in 2010 after a sizeable contraction in 2009, because of the global economic slowdown's effects on tourism and remittances.
The economy depends largely on US military spending and tourism. Total US grants, wage payments, and procurement outlays amounted to $1.3 billion in 2004. Over the past 30 years, the tourist industry has grown to become the largest income source following national defense. The Guam economy continues to experience expansion in both its tourism and military sectors.
Guatemala is the most populous of the Central American countries with a GDP per capita roughly one-half that of the average for Latin America and the Caribbean. The agricultural sector accounts for nearly 15% of GDP and half of the labor force; key agricultural exports include coffee, sugar, and bananas. The 1996 peace accords, which ended 36 years of civil war, removed a major obstacle to foreign investment, and since then Guatemala has pursued important reforms and macroeconomic stabilization. The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) entered into force in July 2006 spurring increased investment and diversification of exports, with the largest increases in ethanol and non-traditional agricultural exports. While CAFTA has helped improve the investment climate, concerns over security, the lack of skilled workers and poor infrastructure continue to hamper foreign direct investment. The distribution of income remains highly unequal with the richest decile comprising over 40% of Guatemala's overall consumption. More than half of the population is below the national poverty line and 15% lives in extreme poverty. Poverty among indigenous groups, which make up 38% of the population, averages 76% and extreme poverty rises to 28%. 43% of children under five are chronically malnourished, one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world. President COLOM entered into office with the promise to increase education, healthcare, and rural development, and in April 2008 he inaugurated a conditional cash transfer program, modeled after programs in Brazil and Mexico, that provide financial incentives for poor families to keep their children in school and get regular health check-ups. Given Guatemala's large expatriate community in the United States, it is the top remittance recipient in Central America, with inflows serving as a primary source of foreign income equivalent to nearly two-thirds of exports. The economy contracted in 2009 as export demand from US and other Central American markets fell and foreign investment slowed amid the global recession. The economy will likely recover gradually in 2010 and return to more normal growth rates by 2012.
Financial services - banking, fund management, insurance - account for about 23% of employment and about 55% of total income in this tiny, prosperous Channel Island economy. Tourism, manufacturing, and horticulture, mainly tomatoes and cut flowers, have been declining. Financial services, construction, retail, and the public sector have been growing. Light tax and death duties make Guernsey a popular tax haven. The evolving economic integration of the EU nations is changing the environment under which Guernsey operates.
Guinea possesses major mineral, hydropower, and agricultural resources, yet remains an underdeveloped nation. The country has almost half of the world's bauxite reserves. The mining sector accounts for more than 70% of exports. Long-run improvements in government fiscal arrangements, literacy, and the legal framework are needed if the country is to move out of poverty. Investor confidence has been sapped by rampant corruption, a lack of electricity and other infrastructure, a lack of skilled workers, and the political uncertainty because of the death of President Lansana CONTE in December 2008. International donors, including the G-8, the IMF, and the World Bank, cut their development programming significantly in response to the coup. Growth rose slightly in 2006-08, primarily due to increases in global demand and commodity prices on world markets, but the standard of living fell. The Guinea franc depreciated sharply as the prices for basic necessities like food and fuel rose beyond the reach of many Guineans.
One of the six poorest countries in the world, Guinea-Bissau depends mainly on farming and fishing. Cashew crops have increased remarkably in recent years, and the country now ranks fifth in cashew production. Guinea-Bissau exports fish and seafood along with small amounts of peanuts, palm kernels, and timber. Rice is the major crop and staple food. However, intermittent fighting between Senegalese-backed government troops and a military junta destroyed much of the country's infrastructure and caused widespread damage to the economy in 1998; the civil war led to a 28% drop in GDP that year, with partial recovery in 1999-2002. Before the war, trade reform and price liberalization were the most successful part of the country's structural adjustment program under IMF sponsorship. The tightening of monetary policy and the development of the private sector had also begun to reinvigorate the economy. Because of high costs, the development of petroleum, phosphate, and other mineral resources is not a near-term prospect. Offshore oil prospecting is underway in several sectors but has not yet led to commercially viable crude deposits. The inequality of income distribution is one of the most extreme in the world. The government and international donors continue to work out plans to forward economic development from a low base. In December 2003, the World Bank, IMF, and UNDP were forced to step in to provide emergency budgetary support in the amount of $107 million for 2004, representing over 80% of the total national budget. Government drift and indecision, however, resulted in continued low growth in 2002-06. Higher raw material prices boosted growth in 2007-09.
The Guyanese economy exhibited moderate economic growth in recent years and is based largely on agriculture and extractive industries. The economy is heavily dependent upon the export of six commodities - sugar, gold, bauxite, shrimp, timber, and rice - which represent nearly 60% of the country's GDP and are highly susceptible to adverse weather conditions and fluctuations in commodity prices. Guyana's entrance into the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) in January 2006 has broadened the country's export market, primarily in the raw materials sector. Economic recovery since a 2005 flood-related contraction was buoyed by increases in remittances and foreign direct investment in the sugar and rice industries as well as the mining sector. Chronic problems include a shortage of skilled labor and a deficient infrastructure. The government is juggling a sizable external debt against the urgent need for expanded public investment. In March 2007, the Inter-American Development Bank, Guyana's principal donor, canceled Guyana's nearly $470 million debt, equivalent to nearly 48% of GDP, which along with other Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) debt forgiveness brought the debt-to-GDP ratio down from 183% in 2006 to 120% in 2007. Guyana became heavily indebted as a result of the inward-looking, state-led development model pursued in the 1970s and 1980s. Growth turned negative in 2009 as a result of the world recession. The slowdown in the domestic economy and lower import costs helped to narrow the country's current account deficit in 2009, despite lower earnings from exports, but growth is expected to rebound in 2010 as exports benefit from higher commodity prices.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty. Two-thirds of all Haitians depend on the agricultural sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming, and remain vulnerable to damage from frequent natural disasters, exacerbated by the country's widespread deforestation. While the economy has recovered in recent years, registering positive growth since 2005, four tropical storms in 2008 severely damaged the transportation infrastructure and agricultural sector. US economic engagement under the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act, passed in December 2006, has boosted apparel exports and investment by providing tariff-free access to the US. A second version of the legislation, passed in October 2008 and dubbed HOPE II, has further improved the export environment for the apparel sector by extending preferences to 2018; the apparel sector accounts for two-thirds of Haitian exports and nearly one-tenth of GDP. Remittances are the primary source of foreign exchange, equaling nearly a quarter of GDP and more than twice the earnings from exports. Haiti suffers from a lack of investment because of insecurity and limited infrastructure, and a severe trade deficit. In 2005, Haiti paid its arrears to the World Bank, paving the way for reengagement with the Bank. Haiti received debt forgiveness for about $525 million of its debt through the Highly-Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative in 2009. The government relies on formal international economic assistance for fiscal sustainability.
The Holy See is supported financially by a variety of sources, including investments, real estate income, and donations from Catholic individuals, dioceses, and institutions; these help fund the Roman Curia (Vatican bureaucracy), diplomatic missions, and media outlets. The separate Vatican City State budget includes the Vatican museums and post office and is supported financially by the sale of stamps, coins, medals, and tourist mementos; by fees for admission to museums; and by publications sales. Moreover, an annual collection taken up in dioceses and direct donations go to a non-budgetary fund known as Peter's Pence, which is used directly by the Pope for charity, disaster relief, and aid to churches in developing nations. The incomes and living standards of lay workers are comparable to those of counterparts who work in the city of Rome.
Honduras, the second poorest country in Central America, suffers from extraordinarily unequal distribution of income, as well as high unemployment and underemployment. The economy relies heavily on a narrow range of exports, notably apparel, bananas, and coffee, making it vulnerable to natural disasters and shifts in commodity prices; however, investments in the maquila and non-traditional export sectors are slowly diversifying the economy. Nearly half of Honduras's economic activity is directly tied to the US, with exports to the US equivalent to 30% of GDP and remittances for another 22%. The US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) came into force in 2006 and has helped foster investment, but physical and political insecurity may deter potential investors. The economy is expected to register marginally positive economic growth in 2010, insufficient to improve living standards for the nearly 60% of the population in poverty. Despite improvements in tax collections, the government's fiscal deficit is growing due to increases in current expenditures from increasing public wages. Tegucigalpa lacks an IMF agreement; its Stand-By Agreement expired in April 2009 and former President ZELAYA's commitment to a fixed exchange rate undermined a follow-on.
Hong Kong has a free market economy highly dependent on international trade and finance - the value of goods and services trade, including the sizable share of re-exports, is about four times GDP. Hong Kong's open economy left it exposed to the global economic slowdown, but its increasing integration with China helped it recover from the downturn more quickly than many observers anticipated. Hong Kong over the past few years has become increasingly integrated with China through trade, tourism, and financial links. The Hong Kong government is promoting the Special Administrative Region (SAR) as the site for Chinese Renminbi (RMB) internationalization. Hong Kong residents are allowed to establish RMB-denominated savings accounts; RMB-denominated corporate and Chinese government bonds have been issued in Hong Kong; and RMB trade settlement is allowed. The government is pursuing efforts to introduce additional use of RMB in Hong Kong financial markets. The mainland has long been Hong Kong's largest trading partner, accounting for about half of Hong Kong's exports by value. As a result of China's easing of travel restrictions, the number of mainland tourists to the territory has surged from 4.5 million in 2001 to 17.7 million in 2009, outnumbering visitors from all other countries combined. Hong Kong has also established itself as the premier stock market for Chinese firms seeking to list abroad. About 40% of the firms listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange are now mainland Chinese companies. These firms account for 60% of the Exchange's market capitalization and over 70% of turnover. During the past decade, as Hong Kong's manufacturing industry moved to the mainland, its service industry has grown rapidly and in 2009 accounted for more than 90% of the territory's GDP. Hong Kong's natural resources are limited, and food and raw materials must be imported. GDP growth averaged a strong 4% from 1989 to 2008. Hong Kong's GDP fell in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis, but a recovery began in third quarter 2009. Hong Kong continues to link its currency closely to the US dollar, maintaining an arrangement established in 1983.
Hungary has made the transition from a centrally planned to a market economy, with a per capita income nearly two-thirds that of the EU-25 average. The private sector accounts for more than 80% of GDP. Foreign ownership of and investment in Hungarian firms is widespread, with cumulative foreign direct investment totaling more than $200 billion since 1989. The government's austerity measures, imposed since late 2006, have reduced the budget deficit from over 9% of GDP in 2006 to 3.3% in 2008. Hungary's impending inability to service its short-term debt - brought on by the global financial crisis in late 2008 - led Budapest to seek and receive an IMF-arranged financial assistance package worth over $25 billion. The global economic downturn, declining exports, and low domestic consumption and fixed asset accumulation, dampened by government austerity measures, resulted in an economic contraction of 6.7% in 2009.
Iceland's Scandinavian-type social-market economy combines a capitalist structure and free-market principles with an extensive welfare system. Prior to the 2008 crisis, Iceland had achieved high growth, low unemployment, and a remarkably even distribution of income. The economy depends heavily on the fishing industry, which provides 40% of export earnings, more than 12% of GDP, and employs 7% of the work force. It remains sensitive to declining fish stocks as well as to fluctuations in world prices for its main exports: fish and fish products, aluminum, and ferrosilicon. Iceland's economy has been diversifying into manufacturing and service industries in the last decade, new developments in software production, biotechnology, and tourism. Abundant geothermal and hydropower sources have attracted substantial foreign investment in the aluminum sector and boosted economic growth, although the financial crisis has put several investment projects on hold. Much of Iceland's economic growth in recent years came as the result of a boom in domestic demand following the rapid expansion of the country's financial sector. Domestic banks expanded aggressively in foreign markets, and consumers and businesses borrowed heavily in foreign currencies, following the privatization of the banking sector in the early 2000s. Worsening global financial conditions throughout 2008 resulted in a sharp depreciation of the krona vis-a-vis other major currencies. The foreign exposure of Icelandic banks, whose loans and other assets totaled more than 10 times the country's GDP, became unsustainable. Iceland's three largest banks collapsed in late 2008. The country secured over $10 billion in loans from the IMF and other countries to stabilize its currency and financial sector, and to back government guarantees for foreign deposits in Icelandic banks. GDP fell 6.6% in 2009, and unemployment peaked at 9.4% in February 2009. GDP growth is expected to be near zero in 2010. Since the collapse of Iceland's financial sector, government economic priorities have included stabilizing the krona, reducing Iceland's high budget deficit, containing inflation, restructuring the financial sector, and diversifying the economy. Three new banks were established to take over the domestic assets of the collapsed banks. Two of them have foreign majority ownership, while the State holds a majority of the shares of the third. British and Dutch authorities have pressed claims against Icelandic Landsbanki to compensate their citizens for losses suffered on deposits held in that bank. The collapse of the financial system initially led to a major shift in opinion in favor of joining the EU and adopting the euro, although support has dropped substantially because of concern about losing control of their fishing resources and in reaction to measures taken by EU partners following the financial crisis.
India is developing into an open-market economy, yet traces of its past autarkic policies remain. Economic liberalization, including reduced controls on foreign trade and investment, began in the early 1990s and has served to accelerate the country's growth, which has averaged more than 7% per year since 1997. India's diverse economy encompasses traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries, and a multitude of services. Slightly more than half of the work force is in agriculture, but services are the major source of economic growth, accounting for more than half of India's output, with only one-third of its labor force. India has capitalized on its large educated English-speaking population to become a major exporter of information technology services and software workers. An industrial slowdown early in 2008, followed by the global financial crisis, led annual GDP growth to slow to 6.5% in 2009, still the second highest growth in the world among major economies. India escaped the brunt of the global financial crisis because of cautious banking policies and a relatively low dependence on exports for growth. Domestic demand, driven by purchases of consumer durables and automobiles, has re-emerged as a key driver of growth, as exports have fallen since the global crisis started. India's fiscal deficit increased substantially in 2008 due to fuel and fertilizer subsidies, a debt waiver program for farmers, a job guarantee program for rural workers, and stimulus expenditures. The government abandoned its deficit target and allowed the deficit to reach 6.8% of GDP in FY10. Nevertheless, as shares of GDP, both government spending and taxation are among the lowest in the world. The government has expressed a commitment to fiscal stimulus in FY10, and to deficit reduction the following two years. It has increased the pace of privatization of government-owned companies, partly to offset the deficit. India's long term challenges include widespread poverty, inadequate physical and social infrastructure, limited employment opportunities, and insufficient access to basic and higher education. Over the long-term, a growing population and changing demographics will only exacerbate social, economic, and environmental problems.
The Indian Ocean provides major sea routes connecting the Middle East, Africa, and East Asia with Europe and the Americas. It carries a particularly heavy traffic of petroleum and petroleum products from the oilfields of the Persian Gulf and Indonesia. Its fish are of great and growing importance to the bordering countries for domestic consumption and export. Fishing fleets from Russia, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan also exploit the Indian Ocean, mainly for shrimp and tuna. Large reserves of hydrocarbons are being tapped in the offshore areas of Saudi Arabia, Iran, India, and western Australia. An estimated 40% of the world's offshore oil production comes from the Indian Ocean. Beach sands rich in heavy minerals and offshore placer deposits are actively exploited by bordering countries, particularly India, South Africa, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
Indonesia, a vast polyglot nation, has weathered the global financial crisis relatively smoothly because of its heavy reliance on domestic consumption as the driver of economic growth. Although the economy slowed significantly from the 6%-plus growth rate recorded in 2007 and 2008, expanding at 4% in the first half of 2009, Indonesia outperformed its regional neighbors and joined China and India as the only G20 members posting growth during the crisis. The government used fiscal stimulus measures and monetary policy to counter the effects of the crisis and offered cash transfers to poor families; in addition, campaign spending in advance of legislative and presidential elections in April and July helped buoy consumption. The government made economic advances under the first administration of President YUDHOYONO, introducing significant reforms in the financial sector, including tax and customs reforms, the use of Treasury bills, and capital market development and supervision. Indonesia's debt-to-GDP ratio in recent years has declined steadily because of increasingly robust GDP growth and sound fiscal stewardship. Indonesia still struggles with poverty and unemployment, inadequate infrastructure, corruption, a complex regulatory environment, and unequal resource distribution among regions. YUDHOYONO's reelection, with respected economist BOEDIONO as his vice president, suggests broad continuity of economic policy, although the start of their term has been marred by corruption scandals. The government in 2010 faces the ongoing challenge of improving Indonesia's insufficient infrastructure to remove impediments to economic growth, while addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation needs, particularly with regard to conserving Indonesia's forests and peatlands.
Iran's economy is marked by an inefficient state sector, reliance on the oil sector, which provides the majority of government revenues, and statist policies, which create major distortions throughout the system. Most economic activity is controlled by the state. Private sector activity is typically limited to small-scale workshops, farming, and services. Price controls, subsidies, and other rigidities weigh down the economy, undermining the potential for private-sector-led growth. Significant informal market activity flourishes. The legislature recently passed President Mahmud AHMADI-NEJAD's bill to reduce subsidies, particularly on food and energy. The bill would phase out subsidies - which benefit Iran's upper and middle classes the most - over three to five years and replace them with cash payments to Iran's lower classes. This is the most extensive economic reform since the government elevated gasoline rationing in 2007. However, previous government-led efforts to reform subsidies - such as in the 1990s under former president Hashemi RAFSANJANI - were met with stiff resistance and violent protests. High oil prices in recent years allowed Iran to greatly increase its export earnings and amass nearly $100 billion in foreign exchange reserves. But with Iran's oil export price from March to December 2009 averaging just $55 per barrel and with a slight decline in oil production over the past four years, the Iranian government is facing budget constraints, and Iran's foreign exchange reserves dipped to $81 billion at the end of 2009. Tehran formulated its 2009 budget to anticipate lower oil prices and has reduced some spending. Although inflation has fallen substantially because of lower oil prices, Iran continues to suffer from double-digit unemployment and underemployment. Underemployment among Iran's educated youth has convinced many to seek jobs overseas, resulting in a significant "brain drain."
Decreased insurgent attacks and an improved security environment are helping to spur economic activity, particularly in the retail sector. Broader economic improvement, long-term fiscal health, and sustained increases in standard of living still depend on the government passing major policy reforms and developing Iraq's massive oil reserves. Potential foreign investors viewed Iraq with much more interest in 2009, but are still hampered by difficulties in acquiring land for projects and other regulatory impediments. Iraq's economy is dominated by the oil sector, which provides over 90% of government revenue and 80% of foreign exchange earnings. Oil exports have returned to levels seen before Operation Iraqi Freedom and government revenues have rebounded along with global oil prices since mid-2009. Iraq is making modest progress in building the institutions needed to implement economic policy. Iraq has held serious discussions with both the IMF and World Bank for new programs that would help further strengthen Iraq's economic institutions. Some reform-minded leaders within the Iraqi government are seeking to pass laws to strengthen the economy. This legislation includes a package of laws to establish a modern legal framework for the oil sector and a mechanism to equitably divide oil revenues within the nation, although these and other important reforms are still under contentious and sporadic negotiation. Iraq's recent contracts with major oil companies have the potential to greatly expand oil revenues, but Iraq will need to upgrade its refinery and export infrastructure to enable these deals to reach their potential. The Government of Iraq is pursuing a strategy to gain foreign investment in Iraq's economy. This includes an amendment to the National Investment Law, multiple international trade and investment events, as well as potential participation in joint ventures with state-owned enterprises. Provincial Councils also are using their own budgets to promote and facilitate investment at the local level. The Central Bank has successfully held the exchange rate at approximately 1170 Iraqi dinar/US dollar since January 2009. Inflation has decreased consistently since 2006 as the security situation has improved. However, Iraqi leaders remain hard pressed to translate macroeconomic gains into improved lives for ordinary Iraqis. Unemployment remains a problem throughout the country. Reducing corruption and implementing structural reforms, such as bank restructuring and developing the private sector, would be important steps in this direction.
Ireland is a small, modern, trade-dependent economy. Ireland joined 11 other EU nations in circulating the euro on 1 January 2002. GDP growth averaged 6% in 1995-2007, but economic activity dropped sharply in 2008-09 as GDP fell by 3% in 2008 and nearly 8% in 2009. Ireland entered into a recession for the first time in more than a decade with the onset of the world financial crisis and subsequent severe slowdown in the property and construction markets. Agriculture, once the most important sector, is now dwarfed by industry and services. Although the export sector, dominated by foreign multinationals, remains a key component of Ireland's economy, construction most recently fueled economic growth along with strong consumer spending and business investment. Property prices rose more rapidly in Ireland in the decade up to 2007 than in any other developed economy. However, average home prices have fallen 50% from the 2007 peak. In 2008 the COWEN government moved to guarantee all bank deposits, recapitalize the banking system, and establish partly-public venture capital funds in response to the country's economic downturn. In 2009, in an effort to stabilize the banking sector, the Irish Government announced the establishment of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), which will acquire property and development loans with a book value of more than $100 billion from Irish banks. Faced with a need to bring the budget deficit down under the 3% EMU limit by 2014, the Irish Government introduced the first in a series of draconian budgets in 2009. In addition to across-the-board cuts in spending, the 2009 budget included wage reductions for all public servants.
Offshore banking, manufacturing, and tourism are key sectors of the economy. The government offers incentives to high-technology companies and financial institutions to locate on the island; this has paid off in expanding employment opportunities in high-income industries. As a result, agriculture and fishing, once the mainstays of the economy, have declined in their contributions to GDP. The Isle of Man also attracts online gambling sites and the film industry. Trade is mostly with the UK. The Isle of Man enjoys free access to EU markets.
Israel has a technologically advanced market economy. It depends on imports of crude oil, grains, raw materials, and military equipment. Despite limited natural resources, Israel has intensively developed its agricultural and industrial sectors over the past 20 years. Cut diamonds, high-technology equipment, and agricultural products (fruits and vegetables) are the leading exports. Israel usually posts sizable trade deficits, which are covered by large transfer payments from abroad and by foreign loans. Roughly half of the government's external debt is owed to the US, its major source of economic and military aid. Israel's GDP, after contracting slightly in 2001 and 2002 due to the Palestinian conflict and troubles in the high-technology sector, grew about 5% per year from 2004-07. The global financial crisis of 2008-09 spurred a brief recession in Israel, but the country entered the crisis with solid fundamentals - following years of prudent fiscal policy and a series of liberalizing reforms - and a resilient banking sector, and the economy has shown signs of an early recovery. Following GDP growth of 4% in 2008, Israel's GDP grew by 0.5% in 2009 and is expected to expand in 2010. The global economic downturn affected Israel's economy primarily through reduced demand for Israel's exports in the United States and EU, Israel's top trading partners. Exports account for about 45% of the country's GDP. The Israeli Government responded to the recession by implementing a modest fiscal stimulus package and an aggressive expansionary monetary policy - including cutting interest rates to record lows, purchasing government bonds, and intervening in the foreign currency market. The Bank of Israel began raising interest rates in the summer of 2009 when inflation rose above the upper end of the Bank's target and the economy began to show signs of recovery.
Italy has a diversified industrial economy, which is divided into a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and a less-developed, welfare-dependent, agricultural south, with high unemployment. The Italian economy is driven in large part by the manufacture of high-quality consumer goods produced by small and medium-sized enterprises, many of them family owned. Italy also has a sizable underground economy, which by some estimates accounts for as much as 15% of GDP. These activities are most common within the agriculture, construction, and service sectors. Italy has moved slowly on implementing needed structural reforms, such as reducing graft, overhauling costly entitlement programs, and increasing employment opportunities for young workers, particularly women. These conditions will be exacerbated in the near-term by the global economic downturn, but in the longer-term Italy's low fertility rate and quota-driven immigration policies will increasingly strain its economy. The Italian government has struggled to limit government spending, but Italy's exceedingly high public debt remains above 115% of GDP, and its fiscal deficit - just 1.5% of GDP in 2007 - exceeded 5% in 2009 as the costs of servicing the country's debt rose. A tax amnesty program implemented in late 2009 to repatriate untaxed assets held abroad has netted the federal government more than $135 billion.
The Jamaican economy is heavily dependent on services, which now account for more than 60% of GDP. The country continues to derive most of its foreign exchange from tourism, remittances, and bauxite/alumina. Remittances account for nearly 20% of GDP, but have declined 15% since the onset of the Global recession. Tourism revenues account for 20% of GDP, and arrivals have remained strong, up 4% in 2009, although total revenues have declined due to discounts offered to retain visitors. The economy faces serious long-term problems: a sizable merchandise trade deficit, large-scale unemployment and underemployment, and a debt-to-GDP ratio of more than 130%. Jamaica's onerous debt burden - the fourth highest per capita - is the result of government bailouts to ailing sectors of the economy, most notably to the financial sector in the mid-to-late 1990s. The Government of Jamaica signed a $1.27 billion, 27-month Standby Agreement with the International Monetary Fund for balance of payment support in February 2010. Other multilaterals have also provide millions of dollars in loans and grants. The government's difficult fiscal position hinders spending on infrastructure and social programs, particularly as job losses rise in a shrinking economy. The GOLDING administration faces the difficult prospect of having to achieve fiscal discipline in order to maintain debt payments, while simultaneously attacking a serious and growing crime problem that is hampering economic growth. High unemployment exacerbates the crime problem, including gang violence that is fueled by the drug trade.
Jan Mayen is a volcanic island with no exploitable natural resources, although surrounding waters contain substantial fish stocks and potential untapped petroleum resources. Economic activity is limited to providing services for employees of Norway's radio and meteorological stations on the island.
In the years following World War II, government-industry cooperation, a strong work ethic, mastery of high technology, and a comparatively small defense allocation (1% of GDP) helped Japan develop a technologically advanced economy. Today, measured on a purchasing power parity basis, Japan is the third-largest economy in the world after the US and China; measured by official exchange rates, however, Japan is the second largest economy in the world behind the US. Two notable characteristics of the post-war economy were the close interlocking structures of manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors, known as keiretsu, and the guarantee of lifetime employment for a substantial portion of the urban labor force. Both features are now eroding under the dual pressures of global competition and domestic demographic change. Japan's industrial sector is heavily dependent on imported raw materials and fuels. A tiny agricultural sector is highly subsidized and protected, with crop yields among the highest in the world. Usually self sufficient in rice, Japan imports about 60% of its food on a caloric basis. Japan maintains one of the world's largest fishing fleets and accounts for nearly 15% of the global catch. For three decades, overall real economic growth had been spectacular - a 10% average in the 1960s, a 5% average in the 1970s, and a 4% average in the 1980s. Growth slowed markedly in the 1990s, averaging just 1.7%, largely because of the after effects of inefficient investment and an asset price bubble in the late 1980s that required a protracted period of time for firms to reduce excess debt, capital, and labor. In October 2007 Japan's longest post-war period of economic expansion ended after 69 months and Japan entered into recession in 2008, with 2009 marking a return to near 0% interest rates. The Japanese financial sector was not heavily exposed to sub-prime mortgages or their derivative instruments and weathered the initial effect of the global credit crunch, but a sharp downturn in business investment and global demand for Japan's exports in late 2008 pushed Japan further into a recession. The 10-year privatization of Japan Post, which has functioned not only as the national postal delivery system but also, through its banking and insurance facilities, as Japan's largest financial institution, began in October 2007, marking a major milestone in the process of structural reform; however, in December 2009, the Democratic Party of Japan-led government passed a law to freeze future sales of Japan Post shares, halting the privatization process begun by Liberal Democratic Party governments. Debate continues on the role of and effects of reform in restructuring the economy and funding to stimulate consumption in the face of a tight fiscal situation. Japan's huge government debt, estimated to have reached 192% of GDP in 2009, and an aging and shrinking population are two major long-run problems.
Jersey's economy is based on international financial services, agriculture, and tourism. In 2005 the finance sector accounted for about 50% of the island's output. Potatoes, cauliflower, tomatoes, and especially flowers are important export crops, shipped mostly to the UK. The Jersey breed of dairy cattle is known worldwide and represents an important export income earner. Milk products go to the UK and other EU countries. Tourism accounts for one-quarter of GDP. In recent years, the government has encouraged light industry to locate in Jersey with the result that an electronics industry has developed, displacing more traditional industries. All raw material and energy requirements are imported as well as a large share of Jersey's food needs. Light taxes and death duties make the island a popular tax haven. Living standards come close to those of the UK.
Jordan's economy is among the smallest in the Middle East, with insufficient supplies of water, oil, and other natural resources, underlying the government's heavy reliance on foreign assistance. Other economic challenges for the government include chronic high rates of poverty, unemployment, inflation, and a large budget deficit. Since assuming the throne in 1999, King Abdullah has implemented significant economic reforms, such as opening the trade regime, privatizing state-owned companies, and eliminating most fuel subsidies, which in the past few years have spurred economic growth by attracting foreign investment and creating some jobs. The global economic slowdown, however, has depressed Jordan's GDP growth while foreign assistance to the government in 2009 plummeted, hampering the government's efforts to reign in the large budget deficit. Export-oriented sectors such as manufacturing, mining, and the transport of re-exports have been hit the hardest. Amman is considering sweeping tax cuts to attract foreign investment and stimulate domestic growth, and the government has guaranteed bank deposits through 2010. Jordan's financial sector has been relatively isolated from the international financial crisis because of its limited exposure to overseas capital markets. Jordan is currently exploring nuclear power generation to forestall energy shortfalls.
Kazakhstan, the largest of the former Soviet republics in territory, excluding Russia, possesses enormous fossil fuel reserves and plentiful supplies of other minerals and metals. It also has a large agricultural sector featuring livestock and grain. Kazakhstan's industrial sector is primarily focused on the extraction and processing of these natural resources. Kazakhstan enjoyed double-digit growth in 2000-01 and 8% or more per year in 2002-07 - thanks largely to its booming energy sector but also to economic reform, good harvests, and increased foreign investment; GDP growth slowed to 3.3% in 2008, and to 1% in 2009, however, as a result of declines in oil and metals prices and problems in the banking sector following the global financial crisis. In the energy sector, the opening of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium in 2001, from western Kazakhstan's Tengiz oilfield to the Black Sea, substantially raised export capacity. In 2006, Kazakhstan completed the Atasu-Alashankou portion, and, in 2009, the Kenkiyak-Kumkol portion of an oil pipeline to China that will extend from the country's Caspian coast eastward to the Chinese border, according to plans. The country has embarked upon an industrial policy designed to diversify the economy away from overdependence on the oil sector by developing its manufacturing potential. The policy changed the corporate tax code to favor domestic industry as a means to reduce the influence of foreign investment and foreign personnel. The government has engaged in several disputes with foreign oil companies over the terms of production agreements, most recently, with regard to the Kashagan project in 2007-08 and the Karachaganak project in 2009. Since 2007, Astana has provided financial support to the banking sector that has been struggling with poor asset quality and large foreign loans - problems that have been amplified by the global financial crisis in 2009.
Although the regional hub for trade and finance in East Africa, Kenya has been hampered by corruption and by reliance upon several primary goods whose prices have remained low. In 1997, the IMF suspended Kenya's Enhanced Structural Adjustment Program due to the government's failure to maintain reforms and curb corruption. The IMF, which had resumed loans in 2000 to help Kenya through a drought, again halted lending in 2001 when the government failed to institute several anticorruption measures. In the key December 2002 elections, Daniel Arap MOI's 24-year-old reign ended, and a new opposition government took on the formidable economic problems facing the nation. After some early progress in rooting out corruption and encouraging donor support, the KIBAKI government was rocked by high-level graft scandals in 2005 and 2006. In 2006, the World Bank and IMF delayed loans pending action by the government on corruption. The international financial institutions and donors have since resumed lending, despite little action on the government's part to deal with corruption. Post-election violence in early 2008, coupled with the effects of the global financial crisis on remittance and exports, reduced estimated GDP growth to 2% or lower in 2008 and 2009.
A remote country of 33 scattered coral atolls, Kiribati has few natural resources and is one of the least developed Pacific Islands. Commercially viable phosphate deposits were exhausted at the time of independence from the UK in 1979. Copra and fish now represent the bulk of production and exports. The economy has fluctuated widely in recent years. Economic development is constrained by a shortage of skilled workers, weak infrastructure, and remoteness from international markets. Tourism provides more than one-fifth of GDP. Private sector initiatives and a financial sector are in the early stages of development. Foreign financial aid from the EU, UK, US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UN agencies, and Taiwan accounts for 20-25% of GDP. Remittances from seamen on merchant ships abroad account for more than $5 million each year. Kiribati receives around $15 million annually for the government budget from an Australian trust fund.
North Korea, one of the world's most centrally directed and least open economies, faces chronic economic problems. Industrial capital stock is nearly beyond repair as a result of years of underinvestment and shortages of spare parts. Large-scale military spending draws off resources needed for investment and civilian consumption. Industrial and power output have declined in parallel from pre-1990 levels. Severe flooding in the summer of 2007 aggravated chronic food shortages caused by on-going systemic problems including a lack of arable land, collective farming practices, and persistent shortages of tractors and fuel. Large-scale international food aid deliveries have allowed the people of North Korea to escape widespread starvation since famine threatened in 1995, but the population continues to suffer from prolonged malnutrition and poor living conditions. Since 2002, the government has allowed private "farmers' markets" to begin selling a wider range of goods. It also permitted some private farming - on an experimental basis - in an effort to boost agricultural output. In October 2005, the government tried to reverse some of these policies by forbidding private sales of grains and reinstituting a centralized food rationing system. By December 2005, the government terminated most international humanitarian assistance operations in North Korea (calling instead for developmental assistance only) and restricted the activities of remaining international and non-governmental aid organizations such as the World Food Program. In May 2008, the US agreed to give 500,000 metric tons of food to North Korea via the World Food Program and US nongovernmental organizations; Pyongyang began receiving these shipments in mid-2008, but in March 2009 rejected additional US aid shipments. The economy probably grew in 2009 as a result of favorable climate conditions and energy assistance from other countries. In December 2009, North Korea carried out a redenomination of its currency, capping the amount of North Korean won that could be exchanged for the new notes, and limiting the exchange to a one-week window. Firm political control remains the Communist government's overriding concern, which will likely inhibit the loosening of economic regulations.
Since the 1960s, South Korea has achieved an incredible record of growth and global integration to become a high-tech industrialized economy. Four decades ago, GDP per capita was comparable with levels in the poorer countries of Africa and Asia. In 2004, South Korea joined the trillion dollar club of world economies, and currently is among the world's twenty largest economies. Initially, a system of close government and business ties, including directed credit and import restrictions, made this success possible. The government promoted the import of raw materials and technology at the expense of consumer goods, and encouraged savings and investment over consumption. The Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 exposed longstanding weaknesses in South Korea's development model including high debt/equity ratios and massive short-term foreign borrowing. GDP plunged by 6.9% in 1998, and then recovered by 9% in 1999-2000. Korea adopted numerous economic reforms following the crisis, including greater openness to foreign investment and imports. Growth moderated to about 4-5% annually between 2003 and 2007. With the global economic downturn in late 2008, South Korean GDP growth slowed to 2.2% in 2008 and declined 0.2% in 2009. In the third quarter of 2009, the economy began to recover, in large part due to export growth, low interest rates, and an expansionary fiscal policy. The South Korean economy's long term challenges include a rapidly aging population, inflexible labor market, and overdependence on manufacturing exports to drive economic growth.
Over the past few years Kosovo's economy has shown significant progress in transitioning to a market-based system and maintaining macroeconomic stability, but it is still highly dependent on the international community and the diaspora for financial and technical assistance. Remittances from the diaspora - located mainly in Germany and Switzerland - are estimated to account for about 14% of GDP, and donor-financed activities and aid for another 7.5%. Kosovo's citizens are the poorest in Europe with an average annual per capita income of only $2,500. Unemployment, around 40% of the population, is a significant problem that encourages outward migration and black market activity. Most of Kosovo's population lives in rural towns outside of the capital, Pristina. Inefficient, near-subsistence farming is common - the result of small plots, limited mechanization, and lack of technical expertise. With international assistance, Kosovo has been able to privatize 50% of its state-owned enterprises (SOEs) by number, and over 90% of SOEs by value. Minerals and metals - including lignite, lead, zinc, nickel, chrome, aluminum, magnesium, and a wide variety of construction materials - once formed the backbone of industry, but output has declined because of ageing equipment and insufficient investment. A limited and unreliable electricity supply due to technical and financial problems is a major impediment to economic development. Kosovo's Ministry of Energy and Mining has solicited expressions of interest from private investors to develop a new power plant in order to address Kosovo and the region's unmet and growing demands for power. The official currency of Kosovo is the euro, but the Serbian dinar is also used in Serb enclaves. Kosovo's tie to the euro has helped keep core inflation low. Kosovo has one of the most open economies in the region, and continues to work with the international community on measures to improve the business environment and attract foreign investment. Kosovo has kept the government budget in balance as a result of efficient value added tax (VAT) collection at the borders and inefficient budget execution. In order to help integrate Kosovo into regional economic structures, UNMIK signed (on behalf of Kosovo) its accession to the Central Europe Free Trade Area (CEFTA) in 2006. However, Serbia and Bosnia have refused to recognize Kosovo's customs stamp or extend reduced tariff privileges for Kosovo products under CEFTA. In July 2008, Kosovo received pledges of $1.9 billion from 37 countries in support of its reform priorities. In June 2009, Kosovo joined the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and Kosovo began servicing its share of the former Yugoslavia's debt.
Kuwait has a geographically small, but wealthy, relatively open economy with self-reported crude oil reserves of about 102 billion barrels - about 9% of world reserves. Petroleum accounts for nearly half of GDP, 95% of export revenues, and 95% of government income. Kuwaiti officials have committed to increasing oil production to 4 million barrels per day by 2020. Kuwait survived the economic crisis on the strength of budget surpluses generated by high oil prices, posting its tenth consecutive budget surplus in 2008, before slipping into deficit territory in 2009. Kuwait has done little to diversify its economy, in part, because of this positive fiscal situation, and, in part, due to the poor business climate and the acrimonious relationship between the National Assembly and the executive branch, which has stymied most movement on economic reforms. Nonetheless, the government in 2009 passed an economic development plan that pledges to spend up to $140 billion in five years to diversify the economy away from oil, attract more investment, and boost private sector participation in the economy. Increasing government expenditures by so large an amount during the planned time frame may be difficult to accomplish.
Kyrgyzstan is a poor, mountainous country with a dominant agricultural sector. Cotton, tobacco, wool, and meat are the main agricultural products, although only tobacco and cotton are exported in any quantity. Industrial exports include gold, mercury, uranium, natural gas, and electricity. Following independence, Kyrgyzstan was progressive in carrying out market reforms such as an improved regulatory system and land reform. Kyrgyzstan was the first Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) country to be accepted into the World Trade Organization. Much of the government's stock in enterprises has been sold. Drops in production had been severe after the breakup of the Soviet Union in December 1991 but by mid-1995 production began to recover and exports began to increase. The economy is heavily weighted toward gold export and a drop in output at the main Kumtor gold mine can sparks a decline in GDP. The government made steady strides in controlling its substantial fiscal deficit, nearly closing the gap between revenues and expenditures in 2006, before boosting expenditures more than 20% in 2007-08. The government and international financial institutions have been engaged in a comprehensive medium-term poverty reduction and economic growth strategy. In 2005, Bishkek agreed to pursue much needed tax reform and in 2006 became eligible for the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative. Progress fighting corruption, further restructuring of domestic industry, and success in attracting foreign investment are keys to future growth. GDP grew about 8% annually in 2007-08, partly due to higher gold prices internationally, but GDP fell 1% in 2009, because of declines in remittances and investment following the global financial crisis and because of lower gold production.
The government of Laos, one of the few remaining one-party Communist states, began decentralizing control and encouraging private enterprise in 1986. The results, starting from an extremely low base, were striking - growth averaged 6% per year from 1988-2008 except during the short-lived drop caused by the Asian financial crisis that began in 1997. Despite this high growth rate, Laos remains a country with an underdeveloped infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. It has a rudimentary, but improving, road system, and limited external and internal telecommunications. Electricity is available in urban areas and in many rural districts. Subsistence agriculture, dominated by rice cultivation in lowland areas, accounts for about 30% of GDP and provides 80% of total employment. The government in FY08/09 received $560 million from international donors. Economic growth has reduced official poverty rates from 46% in 1992 to 26% in 2009. The economy has benefited from high foreign investment in hydropower, mining, and construction. Laos gained Normal Trade Relations status with the US in 2004, and is taking steps required to join the World Trade Organization, such as reforming import licensing. Related trade policy reforms will improve the business environment. On the fiscal side, Laos launched an effort to ensure the collection of taxes in 2009 as the global economic slowdown reduced revenues from mining projects. Simplified investment procedures and expanded bank credits for small farmers and small entrepreneurs will improve Lao's economic prospects. The government appears committed to raising the country's profile among investors. The World Bank has declared that Laos's goal of graduating from the UN Development Program's list of least-developed countries by 2020 is achievable. According Laotian officials, the 7th Socio-Economic Development Plan for 2011-15 will outline efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goals.
Latvia's economy experienced GDP growth of more than 10% per year during 2006-07 but entered a severe recession in 2008 as a result of an unsustainable current account deficit and large debt exposure amid the softening world economy. GDP plunged nearly 18% in 2009 - the three former Soviet Baltic republics had the world's worst declines last year. The IMF, EU, and other donors provided assistance to Latvia as part of an agreement to defend the currency's peg to the euro and reduce the fiscal deficit to about 5% of GDP. The majority of companies, banks, and real estate have been privatized, although the state still holds sizable stakes in a few large enterprises. Latvia officially joined the World Trade Organization in February 1999. EU membership, a top foreign policy goal, came in May 2004.
Lebanon has a free-market economy and a strong laissez-faire commercial tradition. The government does not restrict foreign investment; however, the investment climate suffers from red tape, corruption, arbitrary licensing decisions, high taxes, tariffs, and fees, archaic legislation, and weak intellectual property rights. The Lebanese economy is service-oriented; main growth sectors include banking and tourism. The 1975-90 civil war seriously damaged Lebanon's economic infrastructure, cut national output by half, and all but ended Lebanon's position as a Middle Eastern entrepot and banking hub. In the years since, Lebanon has rebuilt much of its war-torn physical and financial infrastructure by borrowing heavily - mostly from domestic banks. In an attempt to reduce the ballooning national debt, the Rafiq HARIRI government in 2000 began an austerity program, reining in government expenditures, increasing revenue collection, and passing legislation to privatize state enterprises, but economic and financial reform initiatives stalled and public debt continued to grow despite receipt of more than $2 billion in bilateral assistance at the 2002 Paris II Donors Conference. The Israeli-Hizballah conflict in July-August 2006 caused an estimated $3.6 billion in infrastructure damage, and prompted international donors to pledge nearly $1 billion in recovery and reconstruction assistance. Donors met again in January 2007 at the Paris III Donor Conference and pledged more than $7.5 billion to Lebanon for development projects and budget support, conditioned on progress on Beirut's fiscal reform and privatization program. An 18-month political stalemate and sporadic sectarian and political violence hampered economic activity, particularly tourism, retail sales, and investment, until the new government was formed in July 2008. Political stability following the Doha Accord of May 2008 helped boost tourism and, together with a strong banking sector, enabled real GDP growth of 7% in 2009 despite a slowdown in the region.
Small, landlocked, and mountainous, Lesotho relies on remittances from miners employed in South Africa and customs duties from the Southern Africa Customs Union for the majority of government revenue. However, the government has recently strengthened its tax system to reduce dependency on customs duties. Completion of a major hydropower facility in January 1998 permitted the sale of water to South Africa and generated royalties for Lesotho. Lesotho produces about 90% of its own electrical power needs. As the number of mineworkers has declined steadily over the past several years, a small manufacturing base has developed based on farm products that support the milling, canning, leather, and jute industries, as well as a rapidly expanding apparel-assembly sector. Despite Lesotho's market-based economy being heavily tied to its neighbor South Africa, the US is an important trade partner because of the export sector's heavy dependence on apparel exports. Exports have grown significantly because of the trade benefits contained in the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act. The economy is still primarily based on subsistence agriculture, especially livestock, although drought has decreased agricultural activity. The extreme inequality in the distribution of income remains a major drawback. Lesotho has signed an Interim Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility with the IMF. In July 2007, Lesotho signed a Millennium Challenge Account Compact with the US worth $362.5 million. Economic growth plunged in 2009, due mainly to the effects of the global economic crisis. Lesotho's budget relies heavily on customs receipts from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).
Civil war and government mismanagement destroyed much of Liberia's economy, especially the infrastructure in and around the capital, Monrovia. Many businesses fled the country, taking capital and expertise with them, but with the conclusion of fighting and the installation of a democratically-elected government in 2006, several have returned. Liberia has the distinction of having the highest ratio of direct foreign investment to GDP in the world. Richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate favorable to agriculture, Liberia had been a producer and exporter of basic products - primarily raw timber and rubber. Local manufacturing, mainly foreign owned, had been small in scope. President JOHNSON SIRLEAF, a Harvard-trained banker and administrator, has taken steps to reduce corruption, build support from international donors, and encourage private investment. Embargos on timber and diamond exports have been lifted, opening new sources of revenue for the government. The reconstruction of infrastructure and the raising of incomes in this ravaged economy will largely depend on generous financial and technical assistance from donor countries and foreign investment in key sectors, such as infrastructure and power generation.
The Libyan economy depends primarily upon revenues from the oil sector, which contribute about 95% of export earnings, 25% of GDP, and 60% of public sector wages. The weakness in world hydrocarbon prices in 2009 reduced Libyan government tax income and constrained economic growth. Substantial revenues from the energy sector coupled with a small population give Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa, but little of this income flows down to the lower orders of society. Libyan officials in the past five years have made progress on economic reforms as part of a broader campaign to reintegrate the country into the international fold. This effort picked up steam after UN sanctions were lifted in September 2003 and as Libya announced in December 2003 that it would abandon programs to build weapons of mass destruction. The process of lifting US unilateral sanctions began in the spring of 2004; all sanctions were removed by June 2006, helping Libya attract greater foreign direct investment, especially in the energy sector. Libyan oil and gas licensing rounds continue to draw high international interest; the National Oil Corporation (NOC) set a goal of nearly doubling oil production to 3 million bbl/day by 2012. In November 2009, the NOC announced that that target may slip to as late as 2017. Libya faces a long road ahead in liberalizing the socialist-oriented economy, but initial steps - including applying for WTO membership, reducing some subsidies, and announcing plans for privatization - are laying the groundwork for a transition to a more market-based economy. The non-oil manufacturing and construction sectors, which account for more than 20% of GDP, have expanded from processing mostly agricultural products to include the production of petrochemicals, iron, steel, and aluminum. Climatic conditions and poor soils severely limit agricultural output, and Libya imports about 75% of its food. Libya's primary agricultural water source remains the Great Manmade River Project, but significant resources are being invested in desalinization research to meet growing water demands.
Despite its small size and limited natural resources, Liechtenstein has developed into a prosperous, highly industrialized, free-enterprise economy with a vital financial service sector and the highest per capita income in the world. The Liechtenstein economy is widely diversified with a large number of small businesses. Low business taxes - the maximum tax rate is 20% - and easy incorporation rules have induced many holding companies to establish nominal offices in Liechtenstein providing 30% of state revenues. The country participates in a customs union with Switzerland and uses the Swiss franc as its national currency. It imports more than 90% of its energy requirements. Liechtenstein has been a member of the European Economic Area (an organization serving as a bridge between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the EU) since May 1995. The government is working to harmonize its economic policies with those of an integrated Europe. In 2008, Liechtenstein came under renewed international pressure - particularly from Germany - to improve transparency in its banking and tax systems. In December 2008, Liechtenstein signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement with the US. Upon Liechtenstein's conclusion of 12 bilateral information-sharing agreements, the OECD in October 2009 removed the principality from its "grey list" of countries that had yet to implement the organization's Model Tax Convention.
Lithuania gained membership in the World Trade Organization and joined the EU in May 2004. Despite Lithuania's EU accession, Lithuania's trade with its Central and Eastern European neighbors, and Russia in particular, accounts for a growing percentage of total trade. Privatization of the large, state-owned utilities is nearly complete. Foreign government and business support have helped in the transition from the old command economy to a market economy. Lithuania's economy grew on average 8% per year for the four years prior to 2008 driven by exports and domestic demand. However, GDP plunged 15% in 2009 - the three former Soviet Baltic republics had the world's worst economic declines last year. The current account deficit rose to roughly 15% of GDP in 2007-08, but fell sharply in 2009 in the wake of a cutback in imports to almost half the 2008 level. Unemployment reached 13.7% in 2009, up from 5.8% in 2008. In 2009 the government launched a high-profile campaign, led by Prime Minister KUBILIUS, to attract foreign investment and to develop export markets.
This small, stable, high-income economy - benefiting from its proximity to France, Belgium, and Germany - has historically featured solid growth, low inflation, and low unemployment. The industrial sector, initially dominated by steel, has become increasingly diversified to include chemicals, rubber, and other products. Growth in the financial sector, which now accounts for about 28% of GDP, has more than compensated for the decline in steel. Most banks are foreign owned and have extensive foreign dealings. The economy depends on foreign and cross-border workers for about 60% of its labor force. Luxembourg, like all EU members, suffered from the global economic crisis that began in late 2008. Following strong expansion from 2004 to 2007, Luxembourg's economy contracted 0.9% in 2008 and 3.9% in 2009. Nonetheless, the country continues to enjoy an extraordinarily high standard of living - GDP per capita ranks third in the world, after Liechtenstein and Qatar, and is the highest in the EU. Turmoil in the world financial markets and lower global demand during 2008-09 prompted the government to inject capital into the banking sector and implement stimulus measures to boost the economy. Government stimulus measures and support for the banking sector, however, led to a 5% government budget deficit in 2009.
Macau's economy enjoyed strong growth in 2009 despite the global economic slowdown, largely on the back of strong tourism and gaming sectors. After opening up its locally-controlled casino industry to foreign competition in 2001, the territory attracted tens of billions of dollars in foreign investment, transforming Macao into the world's largest gaming center. Macau's gaming and tourism businesses were fueled by China's decision to relax travel restrictions on Chinese citizens wishing to visit Macau. By 2006, Macau's gaming revenue surpassed that of the Las Vegas strip, and gaming-related taxes accounted for more than 70% of total government revenue. This city of nearly 570,000 hosted more than 21 million visitors in 2009. Almost 51% came from mainland China. Macau's traditional manufacturing industry has virtually disappeared since the termination of the Multi-Fiber Agreement in 2005. In 2009, total exports were less than US$1 billion, while gaming receipts were almost US$15 billion. The Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Macau and mainland China that came into effect on 1 January 2004 offers Macau-made products tariff-free access to the mainland, nevertheless, China remains Macau's third largest goods export market, behind Hong Kong and the United States. Macau's currency, the Pataca, is closely tied to the Hong Kong dollar, which is also freely accepted in the territory.
Having a small, open economy makes Macedonia vulnerable to economic developments in Europe and dependent on regional integration and progress toward EU membership for continued economic growth. At independence in September 1991, Macedonia was the least developed of the Yugoslav republics, producing a mere 5% of the total federal output of goods and services. The collapse of Yugoslavia ended transfer payments from the central government and eliminated advantages from inclusion in a de facto free trade area. An absence of infrastructure, UN sanctions on the downsized Yugoslavia, and a Greek economic embargo over a dispute about the country's constitutional name and flag hindered economic growth until 1996. GDP subsequently rose each year through 2000. In 2001, during a civil conflict, the economy shrank 4.5% because of decreased trade, intermittent border closures, increased deficit spending on security needs, and investor uncertainty. Growth averaged 4% per year during 2003-06 and more than 5% per year during 2007-08. Macedonia has maintained macroeconomic stability with low inflation, but it has so far lagged the region in attracting foreign investment and creating jobs, despite making extensive fiscal and business sector reforms. Official unemployment remains high at 32%, but may be overstated based on the existence of an extensive gray market, estimated to be more than 20% of GDP, that is not captured by official statistics. In the wake of the global economic downturn, Macedonia has experienced decreased foreign direct investment, lowered credit, and a large trade deficit, but the financial system remained sound. Macroeconomic stability was maintained by a prudent monetary policy, which kept the domestic currency at the pegged level against the euro, at the expense of raising interest rates. As a result, GDP fell in 2009.
After discarding socialist economic policies in the mid-1990s, Madagascar has followed a World Bank- and IMF-led policy of privatization and liberalization. This strategy placed the country on a slow and steady growth path from an extremely low level. Agriculture, including fishing and forestry, is a mainstay of the economy, accounting for more than one-fourth of GDP and employing 80% of the population. Exports of apparel have boomed in recent years primarily due to duty-free access to the US. However, Madagascar's failure to comply with the requirements of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) led to the termination of the country's duty-free access in January 2010. Deforestation and erosion, aggravated by the use of firewood as the primary source of fuel, are serious concerns. Former President RAVALOMANANA worked aggressively to revive the economy following the 2002 political crisis, which triggered a 12% drop in GDP that year. The current political crisis which began in early 2009 has dealt additional blows to the economy. Tourism dropped more than 50% in 2009, compared with the previous year.
Landlocked Malawi ranks among the world's most densely populated and least developed countries. The economy is predominately agricultural with about 80% of the population living in rural areas. Agriculture accounts for more than one-third of GDP and 90% of export revenues. The performance of the tobacco sector is key to short-term growth as tobacco accounts for more than half of exports. The economy depends on substantial inflows of economic assistance from the IMF, the World Bank, and individual donor nations. In 2006, Malawi was approved for relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program. In December 2007, the US granted Malawi eligibility status to receive financial support within the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) initiative. The government faces many challenges including developing a market economy, improving educational facilities, facing up to environmental problems, dealing with the rapidly growing problem of HIV/AIDS, and satisfying foreign donors that fiscal discipline is being tightened. Since 2005 President MUTHARIKA'S government has exhibited improved financial discipline under the guidance of Finance Minister Goodall GONDWE and signed a three year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility worth $56 million with the IMF. Improved relations with the IMF lead other international donors to resume aid as well. In 2009, however, Malawi experienced some setbacks, including a general shortage of foreign exchange, which has damaged its ability to pay for imports. Investment fell 23% in 2009. The government has failed to address barriers to investment such as unreliable power, water shortages, poor telecommunications infrastructure, and the high costs of services.
Malaysia, a middle-income country, has transformed itself since the 1970s from a producer of raw materials into an emerging multi-sector economy. After coming to office in 2003, former Prime Minister ABDULLAH tried to move the economy farther up the value-added production chain by attracting investments in high technology industries, medical technology, and pharmaceuticals, an effort that continues under current Prime Minister NAJIB. The NAJIB administration also is continuing efforts to boost domestic demand and to wean the economy off of its dependence on exports. Nevertheless, exports - particularly of electronics - remain a significant driver of the economy. As an oil and gas exporter, Malaysia has profited from higher world energy prices, although the rising cost of domestic gasoline and diesel fuel, combined with strained government finances, has forced Kuala Lumpur to reduce government subsidies. The government is also trying to lessen its dependence on state oil producer Petronas, which supplies 40% of government revenue. The central bank maintains healthy foreign exchange reserves and its well-developed regulatory regime has limited Malaysia's exposure to riskier financial instruments and the global financial crisis. Nevertheless, decreasing worldwide demand for consumer goods hurt Malaysia's exports and economic growth in 2009, although both began showing signs of recovery late in the year. In June 2010 NAJIB will introduce the Tenth Malaysia Plan, outlining new reforms. NAJIB already has introduced several reforms in the services sector in a bid to attract direct foreign investment, which has stagnated in recent years.
Tourism, Maldives' largest economic activity, accounts for 28% of GDP and more than 60% of foreign exchange receipts. Over 90% of government tax revenue comes from import duties and tourism-related taxes. Fishing is the second leading sector. Agriculture and manufacturing continue to play a lesser role in the economy, constrained by the limited availability of cultivable land and the shortage of domestic labor. Most staple foods must be imported. The Maldivian Government implemented economic reforms, beginning in 1989 that initially lifted import quotas, opened some exports to the private sector, and liberalized regulations to allow more foreign investment. Real GDP growth averaged over 7.5% per year for more than a decade, and registered 18% in 2006, due to a rebound in tourism and reconstruction following the tsunami of December 2004. GDP slowed in 2007-08, then contracted in 2009 due to the global recession. Falling tourist arrivals and fish exports, combined with high government spending on social needs, subsidies, and civil servant salaries contributed to a balance of payments crisis, which was eased with a December 2009, $79.3 million dollar IMF standby agreement. Diversifying the economy beyond tourism and fishing, reforming public finance, and increasing employment opportunities are major challenges facing the government. Over the longer term Maldivian authorities worry about the impact of erosion and possible global warming on their low-lying country; 80% of the area is 1 meter or less above sea level.
Mali is among the 25 poorest countries in the world, with 65% of its land area desert or semidesert and with a highly unequal distribution of income. Economic activity is largely confined to the riverine area irrigated by the Niger. About 10% of the population is nomadic and some 80% of the labor force is engaged in farming and fishing. Industrial activity is concentrated on processing farm commodities. Mali is heavily dependent on foreign aid and vulnerable to fluctuations in world prices for gold and cotton, its main exports. The government has continued its successful implementation of an IMF-recommended structural adjustment program that is helping the economy grow, diversify, and attract foreign investment. Mali has invested in tourism and a tractor assembly factory. Mali's adherence to economic reform and the 50% devaluation of the CFA franc in January 1994 have pushed up economic growth to a 5% average in 1996-2008. Worker remittances and external trade routes for the landlocked country have been jeopardized by continued unrest in neighboring Cote d'Ivoire, however, Mali is building a road network that will connect it to all adjacent countries and it has a railway line to Senegal.
Malta produces only about 20% of its food needs, has limited fresh water supplies, and has few domestic energy sources. Malta's geographic position between the EU and Africa makes it a target for illegal immigration, which has strained Malta's political and economic resources. Malta adopted the euro on 1 January 2008. Malta's financial services industry has grown in recent years and in 2008-09 it escaped significant damage from the international financial crisis, largely because the sector is centered on the indigenous real estate market and is not highly leveraged. Locally, the restricted damage from the financial crisis has been attributed to the stability of the Maltese banking system and to its prudent risk-management practices. The global economic downturn and high electricity and water prices have hurt Malta's real economy, which is dependent on foreign trade, manufacturing - especially electronics and pharmaceuticals - and tourism. Following a few years of modest growth, Malta's economy contracted by 2.2% in 2009, and the government of Malta took steps to provide direct grants to struggling local businesses.
US Government assistance is the mainstay of this tiny island economy. The Marshall Islands received more than $1 billion in aid from the US from 1986-2002. Agricultural production, primarily subsistence, is concentrated on small farms; the most important commercial crops are coconuts and breadfruit. Small-scale industry is limited to handicrafts, tuna processing, and copra. The tourist industry, now a small source of foreign exchange employing less than 10% of the labor force, remains the best hope for future added income. The islands have few natural resources, and imports far exceed exports. Under the terms of the Amended Compact of Free Association, the US will provide millions of dollars per year to the Marshall Islands (RMI) through 2023, at which time a Trust Fund made up of US and RMI contributions will begin perpetual annual payouts. Government downsizing, drought, a drop in construction, the decline in tourism, and less income from the renewal of fishing vessel licenses have held GDP growth to an average of 1% over the past decade.
Half the population still depends on agriculture and livestock for a livelihood, even though many of the nomads and subsistence farmers were forced into the cities by recurrent droughts in the 1970s and 1980s. Mauritania has extensive deposits of iron ore, which account for nearly 40% of total exports. The nation's coastal waters are among the richest fishing areas in the world but overexploitation by foreigners threatens this key source of revenue. The country's first deepwater port opened near Nouakchott in 1986. Before 2000, drought and economic mismanagement resulted in a buildup of foreign debt. In February 2000, Mauritania qualified for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative and nearly all of its foreign debt has since been forgiven. In December 2007 donors pledged $2.1 billion at a triennial Consultative Group review. A new investment code approved in December 2001 improved the opportunities for direct foreign investment. Mauritania and the IMF agreed to a three-year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) arrangement in 2006. Mauritania made satisfactory progress, but IMF and World Bank suspended their programs in Mauritania following the August 2008 coup; following the July 2009 Presidential elections, the IMF and World Bank agreed to meet with the government to discuss a resumption. Oil prospects, while initially promising, have largely failed to materialize. The Government continues to emphasize reduction of poverty, improvement of health and education, and privatization of the economy.
Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to a middle-income diversified economy with growing industrial, financial, and tourist sectors. For most of the period, annual growth has been in the order of 5% to 6%. This remarkable achievement has been reflected in more equitable income distribution, increased life expectancy, lowered infant mortality, and a much-improved infrastructure. The economy rests on sugar, tourism, textiles and apparel, and financial services, and is expanding into fish processing, information and communications technology, and hospitality and property development. Sugarcane is grown on about 90% of the cultivated land area and accounts for 15% of export earnings. The government's development strategy centers on creating vertical and horizontal clusters of development in these sectors. Mauritius has attracted more than 32,000 offshore entities, many aimed at commerce in India, South Africa, and China. Investment in the banking sector alone has reached over $1 billion. Mauritius, with its strong textile sector, has been well poised to take advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). In 2009, GDP grew 2.1%.
Economic activity is based primarily on the agricultural sector, including fishing and livestock raising. Mayotte is not self sufficient and must import a large portion of its food requirements, mainly from France. The economy and future development of the island are heavily dependent on French financial assistance, an important supplement to GDP. Mayotte's remote location is an obstacle to the development of tourism.
Mexico has a free market economy in the trillion dollar class. It contains a mixture of modern and outmoded industry and agriculture, increasingly dominated by the private sector. Recent administrations have expanded competition in seaports, railroads, telecommunications, electricity generation, natural gas distribution, and airports. Per capita income is roughly one-third that of the US; income distribution remains highly unequal. Trade with the US and Canada has nearly tripled since the implementation of NAFTA in 1994. Mexico has free trade agreements with over 50 countries including, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, the European Free Trade Area, and Japan, putting more than 90% of trade under free trade agreements. In 2007, during its first year in office, the Felipe CALDERON administration was able to garner support from the opposition to successfully pass pension and fiscal reforms. The administration passed an energy reform measure in 2008, and another fiscal reform in 2009. Mexico's GDP plunged 6.5% in 2009 as world demand for exports dropped and asset prices tumbled, but GDP is expected to post positive growth late in 2010. The administration continues to face many economic challenges, including improving the public education system, upgrading infrastructure, modernizing labor laws, and fostering private investment in the energy sector. CALDERON has stated that his top economic priorities remain reducing poverty and creating jobs.
Economic activity consists primarily of subsistence farming and fishing. The islands have few mineral deposits worth exploiting, except for high-grade phosphate. The potential for a tourist industry exists, but the remote location, a lack of adequate facilities, and limited air connections hinder development. Under the original terms of the Compact of Free Association, the US provided $1.3 billion in grant aid during the period 1986-2001; the level of aid has been subsequently reduced. The Amended Compact of Free Association with the US guarantees the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) millions of dollars in annual aid through 2023, and establishes a Trust Fund into which the US and the FSM make annual contributions in order to provide annual payouts to the FSM in perpetuity after 2023. The country's medium-term economic outlook appears fragile due not only to the reduction in US assistance but also to the current slow growth of the private sector.
Moldova remains one of the poorest countries in Europe despite recent progress from its small economic base. It enjoys a favorable climate and good farmland but has no major mineral deposits. As a result, the economy depends heavily on agriculture, featuring fruits, vegetables, wine, and tobacco. Moldova must import almost all of its energy supplies. Moldova's dependence on Russian energy was underscored at the end of 2005, when a Russian-owned electrical station in Moldova's separatist Transnistria region cut off power to Moldova and Russia's Gazprom cut off natural gas in disputes over pricing. In January 2009, gas supplies were cut during a dispute between Russia and Ukraine. Russia's decision to ban Moldovan wine and agricultural products, coupled with its decision to double the price Moldova paid for Russian natural gas, slowed GDP growth in 2006-07. However, in 2008 growth exceeded 7%, boosted by Russia's partial removal of the bans, solid fixed capital investment, and strong domestic demand driven by remittances from abroad. The country reversed course again in 2009, due to the onset of the global financial crisis and poor economic conditions in Moldova's main foreign markets, which dramatically decreased remittances. GDP fell about 8% in 2009. Unemployment almost doubled and inflation disappeared - at 0%, a record low. Moldova's IMF agreement expired in May 2009. In fall 2009, the IMF allocated $186 million to Moldova to cover its immediate budgetary needs, and the government signed an new agreement with the IMF in January 2010 for a program worth $574 million. Economic reforms have been slow because of corruption and strong political forces backing government controls. Nevertheless, the government's primary goal of EU integration has resulted in some market-oriented progress. The granting of EU trade preferences and increased exports to Russia will encourage higher growth rates, but the agreements are unlikely to serve as a panacea, given the extent to which export success depends on higher quality standards and other factors. The economy is making a modest recovery in 2010 but remains vulnerable to political uncertainty, weak administrative capacity, vested bureaucratic interests, higher fuel prices, poor agricultural weather, and the skepticism of foreign investors as well as the presence of an illegal separatist regime in Moldova's Transnistria region.
Monaco, bordering France on the Mediterranean coast, is a popular resort, attracting tourists to its casino and pleasant climate. The principality also is a major banking center and has successfully sought to diversify into services and small, high-value-added, nonpolluting industries. The state has no income tax and low business taxes and thrives as a tax haven both for individuals who have established residence and for foreign companies that have set up businesses and offices. The state retains monopolies in a number of sectors, including tobacco, the telephone network, and the postal service. Living standards are high, roughly comparable to those in prosperous French metropolitan areas.
Economic activity in Mongolia has traditionally been based on herding and agriculture - Mongolia's extensive mineral deposits, however, have attracted foreign investors. The country holds copper, gold, coal, molybdenum, fluorspar, uranium, tin, and tungsten deposits, which account for a large part of foreign direct investment and government revenues. Soviet assistance, at its height one-third of GDP, disappeared almost overnight in 1990 and 1991 at the time of the dismantlement of the USSR. The following decade saw Mongolia endure both deep recession, because of political inaction and natural disasters, as well as economic growth, because of reform-embracing, free-market economics and extensive privatization of the formerly state-run economy. Severe winters and summer droughts in 2000-02 resulted in massive livestock die-off and zero or negative GDP growth. This was compounded by falling prices for Mongolia's primary sector exports and widespread opposition to privatization. Growth averaged nearly 9% per year in 2004-08 largely because of high copper prices and new gold production. In 2008 Mongolia experienced a soaring inflation rate with year-to-year inflation reaching nearly 30% - the highest inflation rate in over a decade. By late 2008, as the country began to feel the effects of the global financial crisis, falling commodity prices helped lower inflation, but also reduced government revenues and forced cuts in spending. In early 2009, the International Monetary Fund reached a $236 million Stand-by Arrangement with Mongolia, and the country has started to move out of the crisis, although the banking sector remains unstable. In October 2009, the government passed long-awaited legislation on an investment agreement to develop Mongolia's Oyu Tolgoi mine, considered to be one of the world's largest untapped copper deposits. Mongolia's economy continues to be heavily influenced by its neighbors. Mongolia purchases 95% of its petroleum products and a substantial amount of electric power from Russia, leaving it vulnerable to price increases. Trade with China represents more than half of Mongolia's total external trade - China receives about two-thirds of Mongolia's exports. Remittances from Mongolians working abroad are sizable, but have fallen due to the economic crisis; money laundering is a growing concern. Mongolia joined the World Trade Organization in 1997 and seeks to expand its participation in regional economic and trade regimes.
Montenegro severed its economy from federal control and from Serbia during the MILOSEVIC era and maintained its own central bank, adopted the Deutchmark, then the euro - rather than the Yugoslav dinar - as official currency, collected customs tariffs, and managed its own budget. The dissolution of the loose political union between Serbia and Montenegro in 2006 led to separate membership in several international financial institutions, such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. On 18 January 2007, Montenegro joined the World Bank and IMF. Montenegro is pursuing its own membership in the World Trade Organization and signed a Stabilization and Association agreement with the European Union in October 2007. On December 15, 2008, Montenegro submitted an EU membership application. Unemployment and regional disparities in development are key political and economic problems. Montenegro has privatized its large aluminum complex - the dominant industry - as well as most of its financial sector, and has begun to attract foreign direct investment in the tourism sector. The global financial crisis has had a significant negative impact on the economy, due to the ongoing credit crunch, a decline in the real estate sector, and a fall in aluminum exports.
Severe volcanic activity, which began in July 1995, has put a damper on this small, open economy. A catastrophic eruption in June 1997 closed the airports and seaports, causing further economic and social dislocation. Two-thirds of the 12,000 inhabitants fled the island. Some began to return in 1998 but lack of housing limited the number. The agriculture sector continued to be affected by the lack of suitable land for farming and the destruction of crops. Prospects for the economy depend largely on developments in relation to the volcanic activity and on public sector construction activity. The UK has launched a three-year $122.8 million aid program to help reconstruct the economy. Half of the island is expected to remain uninhabitable for another decade.
Economic policies pursued since 2003 by King Mohammed VI have brought macroeconomic stability to the country with generally low inflation, improved financial sector performance, and steady progress in developing the services and industrial sectors. The National Initiative for Human Development (INDH), a $2 billion initiative launched by the King in 2005, has improved social welfare through a successful rural electrification program, an overhaul of the tourism and agriculture sectors, and the gradual replacement of urban slums with decent housing. Despite the INDH's success, Morocco continues to grapple with a high illiteracy rate, a low education enrollment rate, and a high urban youth unemployment rate of around 30%. Moroccan exports have dropped sharply since mid-2008 as a result of the decline in global phosphates prices--the bulk of Moroccan exports by value--and the global economic slowdown. The recession in Europe--Morocco's main export market--also prompted a decline in the flow of foreign tourists and remittances, two primary sources of foreign currency. A record agricultural harvest, strong government spending, and domestic consumption, however, combined to offset losses from weak exports and helped GDP grow by 5.1% in 2009. Despite structural adjustment programs supported by the IMF, the World Bank, and the Paris Club, the dirham is only fully convertible for selected transactions. In 2006, Morocco entered a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US, and in 2008 entered into an advanced status in its 2000 Association Agreement with the EU. Morocco's primary economic challenge is to accelerate and sustain growth in order to reduce high levels of unemployment and underemployment. Long-term challenges include improving education and job prospects for Morocco's youth, closing the income gap between the rich and the poor, confronting corruption, and expanding and diversifying exports beyond phosphates and low-value added products.
At independence in 1975, Mozambique was one of the world's poorest countries. Socialist mismanagement and a brutal civil war from 1977-92 exacerbated the situation. In 1987, the government embarked on a series of macroeconomic reforms designed to stabilize the economy. These steps, combined with donor assistance and with political stability since the multi-party elections in 1994, have led to dramatic improvements in the country's growth rate. Monetary reforms have reduced inflation. Fiscal reforms, including the introduction of a value-added tax and reform of the customs service, have improved the government's revenue collection abilities. In spite of these gains, Mozambique remains dependent upon foreign assistance for more than half of its annual budget, and the majority of the population remains below the poverty line. Subsistence agriculture continues to employ the vast majority of the country's work force. A substantial trade imbalance persists although the opening of the Mozal aluminum smelter, the country's largest foreign investment project to date, has increased export earnings. At the end of 2007, and after years of negotiations, the government took over Portugal's majority share of the Cahora Bassa Hydroelectricity (HCB) company, a dam that was not transferred to Mozambique at independence because of the ensuing civil war and unpaid debts. More power is needed for additional investment projects in titanium extraction and processing and garment manufacturing that could further close the import/export gap. Mozambique's once substantial foreign debt has been reduced through forgiveness and rescheduling under the IMF's Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and Enhanced HIPC initiatives, and is now at a manageable level. In July 2007 the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) signed a Compact with Mozambique; the Compact entered into force in September 2008 and will continue for five years. Compact projects will focus on improving sanitation, roads, agriculture, and the business regulation environment in an effort to spur economic growth in the four northern provinces of the country. Mozambique grew at an average annual rate of 9% for most of the past decade, one of Africa's strongest performances. However, heavy reliance on aluminum, which accounts for about one-third of exports, subjects the economy to volatile international prices. The sharp decline in aluminum prices during the global economic crisis lowered GDP growth by several percentage points.
The economy is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of minerals for export. Mining accounts for 8% of GDP, but provides more than 50% of foreign exchange earnings. Rich alluvial diamond deposits make Namibia a primary source for gem-quality diamonds. Namibia is the fourth-largest exporter of nonfuel minerals in Africa, the world's fifth-largest producer of uranium, and the producer of large quantities of lead, zinc, tin, silver, and tungsten. The mining sector employs only about 3% of the population while about 35-40% of the population depends on subsistence agriculture for its livelihood. Namibia normally imports about 50% of its cereal requirements; in drought years food shortages are a major problem in rural areas. A high per capita GDP, relative to the region, hides one of the world's most unequal income distributions, as shown by Namibia's GINI coefficient. The Namibian economy is closely linked to South Africa with the Namibian dollar pegged one-to-one to the South African rand. Until 2010, Namibia drew 40% of its budget revenues from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). Increased payments from SACU put Namibia's budget into surplus in 2007 for the first time since independence. SACU allotments to Namibia increased in 2009, but will drop for 2010 and 2011. Increased fish production and mining of zinc, copper, uranium, and silver spurred growth in 2003-08, but growth in recent years was undercut by poor fish catches, higher costs of producing metals, and the global recession.
Revenues of this tiny island have traditionally come from exports of phosphates now significantly depleted. An Australian company in 2005 entered into an agreement intended to exploit remaining supplies. Few other resources exist with most necessities being imported, mainly from Australia its former occupier and later major source of support. The rehabilitation of mined land and the replacement of income from phosphates are serious long-term problems. Reserves of phosphates may only last until 2010 at current mining rates. In anticipation of the exhaustion of Nauru's phosphate deposits, substantial amounts of phosphate income were invested in trust funds to help cushion the transition and provide for Nauru's economic future. As a result of heavy spending from the trust funds, the government faces virtual bankruptcy. To cut costs the government has frozen wages and reduced overstaffed public service departments. Nauru lost further revenue in 2008 with the closure of Australia's refugee processing center, making it almost totally dependent on food imports and foreign aid. Housing, hospitals, and other capital plant is deteriorating. The cost to Australia of keeping the government and economy afloat continues to climb. Few comprehensive statistics on the Nauru economy exist with estimates of Nauru's GDP varying widely.
Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world, with almost one-quarter of its population living below the poverty line. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, providing a livelihood for three-fourths of the population and accounting for about one-third of GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural products, including pulses, jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain. During the global recession of 2009, remittances from foreign workers abroad increased 47% to $2.8 billion while tourist arrivals only decreased 1% compared to the previous year. Nepal has considerable scope for exploiting its potential in hydropower, with an estimated 42,000 MW of feasible capacity, but political instability hampers foreign investment. Additional challenges to Nepal's growth include its technological backwardness, landlocked geographic location, civil strife and labor unrest, and its susceptibility to natural disaster.
The Netherlands economy is noted for stable industrial relations, moderate unemployment and inflation, a sizable current account surplus, and an important role as a European transportation hub. Industrial activity is predominantly in food processing, chemicals, petroleum refining, and electrical machinery. A highly mechanized agricultural sector employs only 2% of the labor force but provides large surpluses for the food-processing industry and for exports. The Netherlands, along with 11 of its EU partners, began circulating the euro currency on 1 January 2002. The country has been one of the leading European nations for attracting foreign direct investment and is one of the four largest investors in the US. After 26 years of uninterrupted economic growth, the Netherlands' economy - which is highly open and dependent on foreign trade and financial services - was hard-hit by global economic crisis. Dutch GDP contracted 3.9% in 2009, while exports declined nearly 25% due to a sharp contraction in world demand. The Dutch financial sector has also suffered, due in part to the high exposure of some Dutch banks to U.S. mortgage-backed securities. In response to turmoil in financial markets, the government nationalized two banks and injected billions of dollars into a third, to prevent further systemic risk. The government also sought to boost the domestic economy by accelerating infrastructure programs, offering corporate tax breaks for employers to retain workers, and expanding export credit facilities. The stimulus programs and bank bailouts, however, have resulted in a government budget deficit of nearly 4.6% of GDP in 2009 that contrasts sharply with a surplus of 0.7% of GDP in 2008. With unemployment rising, the government of Prime Minister Jan Peter BALKENENDE is likely to come under increased pressure to keep the budget deficit in check while promoting economic recovery.
Tourism, petroleum refining, and offshore finance are the mainstays of this small economy, which is closely tied to the outside world. Although GDP has declined or grown slightly in each of the past eight years, the islands enjoy a high per capita income and a well-developed infrastructure compared with other countries in the region. The Venezuelan state oil company owns the single refinery on the island; most of the oil for the refinery is imported from Venezuela. Almost all consumer and capital goods are imported, with the US, Braxil, Italy, and Mexico being the major suppliers. Poor soils and inadequate water supplies hamper the development of agriculture. Budgetary problems hamper reform of the health and pension systems of an aging population. The Netherlands provides financial aid to support the economy.
New Caledonia has about 25% of the world's known nickel resources. Only a small amount of the land is suitable for cultivation, and food accounts for about 20% of imports. In addition to nickel, substantial financial support from France - equal to more than 15% of GDP - and tourism are keys to the health of the economy. Substantial new investment in the nickel industry, combined with the recovery of global nickel prices, brightens the economic outlook for the next several years.
Over the past 20 years the government has transformed New Zealand from an agrarian economy dependent on concessionary British market access to a more industrialized, free market economy that can compete globally. This dynamic growth has boosted real incomes - but left behind some at the bottom of the ladder - and broadened and deepened the technological capabilities of the industrial sector. Per capita income rose for ten consecutive years until 2007 in purchasing power parity terms, but fell in 2008-09. Debt-driven consumer spending drove robust growth in the first half of the decade, helping fuel a large balance of payments deficit that posed a challenge for economic managers. Inflationary pressures caused the central bank to raise its key rate steadily from January 2004 until it was among the highest in the OECD in 2007-08; international capital inflows attracted to the high rates further strengthened the currency and housing market, however, aggravating the current account deficit. The economy fell into recession before the start of the global financial crisis and contracted for five consecutive quarters in 2008-09. In line with global peers, the central bank cut interest rates aggressively and the government developed fiscal stimulus measures. The economy posted a 1.4% decline in 2009, but pulled out of recession late in the year. Nevertheless, key trade sectors remain vulnerable to weak external demand. The government plans to raise productivity growth and develop infrastructure, while reining in government spending.
Nicaragua, the poorest country in Central America, has widespread underemployment and poverty. GDP fell by almost 3% in 2009, due to decreased export demand in the US and Central American markets, lower commodity prices for key agricultural exports, and low remittance growth - remittances are equivalent to almost 15% of GDP. The US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has been in effect since April 2006 and has expanded export opportunities for many agricultural and manufactured goods. Textiles and apparel account for nearly 60% of Nicaragua's exports, but increases in the minimum wage during the ORTEGA administration will likely erode its comparative advantage in this industry. Nicaragua relies on international economic assistance to meet internal- and external-debt financing obligations. Foreign donors have curtailed this funding, however, in response to November 2008 electoral fraud. In early 2004, Nicaragua secured some $4.5 billion in foreign debt reduction under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, and in October 2007, the IMF approved a new poverty reduction and growth facility (PRGF) program.
Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking near last on the United Nations Development Fund index of human development. It is a landlocked, Sub-Saharan nation, whose economy centers on subsistence crops, livestock, and some of the world's largest uranium deposits. Drought cycles, desertification, and strong population growth have undercut the economy. Niger shares a common currency, the CFA franc, and a common central bank, the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), with seven other members of the West African Monetary Union. In December 2000, Niger qualified for enhanced debt relief under the International Monetary Fund program for Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and concluded an agreement with the Fund on a Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). Debt relief provided under the enhanced HIPC initiative significantly reduces Niger's annual debt service obligations, freeing funds for expenditures on basic health care, primary education, HIV/AIDS prevention, rural infrastructure, and other programs geared at poverty reduction. In December 2005, Niger received 100% multilateral debt relief from the IMF, which translates into the forgiveness of approximately US $86 million in debts to the IMF, excluding the remaining assistance under HIPC. Nearly half of the government's budget is derived from foreign donor resources. Future growth may be sustained by exploitation of oil, gold, coal, and other mineral resources. Uranium prices have increased sharply in the last few years.
Oil-rich Nigeria, long hobbled by political instability, corruption, inadequate infrastructure, and poor macroeconomic management, has undertaken several reforms over the past decade. Nigeria's former military rulers failed to diversify the economy away from its overdependence on the capital-intensive oil sector, which provides 95% of foreign exchange earnings and about 80% of budgetary revenues. Following the signing of an IMF stand-by agreement in August 2000, Nigeria received a debt-restructuring deal from the Paris Club and a $1 billion credit from the IMF, both contingent on economic reforms. Nigeria pulled out of its IMF program in April 2002, after failing to meet spending and exchange rate targets, making it ineligible for additional debt forgiveness from the Paris Club. Since 2008 the government has begun showing the political will to implement the market-oriented reforms urged by the IMF, such as to modernize the banking system, to curb inflation by blocking excessive wage demands, and to resolve regional disputes over the distribution of earnings from the oil industry. In 2003, the government began deregulating fuel prices, announced the privatization of the country's four oil refineries, and instituted the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy, a domestically designed and run program modeled on the IMF's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility for fiscal and monetary management. In November 2005, Abuja won Paris Club approval for a debt-relief deal that eliminated $18 billion of debt in exchange for $12 billion in payments - a total package worth $30 billion of Nigeria's total $37 billion external debt. The deal subjects Nigeria to stringent IMF reviews. Based largely on increased oil exports and high global crude prices, GDP rose strongly in 2007-09. President YAR'ADUA has pledged to continue the economic reforms of his predecessor with emphasis on infrastructure improvements. Infrastructure is the main impediment to growth. The government is working toward developing stronger public-private partnerships for electricity and roads.
The economy suffers from the typical Pacific island problems of geographic isolation, few resources, and a small population. Government expenditures regularly exceed revenues, and the shortfall is made up by critically needed grants from New Zealand that are used to pay wages to public employees. Niue has cut government expenditures by reducing the public service by almost half. The agricultural sector consists mainly of subsistence gardening, although some cash crops are grown for export. Industry consists primarily of small factories to process passion fruit, lime oil, honey, and coconut cream. The sale of postage stamps to foreign collectors is an important source of revenue. The island in recent years has suffered a serious loss of population because of emigration to New Zealand. Efforts to increase GDP include the promotion of tourism and financial services, although the International Banking Repeal Act of 2002 resulted in the termination of all offshore banking licenses. Economic aid from New Zealand in FY08/09 was US$5.7 million. Niue suffered a devastating typhoon in January 2004, which decimated nascent economic programs. While in the process of rebuilding, Niue has been dependent on foreign aid.
Tourism, the primary economic activity, has steadily increased over the years and has brought a level of prosperity unusual among inhabitants of the Pacific islands. The agricultural sector has become self sufficient in the production of beef, poultry, and eggs.
The economy benefits substantially from financial assistance from the US. The rate of funding has declined as locally generated government revenues have grown. The key tourist industry employs about 50% of the work force and accounts for roughly one-fourth of GDP. Japanese tourists predominate. Annual tourist entries have exceeded one-half million in recent years, but financial difficulties in Japan have caused a temporary slowdown. The agricultural sector is made up of cattle ranches and small farms producing coconuts, breadfruit, tomatoes, and melons. Garment production is by far the most important industry with the employment of 17,500 mostly Chinese workers and sizable shipments to the US under duty and quota exemptions.
The Norwegian economy is a prosperous bastion of welfare capitalism, featuring a combination of free market activity and government intervention. The government controls key areas, such as the vital petroleum sector, through large-scale state-majority-owned enterprises. The country is richly endowed with natural resources - petroleum, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals - and is highly dependent on the petroleum sector, which accounts for nearly half of exports and over 30% of state revenue. Norway is the world's third-largest gas exporter; its position as an oil exporter has slipped to seventh-largest as production has begun to decline. Norway opted to stay out of the EU during a referendum in November 1994; nonetheless, as a member of the European Economic Area, it contributes sizably to the EU budget. In anticipation of eventual declines in oil and gas production, Norway saves almost all state revenue from the petroleum sector in a sovereign wealth fund. After lackluster growth of less than 1.5% in 2002-03, GDP growth picked up to 2.5-6.2% in 2004-07, partly due to higher oil prices. Growth fell to 2.1% in 2008, and the economy contracted by 1% in 2009 as a result of the slowing world economy and the drop in oil prices.
Oman is a middle-income economy that is heavily dependent on dwindling oil resources. Because of declining reserves, Muscat has actively pursued a development plan that focuses on diversification, industrialization, and privatization, with the objective of reducing the oil sector's contribution to GDP to 9% by 2020. Tourism and gas-based industries are key components of the government's diversification strategy. By using enhanced oil recovery techniques, Oman succeeded in increasing oil production in 2009, giving the country more time to diversify. The drop in oil prices in 2008 and the global financial crisis reduced Oman's budget surplus in 2009 and slowed the pace of investment and development projects, but GDP growth still was positive, in part because Muscat implemented an expansionary fiscal policy.
The Pacific Ocean is a major contributor to the world economy and particularly to those nations its waters directly touch. It provides low-cost sea transportation between East and West, extensive fishing grounds, offshore oil and gas fields, minerals, and sand and gravel for the construction industry. In 1996, over 60% of the world's fish catch came from the Pacific Ocean. Exploitation of offshore oil and gas reserves is playing an ever-increasing role in the energy supplies of the US, Australia, NZ, China, and Peru. The high cost of recovering offshore oil and gas, combined with the wide swings in world prices for oil since 1985, has led to fluctuations in new drillings.
Pakistan, an impoverished and underdeveloped country, has suffered from decades of internal political disputes and low levels of foreign investment. Between 2001-07, however, poverty levels decreased by 10%, as Islamabad steadily raised development spending. Between 2004-07, GDP growth in the 5-8% range was spurred by gains in the industrial and service sectors - despite severe electricity shortfalls - but growth slowed in 2008-09 and unemployment rose. Inflation remains the top concern among the public, jumping from 7.7% in 2007 to 20.3% in 2008, and 14.2% in 2009. In addition, the Pakistani rupee has depreciated since 2007 as a result of political and economic instability. The government agreed to an International Monetary Fund Standby Arrangement in November 2008 in response to a balance of payments crisis, but during 2009 its current account strengthened and foreign exchange reserves stabilized - largely because of lower oil prices and record remittances from workers abroad. Textiles account for most of Pakistan's export earnings, but Pakistan's failure to expand a viable export base for other manufactures have left the country vulnerable to shifts in world demand. Other long term challenges include expanding investment in education, healthcare, and electricity production, and reducing dependence on foreign donors.
The economy consists primarily of tourism, subsistence agriculture, and fishing. The government is the major employer of the work force relying heavily on financial assistance from the US. The Compact of Free Association with the US, entered into after the end of the UN trusteeship on 1 October 1994, provided Palau with up to $700 million in US aid for the following 15 years in return for furnishing military facilities. Business and tourist arrivals numbered 85,000 in 2007. The population enjoys a per capita income roughly 50% higher than that of the Philippines and much of Micronesia. Long-run prospects for the key tourist sector have been greatly bolstered by the expansion of air travel in the Pacific, the rising prosperity of leading East Asian countries, and the willingness of foreigners to finance infrastructure development.
Panama's dollarized economy rests primarily on a well-developed services sector that accounts for three-quarters of GDP. Services include operating the Panama Canal, banking, the Colon Free Zone, insurance, container ports, flagship registry, and tourism. Economic growth will be bolstered by the Panama Canal expansion project that began in 2007 and is scheduled to be completed by 2014 at a cost of $5.3 billion - about 25% of current GDP. The expansion project will more than double the Canal's capacity, enabling it to accommodate ships that are now too large to transverse the transoceanic crossway, and should help to reduce the high unemployment rate. The United States and China are the top users of the Canal, and while a lower volume of cargo is expected to transit the Canal with the global economic slowdown, higher transit fees will result in a net increase in revenues. Strong economic performance has not translated into broadly shared prosperity as Panama has the second worst income distribution in Latin America. About 30% of the population lives in poverty, however, during TORRIJOS's term poverty was reduced from 40% to 30% and unemployment dropped from 12% to 6%. In 2009, the world recession reduced the amount of revenues Panama earned through global shipping that transits the Canal. Not a CAFTA signatory, Panama in December 2006 independently negotiated a free trade agreement with the US, which, when implemented, will help promote the country's economic growth.
Papua New Guinea is richly endowed with natural resources, but exploitation has been hampered by rugged terrain and the high cost of developing infrastructure. Agriculture provides a subsistence livelihood for 85% of the population. Mineral deposits, including copper, gold, and oil, account for nearly two-thirds of export earnings. A consortium led by a major American oil company plans to begin the commercialization of the country's estimated 227 billion cubic meters of natural gas reserves through the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) production facility that could begin exporting in 2013 or 2014; the largest investment project in the country's history, it received a green light in December 2009 and has the potential to double GDP in the near-term and triple Papua New Guinea's export revenue. The government faces the challenge of ensuring transparency and accountability for revenues flowing from this and other large LNG projects. The government of Prime Minister SOMARE has expended much of its energy remaining in power. He was the first prime minister ever to serve a full five-year term. The government has brought stability to the national budget, largely through expenditure control; however, it relaxed spending constraints in 2006 and 2007 as elections approached. Numerous challenges still face the government, including providing physical security for foreign investors, regaining investor confidence, restoring integrity to state institutions, promoting economic efficiency by privatizing moribund state institutions, and balancing relations with Australia, its former colonial ruler. Other socio-cultural challenges could upend the economy including an HIV/AIDS epidemic, with the highest infection rate in all of East Asia and the Pacific, and chronic law and order and land tenure issues. The global financial crisis had little impact because of continued high demand for Papua New Guinea's commodities exports.
Landlocked Paraguay has a market economy distinguished by a large informal sector, featuring reexport of imported consumer goods to neighboring countries, as well as the activities of thousands of microenterprises and urban street vendors. A large percentage of the population, especially in rural areas, derives its living from agricultural activity, often on a subsistence basis. Because of the importance of the informal sector, accurate economic measures are difficult to obtain. On a per capita basis, real income has stagnated at 1980 levels. The economy grew rapidly between 2003 and 2008 as growing world demand for commodities combined with high prices and favorable weather to support Paraguay's commodity-based export expansion. Paraguay is the sixth largest soy producer in the world. Drought hit in 2008, reducing agricultural exports and slowing the economy even before the onset of the global recession. The economy fell 3.5% in 2009, as lower world demand and commodity prices caused exports to contract. The government reacted by introducing fiscal and monetary stimulus packages. Political uncertainty, corruption, limited progress on structural reform, and deficient infrastructure are the main obstacles to growth.
Peru's economy reflects its varied geography - an arid coastal region, the Andes further inland, and tropical lands bordering Colombia and Brazil. Abundant mineral resources are found in the mountainous areas, and Peru's coastal waters provide excellent fishing grounds. The Peruvian economy grew by more than 4% per year during the period 2002-06, with a stable exchange rate and low inflation. Growth jumped to 9% per year in 2007 and 2008, driven by higher world prices for minerals and metals and the government's aggressive trade liberalization strategies, but then fell to less than 1% in 2009 in the face of the world recession and lower commodity export prices. Peru's rapid expansion has helped to reduce the national poverty rate by about 15% since 2002, though underemployment remain high; inflation has trended downward in 2009, to below the Central Bank's 1-3% target. Despite Peru's strong macroeconomic performance, overdependence on minerals and metals subjects the economy to fluctuations in world prices, and poor infrastructure precludes the spread of growth to Peru's non-coastal areas. Not all Peruvians therefore have shared in the benefits of growth. President GARCIA's pursuit of sound trade and macroeconomic policies has cost him political support since his election. Nevertheless, he remains committed to Peru's free-trade path. Since 2006, Peru has signed trade deals with the United States, Canada, Singapore, and China, concluded negotiations with the European Union, and begun trade talks with Korea, Japan, and others. The US-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA) entered into force 1 February 2009, opening the way to greater trade and investment between the two economies.
Philippine GDP grew just under 1% in 2009 but the economy weathered the 2008-09 global recession better than its regional peers due to minimal exposure to securities issued by troubled global financial institutions; lower dependence on exports; relatively resilient domestic consumption, supported by large remittances from four-to five-million overseas Filipino workers; and a growing business process outsourcing industry. Economic growth in the Philippines has averaged 4.5% per year since 2001, when President MACAPAGAL-ARROYO took office. Despite this growth, poverty worsened during the term of MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, because of a high population growth rate and inequitable distribution of income. MACAPAGAL-ARROYO averted a fiscal crisis by pushing for new revenue measures and, until recently, tightening expenditures to address the government's yawning budget deficit and to reduce high debt and debt service ratios. But the government abandoned its 2008 balanced-budget goal in order to help the economy weather the global financial and economic storm. The economy faces several long term challenges. The Philippines must maintain the reform momentum in order to catch up with regional competitors, boost trade, alleviate poverty, and improve employment opportunities and infrastructure. Inadequate tax revenues could limit the government's ability to address these issues.
The inhabitants of this tiny isolated economy exist on fishing, subsistence farming, handicrafts, and postage stamps. The fertile soil of the valleys produces a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including citrus, sugarcane, watermelons, bananas, yams, and beans. Bartering is an important part of the economy. The major sources of revenue are the sale of postage stamps to collectors and the sale of handicrafts to passing ships. In October 2004, more than one-quarter of Pitcairn's small labor force was arrested, putting the economy in a bind, since their services were required as lighter crew to load or unload passing ships.
Poland has pursued a policy of economic liberalization since 1990 and today stands out as a success story among transition economies. Before 2009, GDP had grown about 5% annually, based on rising private consumption, a jump in corporate investment, and EU funds inflows. GDP per capita is still much below the EU average, but is similar to that of the three Baltic states. Since 2004, EU membership and access to EU structural funds have provided a major boost to the economy. Unemployment fell rapidly to 6.4% in October 2008, climbed back to 8.9% by January 2010, but remains below the EU average. In 2008 inflation reached 4.2%, more than the upper limit of the National Bank of Poland's target range, but fell to 3.5% in January 2010 due to global economic slowdown. Poland's economic performance could improve over the longer term if the country addresses some of the remaining deficiencies in its road and rail infrastructure and its business environment. An inefficient commercial court system, a rigid labor code, bureaucratic red tape, burdensome tax system, and persistent low-level corruption keep the private sector from performing up to its full potential. Rising demands to fund health care, education, and the state pension system present a challenge to the Polish Government's effort to hold the consolidated public sector budget deficit under 3.0% of GDP, a target which was achieved in 2007-09. The PO/PSL coalition government, which came to power in November 2007, plans to reduce the budget deficit in 2010 and has also announced its intention to enact business-friendly reforms, increase workforce participation, reduce public sector spending growth, lower taxes, and accelerate privatization. The government, however, has moved slowly on major reforms. The legislature passed a law significantly limiting early retirement benefits. A health-care bill also passed through the legislature, but the legislature failed to overturn a presidential veto.
Portugal has become a diversified and increasingly service-based economy since joining the European Community in 1986. Over the past two decades, successive governments have privatized many state-controlled firms and liberalized key areas of the economy, including the financial and telecommunications sectors. The country qualified for the European Monetary Union (EMU) in 1998 and began circulating the euro on 1 January 2002 along with 11 other EU member economies. Economic growth had been above the EU average for much of the 1990s, but fell back in 2001-08, and shrank 2.8% in 2009. GDP per capita stands at roughly two-thirds of the EU-27 average. A poor educational system, in particular, has been an obstacle to greater productivity and growth. Portugal has been increasingly overshadowed by lower-cost producers in Central Europe and Asia as a target for foreign direct investment. The budget deficit surged to an all-time high of 6% of GDP in 2005, but the government reduced the deficit to 2.6% in 2007 - a year ahead of Portugal's targeted schedule. Portugal's financial sector has been relatively insulated from the global financial crisis and the government has not spent much on shoring up banks. Nonetheless, the government faces tough choices in its attempts to stimulate the economy, while trying to keep the budget deficit within the euro-zone 3%-of-GDP ceiling. In 2009, the deficit reached 6.7% of GDP.
Puerto Rico has one of the most dynamic economies in the Caribbean region. A diverse industrial sector has far surpassed agriculture as the primary locus of economic activity and income. Encouraged by duty-free access to the US and by tax incentives, US firms have invested heavily in Puerto Rico since the 1950s. US minimum wage laws apply. Sugar production has lost out to dairy production and other livestock products as the main source of income in the agricultural sector. Tourism has traditionally been an important source of income with estimated arrivals of more than 3.6 million tourists in 2008. Growth fell off in 2001-03, largely due to the slowdown in the US economy, recovered in 2004-05, but declined again in 2006-09.
Despite the global financial crisis, Qatar has maintained its economic growth of the last several years. Qatari authorities throughout the crisis sought to protect the local banking sector with direct investments into domestic banks. The drop in oil prices in late 2008 and the global financial crisis reduced Qatar's budget surplus and slowed the pace of investment and development projects in 2009, but GDP growth still registered more than 9% for the year and will likely rebound in 2010. Economic policy is focused on developing Qatar's nonassociated natural gas reserves and increasing private and foreign investment in non-energy sectors, but oil and gas still account for more than 50% of GDP, roughly 85% of export earnings, and 70% of government revenues. Oil and gas have made Qatar the second highest per-capita income country - following Liechtenstein - and the world's second fastest growing - following Macau. Proved oil reserves of 15 billion barrels should enable continued output at current levels for 37 years. Qatar's proved reserves of natural gas exceed 25 trillion cubic meters, about 14% of the world total and third largest in the world.
Romania, which joined the European Union on 1 January 2007, began the transition from Communism in 1989 with a largely obsolete industrial base and a pattern of output unsuited to the country's needs. The country emerged in 2000 from a punishing three-year recession thanks to strong demand in EU export markets. Domestic consumption and investment have fueled strong GDP growth in recent years, but have led to large current account imbalances. Romania's macroeconomic gains have only recently started to spur creation of a middle class and address Romania's widespread poverty. Corruption and red tape continue to handicap its business environment. Inflation rose in 2007-08, driven in part by strong consumer demand and high wage growth, rising energy costs, a nation-wide drought affecting food prices, and a relaxation of fiscal discipline, but fell in 2009 as a result of the world recession. Romania's GDP growth contracted markedly in the last quarter of 2008 as the country began to feel the effects of a global downturn in financial markets and trade, and GDP fell more than 7% in 2009, and unemployment nearly doubled. Romania hopes to adopt the euro by 2014.
Russia has undergone significant changes since the collapse of the Soviet Union, moving from a globally-isolated, centrally-planned economy to a more market-based and globally-integrated economy. Economic reforms in the 1990s privatized most industry, with notable exceptions in the energy and defense-related sectors. Nonetheless, the rapid privatization process, including a much criticized "loans-for-shares" scheme that turned over major state-owned firms to politically-connected "oligarchs", has left equity ownership highly concentrated. The protection of property rights is still weak and the private sector remains subject to heavy state interference. Russian industry is primarily split between globally-competitive commodity producers - in 2009 Russia was the world's largest exporter of natural gas, the second largest exporter of oil, and the third largest exporter of steel and primary aluminum - and other less competitive heavy industries that remain dependent on the Russian domestic market. This reliance on commodity exports makes Russia vulnerable to boom and bust cycles that follow the highly volatile swings in global commodity prices. The government since 2007 has embarked on an ambitious program to reduce this dependency and build up the country's high technology sectors, but with few results so far. A revival of Russian agriculture in recent years has led to Russia shifting from being a net grain importer to a net grain exporter. The economy had averaged 7% growth since the 1998 Russian financial crisis, resulting in a doubling of real disposable incomes and the emergence of a middle class. The Russian economy, however, was one of the hardest hit by the 2008-09 global economic crisis as oil prices plummeted and the foreign credits that Russian banks and firms relied on dried up. The Central Bank of Russia spent one-third of its $600 billion international reserves, the world's third largest, in late 2008 to slow the devaluation of the ruble. The government also devoted $200 billion in a rescue plan to increase liquidity in the banking sector and aid Russian firms unable to roll over large foreign debts coming due. The economic decline appears to have bottomed out in mid-2009 and by the second half of the year there were signs that the economy was growing, albeit slowly. Long-term challenges include a shrinking workforce, a high level of corruption, and poor infrastructure in need of large capital investment.
Rwanda is a poor rural country with about 90% of the population engaged in (mainly subsistence) agriculture and some mineral and agro-processing. In 2008, minerals overtook coffee and tea as Rwanda's primary foreign exchange earner. The 1994 genocide decimated Rwanda's fragile economic base, severely impoverished the population, particularly women, and temporarily stalled the country's ability to attract private and external investment. However, Rwanda has made substantial progress in stabilizing and rehabilitating its economy to pre-1994 levels. GDP has rebounded and inflation has been curbed. Nonetheless, a majority still live below the poverty line of 250 Rwandan francs per day (about US$0.43). Despite Rwanda's fertile ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with demand, requiring food imports. Rwanda continues to receive substantial aid money and obtained IMF-World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative debt relief in 2005-06. Rwanda also received a Millennium Challenge Account Compact in 2008. Africa's most densely populated country is trying to overcome the limitations of its small, landlocked economy by leveraging regional trade. Rwanda joined the East African Community and is aligning its budget, trade, and immigration policies with its regional partners. The government has embraced an expansionary fiscal policy to reduce poverty by improving education, infrastructure, and foreign and domestic investment and pursuing market-oriented reforms, although energy shortages, instability in neighboring states, and lack of adequate transportation linkages to other countries continue to handicap growth. The global downturn hurt export demand and tourism while poor rains this year have lowered growth in agriculture.
The economy of Saint Barthelemy is based upon high-end tourism and duty-free luxury commerce, serving visitors primarily from North America. The luxury hotels and villas host 70,000 visitors each year with another 130,000 arriving by boat. The relative isolation and high cost of living inhibits mass tourism. The construction and public sectors also enjoy significant investment in support of tourism. With limited fresh water resources, all food must be imported, as must all energy resources and most manufactured goods. Employment is strong and attracts labor from Brazil and Portugal.
The economy depends largely on financial assistance from the UK, which amounted to about $27 million in FY06/07 or more than twice the level of annual budgetary revenues. The local population earns income from fishing, raising livestock, and sales of handicrafts. Because there are few jobs, 25% of the work force has left to seek employment on Ascension Island, on the Falklands, and in the UK.
The economy of Saint Kitts and Nevis is heavily dependent upon tourism revenues, which has replaced sugar, the traditional mainstay of the economy until the 1970s. Following the 2005 harvest, the government closed the sugar industry after decades of losses of 3-4% of GDP annually. To compensate for employment losses, the government has embarked on a program to diversify the agricultural sector and to stimulate other sectors of the economy, such as tourism, export-oriented manufacturing, and offshore banking. Economic growth was above average for Latin America from 2004 to 2006, but has since slowed. Tourism is projected to give the economy a boost in 2010, as large cruise ships add St. Kitts and Nevis to their itineraries. More than 200,000 tourists visited the islands in 2009. Like other tourist destinations in the Caribbean, St. Kitts and Nevis is vulnerable to damage from natural disasters and shifts in tourism demand. The current government is constrained by a high public debt burden equivalent to roughly 185% of GDP, largely attributable to public enterprise losses.
The island nation has been able to attract foreign business and investment, especially in its offshore banking and tourism industries, with a surge in foreign direct investment in 2006, attributed to the construction of several tourism projects. Although crops such as bananas, mangos, and avocados continue to be grown for export, tourism provides Saint Lucia's main source of income and the industry is the island's biggest employer. Tourism is the main source of foreign exchange, although tourism sector revenues declined with the global economic downturn as US and European travel dropped in 2009. The manufacturing sector is the most diverse in the Eastern Caribbean area, and the government is trying to revitalize the banana industry, although recent hurricanes have caused exports to contract. Saint Lucia is vulnerable to a variety of external shocks including volatile tourism receipts, natural disasters, and dependence on foreign oil. The public debt-to-GDP ratio is about 70% and high debt servicing obligations constrain the KING administration's ability to respond to adverse external shocks. Economic fundamentals remain solid, even though unemployment needs to be reduced.
The economy of Saint Martin centers around tourism with 85% of the labor force engaged in this sector. Over one million visitors come to the island each year with most arriving through the Princess Juliana International Airport in Sint Maarten. No significant agriculture and limited local fishing means that almost all food must be imported. Energy resources and manufactured goods are also imported, primarily from Mexico and the United States. Saint Martin is reported to have the highest per capita income in the Caribbean.
The inhabitants have traditionally earned their livelihood by fishing and by servicing fishing fleets operating off the coast of Newfoundland. The economy has been declining, however, because of disputes with Canada over fishing quotas and a steady decline in the number of ships stopping at Saint Pierre. In 1992, an arbitration panel awarded the islands an exclusive economic zone of 12,348 sq km to settle a longstanding territorial dispute with Canada, although it represents only 25% of what France had sought. France heavily subsidizes the islands to the great betterment of living standards. The government hopes an expansion of tourism will boost economic prospects. Fish farming, crab fishing, and agriculture are being developed to diversify the local economy. Recent test drilling for oil may pave the way for development of the energy sector.
Success of the economy hinges upon seasonal variations in agriculture, tourism, and construction activity as well as remittance inflows. Much of the workforce is employed in banana production and tourism, but persistent high unemployment has prompted many to leave the islands. This lower-middle-income country is vulnerable to natural disasters - tropical storms wiped out substantial portions of crops in 1994, 1995, and 2002. In 2008, the islands had more than 200,000 tourist arrivals, mostly to the Grenadines, a drop of nearly 20% from 2007. Saint Vincent is home to a small offshore banking sector and has moved to adopt international regulatory standards. The government's ability to invest in social programs and respond to external shocks is constrained by its high debt burden - 25% of current revenues are directed towards debt servicing. An agreement with Italy to write-off debt reduced the public debt-to-GDP ratio to about 70%. Following the global downturn, St. Vincent and the Grenadines saw an economic decline in 2009, after slowing since 2006, when GDP growth reached a 10-year high of nearly 7%. The GONSALVES administration is directing government resources to infrastructure projects, including a new international airport that is expected to be completed in 2011.
The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, family remittances from overseas, agriculture, and fishing. The country is vulnerable to devastating storms. Agriculture employs two-thirds of the labor force and furnishes 90% of exports, featuring coconut cream, coconut oil, and copra. The manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products. One factory in the Foreign Trade Zone employs 3,000 people to make automobile electrical harnesses for an assembly plant in Australia. Tourism is an expanding sector accounting for 25% of GDP; 122,000 tourists visited the islands in 2007. In late September 2009, an earthquake and the resulting tsunami severely damaged Samoa, and nearby American Samoa, disrupting transportation and power generation, and resulting in about 200 deaths. The Samoan Government has called for deregulation of the financial sector, encouragement of investment, and continued fiscal discipline, while at the same time protecting the environment. Observers point to the flexibility of the labor market as a basic strength for future economic advances. Foreign reserves are in a relatively healthy state, the external debt is stable, and inflation is low.
San Marino's economy relies heavily on its tourism and banking industries, as well as on the manufacture and export of ceramics, clothing, fabrics, furniture, paints, spirits, tiles, and wine. The per capita level of output and standard of living are comparable to those of the most prosperous regions of Italy, which supplies much of its food. San Marino boasts the world's longest life expectancy for men with 80 years. The economy benefits from foreign investment due to its relatively low corporate taxes and low taxes on interest earnings. San Marino has recently faced increased international pressure to improve cooperation with foreign tax authorities and transparency within its own banking sector, which generates about one-fifth of the country's tax revenues. Italy's implementation in October 2009 of a tax amnesty to repatriate untaxed funds held abroad has resulted in financial outflows from San Marino to Italy worth more than $4.5 billion. Such outflows, combined with a money-laundering scandal at San Marino's largest financial institution and the recent global economic downturn, have contributed to a deep recession and growing budget deficit. However, San Marino has no national debt, and an unemployment rate half the size of Italy's. The San Marino government has adopted measures to counter the downturn, including subsidized credit to businesses. San Marino also continues to work towards harmonizing its fiscal laws with EU members and international standards. In September 2009, the OECD removed San Marino from its list of tax havens that have yet to fully implement global tax standards.
This small, poor island economy has become increasingly dependent on cocoa since independence in 1975. Cocoa production has substantially declined in recent years because of drought and mismanagement. Sao Tome has to import all fuels, most manufactured goods, consumer goods, and a substantial amount of food. Over the years, it has had difficulty servicing its external debt and has relied heavily on concessional aid and debt rescheduling. Sao Tome benefited from $200 million in debt relief in December 2000 under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program, which helped bring down the country's $300 million debt burden. In August 2005, Sao Tome signed on to a new 3-year IMF Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) program worth $4.3 million. Considerable potential exists for development of a tourist industry, and the government has taken steps to expand facilities in recent years. The government also has attempted to reduce price controls and subsidies. Potential exists for the development of petroleum resources in Sao Tome's territorial waters in the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea, which are being jointly developed in a 60-40 split with Nigeria, but any actual production is at least several years off. The first production licenses were sold in 2004, though a dispute over licensing with Nigeria delayed Sao Tome's receipt of more than $20 million in signing bonuses for almost a year. Real GDP growth averaged about 6% in 2006-07, as a result of increases in public expenditures and oil-related capital investment, but has been declining in the years since.
Saudi Arabia has an oil-based economy with strong government controls over major economic activities. It possesses about 20% of the world's proven petroleum reserves, ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum, and plays a leading role in OPEC. The petroleum sector accounts for roughly 80% of budget revenues, 45% of GDP, and 90% of export earnings. Saudi Arabia is encouraging the growth of the private sector in order to diversify its economy and to employ more Saudi nationals. Diversification efforts are focusing on power generation, telecommunications, natural gas exploration, and petrochemical sectors. Roughly 5.5 million foreign workers play an important role in the Saudi economy, particularly in the oil and service sectors, while Riyadh is struggling to reduce unemployment among its own nationals. Saudi officials are particularly focused on employing its large youth population, which generally lacks the education and technical skills the private sector needs. Riyadh has substantially boosted spending on job training and education, most recently with the opening of the King Abdallah University of Science and Technology - Saudi Arabia's first co-educational university. As part of its effort to attract foreign investment, Saudi Arabia acceded to the WTO in December 2005 after many years of negotiations. The government has begun establishing six "economic cities" in different regions of the country to promote economic development. Five years of high oil prices during 2004-08 gave the Kingdom ample financial reserves to manage the impact of the global financial crisis, but tight international credit, falling oil prices, and the global economic slowdown reduced Saudi economic growth in 2009, prompting the postponement of some economic development projects. Saudi authorities supported the banking sector during the crisis by making direct capital injections into banks, reducing rates, and publicly affirming the government's guarantee of bank deposits.
In January 1994, Senegal undertook a bold and ambitious economic reform program with the support of the international donor community. This reform began with a 50% devaluation of Senegal's currency, the CFA franc, which was linked at a fixed rate to the French franc, and now to the euro. Government price controls and subsidies have been steadily dismantled. After seeing its economy contract by 2.1% in 1993, Senegal made an important turnaround, thanks to the reform program, with real growth in GDP averaging over 5% annually during 1995-2008. Annual inflation had been pushed down to the single digits. As a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Senegal is working toward greater regional integration with a unified external tariff and a more stable monetary policy. High unemployment, however, continues to prompt illegal migrants to flee Senegal in search of better job opportunities in Europe. Senegal was also beset by an energy crisis that caused widespread blackouts in 2006 and 2007. The phosphate industry has struggled for two years to secure capital. Reduced output has directly impacted GDP. In 2007, Senegal signed agreements for major new mining concessions for iron, zircon, and gold with foreign companies. Firms from Dubai have agreed to manage and modernize Dakar's maritime port and create a new special economic zone. Senegal still relies heavily upon outside donor assistance. Under the IMF's Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt relief program, Senegal has benefited from eradication of two-thirds of its bilateral, multilateral, and private-sector debt. In 2007, Senegal and the IMF agreed to a new, non-disbursing, Policy Support Initiative program. In September 2009, Senegal signed a Compact with the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation, which will provide $540 million in infrastructure development, primarily in road construction along Senegal's northern and southern borders in conjunction with adjacent irrigation and agriculture projects.
MILOSEVIC-era mismanagement of the economy, an extended period of international economic sanctions, and the damage to Yugoslavia's infrastructure and industry during the NATO airstrikes in 1999 left the economy only half the size it was in 1990. After the ousting of former Federal Yugoslav President MILOSEVIC in September 2000, the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) coalition government implemented stabilization measures and embarked on a market reform program. After renewing its membership in the IMF in December 2000, Yugoslavia continued to reintegrate into the international community by rejoining the World Bank (IBRD) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Belgrade has made progress in trade liberalization and enterprise restructuring and privatization, including telecommunications and small- and medium-size firms. It has made some progress towards EU membership, signing a Stabilization and Association Agreement with Brussels in May 2008, and with full implementation of the Interim Trade Agreement with the EU in February 2010. Serbia is also pursuing membership in the World Trade Organization. Reforms needed to ensure the country's long-term viability have largely stalled since the onset of the global financial crisis. Serbia is grappling with fallout from crisis, which has led to a sharp drop in exports to Western Europe and a decline in manufacturing output. Unemployment and limited export earnings remain ongoing political and economic problems. Serbia signed an augmented $4 billion Stand By Arrangement with the IMF in May 2009. IMF conditions on Serbia constrain the use of stimulus efforts to revive the economy, while Serbia's concerns about inflation and exchange rate stability preclude the use of expansionary monetary policy. Nevertheless, the IMF projects that Serbia's economy will grow by 1.5% in 2010 after a 3% contraction in 2009 as a recovery in Western Europe takes hold.
Since independence in 1976, per capita output in this Indian Ocean archipelago has expanded to roughly seven times the pre-independence, near-subsistence level, moving the island into the upper-middle income group of countries. Growth has been led by the tourist sector, which employs about 30% of the labor force and provides more than 70% of hard currency earnings, and by tuna fishing. In recent years, the government has encouraged foreign investment to upgrade hotels and other services. At the same time, the government has moved to reduce the dependence on tourism by promoting the development of farming, fishing, and small-scale manufacturing. GDP grew about 7-8% per year in 2006-07, driven by tourism and a boom in tourism-related construction. The Seychelles rupee was allowed to depreciate in 2006 after being overvalued for years and fell by 10% in the first 9 months of 2007. Despite these actions, the Seychelles economy has struggled to maintain its gains and in 2008 suffered from food and oil price shocks, a foreign exchange shortage, high inflation, large financing gaps, and the global recession. In July 2008 the government defaulted on a Euro amortizing note worth roughly US$80 million, leading to a downgrading of Seychelles credit rating. Seychelles requested an IMF Stand-By Agreement in December 2008. In 2009, GDP fell nearly 9% due to declining tourism.
Sierra Leone is an extremely poor nation with tremendous inequality in income distribution. While it possesses substantial mineral, agricultural, and fishery resources, its physical and social infrastructure is not well developed, and serious social disorders continue to hamper economic development. Nearly half of the working-age population engages in subsistence agriculture. Manufacturing consists mainly of the processing of raw materials and of light manufacturing for the domestic market. Alluvial diamond mining remains the major source of hard currency earnings accounting for nearly half of Sierra Leone's exports. The fate of the economy depends upon the maintenance of domestic peace and the continued receipt of substantial aid from abroad, which is essential to offset the severe trade imbalance and supplement government revenues. The IMF has completed a Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility program that helped stabilize economic growth and reduce inflation. A recent increase in political stability has led to a revival of economic activity such as the rehabilitation of bauxite and rutile mining.
Singapore has a highly developed and successful free-market economy. It enjoys a remarkably open and corruption-free environment, stable prices, and a per capita GDP higher than that of most developed countries. The economy depends heavily on exports, particularly in consumer electronics, information technology products, pharmaceuticals, and on a growing financial services sector. Real GDP growth averaged 6.8% between 2004 and 2008, but contracted 2.1% in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis. The economy has begun to rebound in 2010 and the government predicts growth of 3-5% for the year. Over the longer term, the government hopes to establish a new growth path that focuses on raising productivity growth, which has sunk to 1% per year in the last decade. Singapore has attracted major investments in pharmaceuticals and medical technology production and will continue efforts to establish Singapore as Southeast Asia's financial and high-tech hub.
The economy of Sint Maarten centers around tourism with nearly four-fifths of the labor force engaged in this sector. Over one million visitors come to the island each year - 1.3 million in 2008 - with most arriving through the Princess Juliana International Airport. Cruise ships and yachts also call on Sint Maarten's numerous ports and harbors. No significant agriculture and limited local fishing means that almost all food must be imported. Energy resources and manufactured goods are also imported. Sint Maarten had the highest per capita income among the five islands that formerly comprised the Netherlands Antilles.
Slovakia has made significant economic reforms since its separation from the Czech Republic in 1993. Reforms to the taxation, healthcare, pension, and social welfare systems helped Slovakia to consolidate its budget and get on track to join the EU in 2004 and to adopt the euro in January 2009. Major privatizations are nearly complete, the banking sector is almost entirely in foreign hands, and the government has helped facilitate a foreign investment boom with business friendly policies such as labor market liberalization and a 19% flat tax. Foreign investment in the automotive and electronic sectors has been strong. Slovakia's economic growth exceeded expectations in 2001-08 despite the general European slowdown. Unemployment, at an unacceptable 18% in 2003-04, dropped to 7.7% in 2008 but remains the economy's Achilles heel. Despite its 2006 pre-election promises to loosen fiscal policy and reverse the previous DZURINDA government's pro-market reforms, FICO's cabinet has thus far been careful to keep a lid on spending in order to meet euro adoption criteria and has focused on regulating energy and food prices instead. To maintain a stable operating environment for investors, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development advised the Slovak government to refrain from intervening in important sectors of the economy. However, Bratislava's approach to mitigating the economic slowdown includes substantial government intervention and the option to nationalize strategic companies. GDP fell nearly 5% in 2009 and unemployment rose above 12%, as the global recession impacted many segments of the economy.
Slovenia became the first 2004 European Union entrant to adopt the euro (on 1 January 2007) and has become a model of economic success and stability for the region. With the highest per capita GDP in Central Europe, Slovenia has excellent infrastructure, a well-educated work force, and a strategic location between the Balkans and Western Europe. Privatization has lagged since 2002, and the economy has one of highest levels of state control in the EU. Structural reforms to improve the business environment have allowed for somewhat greater foreign participation in Slovenia's economy and have helped to lower unemployment. In March 2004, Slovenia became the first transition country to graduate from borrower status to donor partner at the World Bank. In December 2007, Slovenia was invited to begin the accession process for joining the OECD. Despite its economic success, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Slovenia has lagged behind the region average, and taxes remain relatively high. Furthermore, the labor market is often seen as inflexible, and legacy industries are losing sales to more competitive firms in China, India, and elsewhere. In 2009, the world recession caused the economy to contract - through falling exports and industrial production - by more than 7%, and unemployment to rise above 9%.
The bulk of the population depends on agriculture, fishing, and forestry for at least part of its livelihood. Most manufactured goods and petroleum products must be imported. The islands are rich in undeveloped mineral resources such as lead, zinc, nickel, and gold. Prior to the arrival of RAMSI, severe ethnic violence, the closing of key businesses, and an empty government treasury culminated in economic collapse. RAMSI's efforts to restore law and order and economic stability have led to modest growth as the economy rebuilds.
Despite the lack of effective national governance, Somalia has maintained a healthy informal economy, largely based on livestock, remittance/money transfer companies, and telecommunications. Agriculture is the most important sector with livestock normally accounting for about 40% of GDP and more than 50% of export earnings. Nomads and semi-pastoralists, who are dependent upon livestock for their livelihood, make up a large portion of the population. Livestock, hides, fish, charcoal, and bananas are Somalia's principal exports, while sugar, sorghum, corn, qat, and machined goods are the principal imports. Somalia's small industrial sector, based on the processing of agricultural products, has largely been looted and the machinery sold as scrap metal. Somalia's service sector also has grown. Telecommunication firms provide wireless services in most major cities and offer the lowest international call rates on the continent. In the absence of a formal banking sector, money transfer/remittance services have sprouted throughout the country, handling up to $1.6 billion in remittances annually. Mogadishu's main market offers a variety of goods from food to the newest electronic gadgets. Hotels continue to operate and are supported with private-security militias. Due to armed attacks on and threats to humanitarian aid workers, the World Food Programme partially suspended its operations in southern Somalia in early January 2010 pending improvement in the security situation. Somalia's arrears to the IMF have continued to grow.
South Africa is a middle-income, emerging market with an abundant supply of natural resources; well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors; a stock exchange that is 18th largest in the world; and modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region. At the end of 2007, South Africa began to experience an electricity crisis. State power supplier Eskom encountered problems with aged plants, necessitating "load-shedding" cuts to residents and businesses in the major cities. Growth was robust from 2004 to 2008 as South Africa reaped the benefits of macroeconomic stability and a global commodities boom, but began to slow in the second half of 2008 due to the global financial crisis' impact on commodity prices and demand. GDP fell nearly 2% in 2009. Unemployment remains high and outdated infrastructure has constrained growth. Daunting economic problems remain from the apartheid era - especially poverty, lack of economic empowerment among the disadvantaged groups, and a shortage of public transportation. South Africa's former economic policy was fiscally conservative, focusing on controlling inflation, and attaining a budget surplus. The current government largely follows the same prudent policies, but must contend with the impact of the global crisis and is facing growing pressure from special interest groups to use state-owned enterprises to deliver basic services to low-income areas and to increase job growth. More than one-quarter of South Africa's population currently receives social grants.
Some fishing takes place in adjacent waters. There is a potential source of income from harvesting finfish and krill. The islands receive income from postage stamps produced in the UK, sale of fishing licenses, and harbor and landing fees from tourist vessels. Tourism from specialized cruise ships is increasing rapidly.
Fisheries in 2006-07 landed 126,976 metric tons, of which 82% (104,586 tons) was krill (Euphausia superba) and 9.5% (12,027 tons) Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides - also known as Chilean sea bass), compared to 127,910 tons in 2005-06 of which 83% (106,591 tons) was krill and 9.7% (12,396 tons) Patagonian toothfish (estimated fishing from the area covered by the Convention of the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which extends slightly beyond the Southern Ocean area). International agreements were adopted in late 1999 to reduce illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, which in the 2000-01 season landed, by one estimate, 8,376 metric tons of Patagonian and Antarctic toothfish. In the 2007-08 Antarctic summer, 45,213 tourists visited the Southern Ocean, compared to 35,552 in 2006-2007, and 29,799 in 2005-2006 (estimates provided to the Antarctic Treaty by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), and does not include passengers on overflights and those flying directly in and out of Antarctica).
Spain's mixed capitalist economy is the 12th largest in the world, and its per capita income roughly matches that of Germany and France. However, after almost 15 years of above average GDP growth, the Spanish economy began to slow in late 2007 and entered into a recession in the second quarter of 2008. Spain's unemployment rate rose from a low of about 8% in 2007 to more than 19% in December 2009 and continues to rise. Its fiscal deficit worsened from 3.8% of GDP in 2008 to about 7.9% of GDP in 2009, more than double the EMU limit. GDP contracted by 3.6% from 2008, ending a 16-year growth trend. The economy is projected to resume modest growth sometime in 2010, making Spain the last major economy to emerge from the global recession. The reversal in Spain's economic growth reflects a significant decline in the construction sector, an oversupply of housing, falling consumer spending, and slumping exports. Government efforts to boost the economy through stimulus spending, extended unemployment benefits, and loan guarantees have not prevented a sharp rise in the unemployment rate, which was the highest in the EU in 2009. Spain's banking sector has been relatively insulated from the global financial crisis, due in part to conservative oversight by the Bank of Spain. Government intervention to rescue banks on the scale seen elsewhere in Europe in 2008 and 2009 was not necessary in Spain, although Spanish banks' high exposure to the collapsed domestic construction and real estate market poses continued risks for the sector. The government intervened in one regional savings bank in 2009, and others have merged out of necessity.
Economic activity is limited to commercial fishing. The proximity to nearby oil- and gas-producing sedimentary basins suggests the potential for oil and gas deposits, but the region is largely unexplored. There are no reliable estimates of potential reserves. Commercial exploitation has yet to be developed.
In 1977, Colombo abandoned statist- and import substitution-policies for more market- and export-oriented policies, including encouragement of foreign investment. Sri Lanka suffered through a brutal civil war from 1983 to 2009. Despite the war, Sri Lanka saw GDP growth average nearly 5% in the last 10 years. Government spending on development and fighting the LTTE drove GDP growth to around 6-7% per year in 2006-08. Growth was 3.5% in 2009, still high despite the world recession. Sri Lanka's most dynamic sectors are now food processing, textiles and apparel, food and beverages, port construction, telecommunications, and insurance and banking. About 1.5 million Sri Lankans work abroad, 90% of them in the Middle East. They send home more than $3 billion a year. President RAJAPAKSA's reelection in 2010 means that the Government of Sri Lanka will likely continue its more statist economic approach, that seeks to reduce poverty by steering investment to disadvantaged areas, developing small and medium enterprises, promoting agriculture, and expanding the already enormous civil service. The end of the 26-year conflict with the LTTE has opened the door for reconstruction and development projects in the north and east. Funding these projects will be difficult, as the government already is faced with high debt interest payments, a bloated civil service, and high budget deficits. The 2008-09 global financial crisis and recession exposed Sri Lanka's economic vulnerabilities and nearly caused a balance of payments crisis, which was alleviated by a $2.6 billion IMF standby agreement in July 2009. But the end of the civil war and the IMF loan restored investors' confidence. The Sri Lankan stock market gained over 100% in 2009, one of the best performing markets in the world. Official foreign reserves improved to more than $5 billion by November 2009, providing over 6 months of imports cover.
Until the second half of 2008, Sudan's economy boomed on the back of increases in oil production, high oil prices, and large inflows of foreign direct investment. GDP growth registered more than 10% per year in 2006 and 2007. From 1997 to date, Sudan has been working with the IMF to implement macroeconomic reforms including a managed float of the exchange rate. Sudan began exporting crude oil in the last quarter of 1999. Agricultural production remains important because it employs 80% of the work force and contributes a third of GDP. The Darfur conflict, the aftermath of two decades of civil war in the south, the lack of basic infrastructure in large areas, and a reliance by much of the population on subsistence agriculture ensure much of the population will remain at or below the poverty line for years despite rapid rises in average per capita income. In January 2007, the government introduced a new currency, the Sudanese Pound, at an initial exchange rate of $1.00 equals 2 Sudanese Pounds.
The economy is dominated by the mining industry, with exports of alumina, gold, and oil accounting for about 85% of exports and 25% of government revenues, making the economy highly vulnerable to mineral price volatility. In 2000, the government of Ronald VENETIAAN, returned to office and inherited an economy with inflation of over 100% and a growing fiscal deficit. He quickly implemented an austerity program, raised taxes, attempted to control spending, and tamed inflation. Economic growth reached about 6% in 2007 and 2008, owing to sizeable foreign investment in mining and oil. Suriname has received aid for projects in the bauxite and gold mining sectors from Netherlands, Belgium, and the European Development Fund. The economy contracted in 2009, however, as investment waned and the country earned less from its commodity exports when global prices for most commodities fell. As trade picks up, Suriname's economic outlook for 2010 has improved, but the government's budget is likely to remain strained, with increased social spending in this election year. Suriname's economic prospects for the medium term will depend on continued commitment to responsible monetary and fiscal policies and to the introduction of structural reforms to liberalize markets and promote competition.
Coal mining is the major economic activity on Svalbard. The treaty of 9 February 1920 gave the 41 signatories equal rights to exploit mineral deposits, subject to Norwegian regulation. Although US, UK, Dutch, and Swedish coal companies have mined in the past, the only companies still mining are Norwegian and Russian. The settlements on Svalbard are essentially company towns. The Norwegian state-owned coal company employs nearly 60% of the Norwegian population on the island, runs many of the local services, and provides most of the local infrastructure. There is also some hunting of seal, reindeer, and fox.
In this small, landlocked economy, subsistence agriculture occupies approximately 70% of the population. The manufacturing sector has diversified since the mid-1980s. Sugar and wood pulp remain important foreign exchange earners. In 2007, the sugar industry increased efficiency and diversification efforts, in response to a 17% decline in EU sugar prices. Mining has declined in importance in recent years with only coal and quarry stone mines remaining active. Surrounded by South Africa, except for a short border with Mozambique, Swaziland is heavily dependent on South Africa from which it receives more than nine-tenths of its imports and to which it sends 60% of its exports. Swaziland's currency is pegged to the South African rand, subsuming Swaziland's monetary policy to South Africa. Customs duties from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) account for two-thirds of Swaziland's government revenues, and worker remittances from South Africa substantially supplement domestically earned income. Customs revenues plummeted during the global economic crisis and Swaziland has appealed to SACU for assistance. With an estimated 40% unemployment rate, Swaziland's need to increase the number and size of small and medium enterprises and attract foreign direct investment is acute. Overgrazing, soil depletion, drought, and sometimes floods persist as problems for the future. More than one-fourth of the population needed emergency food aid in 2006-07 because of drought, and more than one-quarter of the adult population has been infected by HIV/AIDS.
Aided by peace and neutrality for the whole of the 20th century, Sweden has achieved an enviable standard of living under a mixed system of high-tech capitalism and extensive welfare benefits. It has a modern distribution system, excellent internal and external communications, and a skilled labor force. In September 2003, Swedish voters turned down entry into the euro system concerned about the impact on the economy and sovereignty. Timber, hydropower, and iron ore constitute the resource base of an economy heavily oriented toward foreign trade. Privately owned firms account for about 90% of industrial output, of which the engineering sector accounts for 50% of output and exports. Agriculture accounts for little more than 1% of GDP and of employment. Until 2008, Sweden was in the midst of a sustained economic upswing, boosted by increased domestic demand and strong exports. This and robust finances offered the center-right government considerable scope to implement its reform program aimed at increasing employment, reducing welfare dependence, and streamlining the state's role in the economy. Despite strong finances and underlying fundamentals, the Swedish economy slid into recession in the third quarter of 2008 and growth continued downward in the first half of 2009 as deteriorating global conditions reduced export demand and consumption.
Switzerland is a peaceful, prosperous, and modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force, and a per capita GDP among the highest in the world. Switzerland's economy benefits from a highly developed service sector, led by financial services, and a manufacturing industry that specializes in high-technology, knowledge-based production. In recent years the Swiss have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with the EU's, in order to enhance their international competitiveness, but some trade protectionism remains, particularly for its small agricultural sector. The global financial crisis and resulting economic downturn put Switzerland in a recession in 2009 as global export demand stalled. The Swiss National Bank during this period effectively implemented a zero-interest rate policy in a bid to boost the economy and prevent appreciation of the franc. Switzerland's economy will probably experience modest GDP growth in 2010, when Bern is scheduled to implement a third fiscal stimulus program, but its prized banking sector has recently faced significant challenges. The country's largest banks suffered sizable losses in 2008-09, leading its largest bank to accept a government rescue deal in late 2008. Switzerland has also come under increasing pressure from individual neighboring countries, the EU, the US, and international institutions to reform its banking secrecy laws. Consequently, the government agreed to conform to OECD regulations on administrative assistance in tax matters, including tax evasion. The government has renegotiated its double taxation agreements with numerous countries, including the US, to incorporate the OECD standard. Parliament will vote on the first five negotiated agreements, including the agreement with the US, in March 2010. These agreements, if passed by Parliament, will be subject to public referendum. In 2009, Swiss financial regulators ordered the country's largest bank to reveal at Washington's behest the names of US account-holders suspected of using the bank to commit tax fraud. These steps will have a lasting impact on Switzerland's long history of bank secrecy.
Syrian economic growth slowed to 1.8% in 2009 as the global economic crisis affected oil prices and the economies of Syria's key export partners and sources of investment. Damascus has implemented modest economic reforms in the past few years, including cutting lending interest rates, opening private banks, consolidating all of the multiple exchange rates, raising prices on some subsidized items, most notably gasoline and cement, and establishing the Damascus Stock Exchange - which was set to begin operations in 2009. In addition, President ASAD signed legislative decrees to encourage corporate ownership reform, and to allow the Central Bank to issue Treasury bills and bonds for government debt. Nevertheless, the economy remains highly controlled by the government. Long-run economic constraints include declining oil production, high unemployment, rising budget deficits, and increasing pressure on water supplies caused by heavy use in agriculture, rapid population growth, industrial expansion, and water pollution.
Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy with gradually decreasing government guidance of investment and foreign trade. In keeping with this trend, some large, state-owned banks and industrial firms have been privatized. Exports, led by electronics and machinery, generate about 70% of Taiwan's GDP growth, and have provided the primary impetus for economic development. This heavy dependence on exports makes the economy vulnerable to downturns in world demand. In 2009, Taiwan's GDP fell by 2.5%, due primarily to a 20% year-on-year decline in exports. Taiwan's diplomatic isolation, low birth rate, and rapidly aging population are major long-term challenges. Free trade agreements have proliferated in East Asia over the past several years, but so far Taiwan has been excluded from this greater economic integration, largely for reasons of diplomacy. Taiwan's birth rate of only 1.2 child per woman is among the lowest in the world, raising the prospect of future labor shortages, falling domestic demand, and declining tax revenues. Taiwan's population is aging quickly, with the number of people over 65 accounting for 10.8% of the island's total population as of the end of 2009. The island runs a large trade surplus, and its foreign reserves are the world's fourth largest, behind China, Japan, and Russia. Since President MA Ying-jeou took office in May 2008, cross-Strait economic ties have increased significantly. Since 2005 China has overtaken the US to become Taiwan's second-largest source of imports after Japan. China is also the island's number one destination for foreign direct investment. Taipei has focused much of its economic recovery effort on improving cross-Strait economic integration. Three financial memorandums of understanding, covering banking, securities, and insurance, took effect in mid-January 2010, opening the island to greater investments from the Mainland's financial firms and institutional investors, and providing new opportunities for Taiwan financial firms to operate in China. In January 2010, Taipei and Beijing began the first round of cross-Strait negotiations on an economic cooperation framework agreement.
Tajikistan has one of the lowest per capita GDPs among the 15 former Soviet republics. Because of a lack of employment opportunities in Tajikistan, nearly half of the labor force works abroad, primarily in Russia and Kazakhstan, supporting families in Tajikistan through remittances. The exact number of labor migrants is unknown, but estimated at around 1 million. Less than 7% of the land area is arable. Cotton is the most important crop, but this sector is burdened with debt and obsolete infrastructure. Mineral resources include silver, gold, uranium, and tungsten. Industry consists only of a large aluminum plant, hydropower facilities, and small obsolete factories mostly in light industry and food processing. The civil war (1992-97) severely damaged the already weak economic infrastructure and caused a sharp decline in industrial and agricultural production. Tajikistan's economic situation remains fragile due to uneven implementation of structural reforms, corruption, weak governance, seasonal power shortages, and the external debt burden. A debt restructuring agreement was reached with Russia in December 2002, including a $250 million write-off of Tajikistan's $300 million debt. Completion of the Sangtuda I hydropower dam - finished in 2009 with Russian investment - and the Sangtuda II and Rogun dams will add substantially to electricity output. If finished according to Tajik plans, Rogun will be the world's tallest dam. Tajikistan has also received substantial infrastructure development loans from the Chinese government to improve roads and an electricity transmission network. To help increase north-south trade, the US funded a $36 million bridge which opened in August 2007 and links Tajikistan and Afghanistan. While Tajikistan has experienced steady economic growth since 1997, more than half of the population continues to live in poverty. Economic growth reached 10.6% in 2004, but dropped below 8% in 2005-08, as the effects of higher oil prices and then the international financial crisis began to register - mainly in the form of lower prices for key export commodities and lower remittances from Tajiks working abroad, due to the global economic downturn. In 2009 GDP growth dropped to 3.4% as a result of the world recession.
Tanzania is in the bottom 10% of the world's economies in terms of per capita income. The economy depends heavily on agriculture, which accounts for more than one-fourth of GDP, provides 85% of exports, and employs 80% of the work force. Topography and climatic conditions, however, limit cultivated crops to about 4% of the land area. Industry traditionally featured the processing of agricultural products and light consumer goods. The World Bank, the IMF, and bilateral donors have provided funds to rehabilitate Tanzania's aging economic infrastructure and to alleviate poverty. Long-term growth through 2005 featured a pickup in industrial production and a substantial increase in output of minerals led by gold. Recent banking reforms have helped increase private-sector growth and investment. Continued donor assistance and solid macroeconomic policies supported a positive growth rate, despite the world recession.
With a well-developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, generally pro-investment policies, and strong export industries, Thailand enjoyed solid growth from 2000 to 2008 - averaging more than 4% per year - as it recovered from the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. Thai exports - mostly machinery and electronic components, agricultural commodities, and jewelry - continue to drive the economy, accounting for more than half of GDP. The global financial crisis of 2008-09 severely cut Thailand's exports, with most sectors experiencing double-digit drops. In 2009, the economy contracted 2.8%. The Thai government is focusing on financing domestic infrastructure projects and stimulus programs to revive the economy, as external trade is still recovering and persistent internal political tension and investment disputes threaten to damage the investment climate.
In late 1999, about 70% of the economic infrastructure of Timor-Leste was laid waste by Indonesian troops and anti-independence militias. Three hundred thousand people fled westward. Over the next three years a massive international program, manned by 5,000 peacekeepers (8,000 at peak) and 1,300 police officers, led to substantial reconstruction in both urban and rural areas. By the end of 2005, refugees had returned or had settled in Indonesia. The country continues to face great challenges in rebuilding its infrastructure, strengthening the civil administration, and generating jobs for young people entering the work force. The development of oil and gas resources in offshore waters has greatly supplemented government revenues. This technology-intensive industry, however, has done little to create jobs for the unemployed because there are no production facilities in Timor. Gas is piped to Australia. In June 2005, the National Parliament unanimously approved the creation of a Petroleum Fund to serve as a repository for all petroleum revenues and to preserve the value of Timor-Leste's petroleum wealth for future generations. The Fund held assets of US$5.3 billion as of October 2009. The economy has been little impacted by the global financial crisis and continues to recover strongly from the mid-2006 outbreak of violence and civil unrest, which disrupted both private and public sector economic activity. The government in 2008 resettled tens of thousands of an estimated 100,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs); most IDPs returned home by early 2009. The underlying economic policy challenge the country faces remains how best to use oil-and-gas wealth to lift the non-oil economy onto a higher growth path and to reduce poverty.
This small, sub-Saharan economy is heavily dependent on both commercial and subsistence agriculture, which provides employment for 65% of the labor force. Some basic foodstuffs must still be imported. Cocoa, coffee, and cotton generate about 40% of export earnings with cotton being the most important cash crop. Togo is the world's fourth-largest producer of phosphate. The government's decade-long effort, supported by the World Bank and the IMF, to implement economic reform measures, encourage foreign investment, and bring revenues in line with expenditures has moved slowly. Progress depends on follow through on privatization, increased openness in government financial operations, progress toward legislative elections, and continued support from foreign donors. Togo is working with donors to write a Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) that could eventually lead to a debt reduction plan. Economic growth remains marginal due to declining cotton production, underinvestment in phosphate mining, and strained relations with donors.
Tokelau's small size (three villages), isolation, and lack of resources greatly restrain economic development and confine agriculture to the subsistence level. The people rely heavily on aid from New Zealand - about $10 million annually in 2008 and 2009 - to maintain public services. New Zealand's support amounts to 80% of Tokelau's recurrent government budget. An international trust fund, currently worth nearly US$32 million, was established in 2004 to provide Tokelau an independent source of revenue. The principal sources of revenue come from sales of copra, postage stamps, souvenir coins, and handicrafts. Money is also remitted to families from relatives in New Zealand.
Tonga has a small, open, South Pacific island economy. It has a narrow export base in agricultural goods. Squash, vanilla beans, and yams are the main crops. Agricultural exports, including fish, make up two-thirds of total exports. The country must import a high proportion of its food, mainly from New Zealand. The country remains dependent on external aid and remittances from Tongan communities overseas to offset its trade deficit. Tourism is the second-largest source of hard currency earnings following remittances. Tonga had 39,000 visitors in 2006. The government is emphasizing the development of the private sector, especially the encouragement of investment, and is committing increased funds for health and education. Tonga has a reasonably sound basic infrastructure and well developed social services. High unemployment among the young, a continuing upturn in inflation, pressures for democratic reform, and rising civil service expenditures are major issues facing the government.
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, it has slowed down since then and contracted about 3.5% in 2009. Growth has been fueled by investments in liquefied natural gas (LNG), 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 MANNING administration has benefited from fiscal surpluses fueled by the dynamic export sector; however, declines in oil and gas prices have reduced government revenues which will challenge his government's commitment to maintaining high levels of public investment.
Tunisia has a diverse economy, with important agricultural, mining, tourism, and manufacturing sectors. Governmental control of economic affairs while still heavy has gradually lessened over the past decade with increasing privatization, simplification of the tax structure, and a prudent approach to debt. Progressive social policies also have helped raise living conditions in Tunisia relative to the region. Real growth, which averaged almost 5% over the past decade, declined to 4.6% in 2008 and to 0.3% in 2009 because of economic contraction and slowing of import demand in Europe - Tunisia's largest export market. However, development of non-textile manufacturing, a recovery in agricultural production, and strong growth in the services sector somewhat mitigated the economic effect of slowing exports. Tunisia will need to reach even higher growth levels to create sufficient employment opportunities for an already large number of unemployed as well as the growing population of university graduates. The challenges ahead include: privatizing industry, liberalizing the investment code to increase foreign investment, improving government efficiency, reducing the trade deficit, and reducing socioeconomic disparities in the impoverished south and west.
Turkey's dynamic economy is a complex mix of modern industry and commerce along with a traditional agriculture sector that still accounts for about 30% of employment. It has a strong and rapidly growing private sector, and while the state remains a major participant in basic industry, banking, transport, and communication, this role has been diminishing as Turkey's privatization program continues. The largest industrial sector is textiles and clothing, which accounts for one-third of industrial employment; it faces stiff competition in international markets with the end of the global quota system. However, other sectors, notably the automotive and electronics industries, are rising in importance and have surpassed textiles within Turkey's export mix. Real GDP growth has exceeded 6% in many years, but this strong expansion has been interrupted by sharp declines in output in 1994, 1999, and 2001. Due to global economic conditions, GDP fell to a 0.9% annual rate in 2008, and contracted by about 6% in 2009. Inflation fell to 6.5% in 2009 - a 34-year low. Despite the strong economic gains from 2002-07, which were largely due to renewed investor interest in emerging markets, IMF backing, and tighter fiscal policy, the economy has been burdened by a high current account deficit and high external debt. Further economic and judicial reforms and prospective EU membership are expected to continue boosting foreign direct investment. The stock value of FDI stood at more than $180 billion at year-end 2009. Privatization sales are currently approaching $39 billion. Oil began to flow through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline in May 2006, marking a major milestone that will bring up to 1 million barrels per day from the Caspian to market. Several gas pipelines also are being planned to help move Central Asian gas to Europe via Turkey. In 2007 and 2008, Turkish financial markets weathered significant domestic political turmoil, including turbulence sparked by controversy over the selection of former Foreign Minister Abdullah GUL as Turkey's 11th president and the possible closure of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Turkey's financial markets and banking system also weathered the 2009 global financial crisis and did not suffer significant declines due to banking and structural reforms implemented during the country's own financial crisis in 2001. Economic fundamentals are sound, but the Turkish economy may be faced with more negative economic indicators in 2010 as the global economic slowdown continues to curb demand for Turkish exports. In addition, Turkey's relatively high current account deficit, uncertainty related to policy-making, and fiscal balances leave the economy vulnerable to destabilizing shifts in investor confidence.
Turkmenistan is largely a desert country with intensive agriculture in irrigated oases and sizeable gas and oil resources. One-half of its irrigated land is planted in cotton; formerly it was the world's 10th-largest producer. Poor harvests in recent years have led to an almost 50% decline in cotton exports. With an authoritarian ex-Communist regime in power and a tribally based social structure, Turkmenistan has taken a cautious approach to economic reform, hoping to use gas and cotton sales to sustain its inefficient economy. Privatization goals remain limited. From 1998-2005, Turkmenistan suffered from the continued lack of adequate export routes for natural gas and from obligations on extensive short-term external debt. At the same time, however, total exports rose by an average of roughly 15% per year from 2003-08, largely because of higher international oil and gas prices. New pipelines to China and Iran, that began operation in late 2009 or early 2010, will give Turkmenistan additional export routes for its gas. Overall prospects in the near future are discouraging because of widespread internal poverty, endemic corruption, a poor educational system, government misuse of oil and gas revenues, and Ashgabat's reluctance to adopt market-oriented reforms. In addition, the global recession and a contract dispute with Russia that had virtually stopped exports via this major export route for about 9 months slowed Turkmenistan's economy in 2009. In the past, Turkmenistan's economic statistics were state secrets. The new government has established a State Agency for Statistics, but GDP numbers and other figures are subject to wide margins of error. In particular, the rate of GDP growth is uncertain. Since his election, President BERDIMUHAMEDOW unified the country's dual currency exchange rate, ordered the redenomination of the manat, reduced state subsidies for gasoline, and initiated development of a special tourism zone on the Caspian Sea. Although foreign investment is encouraged, numerous bureaucratic obstacles impede international business activity.
The Turks and Caicos economy is based on tourism, offshore financial services, and fishing. Most capital goods and food for domestic consumption are imported. The US is the leading source of tourists, accounting for more than three-quarters of the 175,000 visitors that arrived in 2004. Major sources of government revenue also include fees from offshore financial activities and customs receipts.
Tuvalu consists of a densely populated, scattered group of nine coral atolls with poor soil. The country has no known mineral resources and few exports and is almost entirely dependent upon imported food and fuel. Subsistence farming and fishing are the primary economic activities. Fewer than 1,000 tourists, on average, visit Tuvalu annually. Job opportunities are scarce and public sector workers make up most of those employed. About 15% of the adult male population work as seamen on merchant ships abroad, and remittances are a vital source of income contributing around $2 million in 2007. Substantial income is received annually from the Tuvalu Trust Fund (TTF) an international trust fund established in 1987 by Australia, NZ, and the UK and supported also by Japan and South Korea. Thanks to wise investments and conservative withdrawals, this fund grew from an initial $17 million to an estimated value of $77 million in 2006. The TTF contributed nearly $9 million towards the government budget in 2006 and is an important cushion for meeting shortfalls in the government's budget. The US Government is also a major revenue source for Tuvalu because of payments from a 1988 treaty on fisheries. In an effort to ensure financial stability and sustainability, the government is pursuing public sector reforms, including privatization of some government functions and personnel cuts. Tuvalu also derives royalties from the lease of its ".tv" Internet domain name with revenue of more than $2 million in 2006. A minor source of government revenue comes from the sale of stamps and coins. With merchandise exports only a fraction of merchandise imports, continued reliance must be placed on fishing and telecommunications license fees, remittances from overseas workers, official transfers, and income from overseas investments. Growing income disparities and the vulnerability of the country to climatic change are among leading concerns for the nation.
Uganda has substantial natural resources, including fertile soils, regular rainfall, small deposits of copper, gold, and other minerals, and recently discovered oil. Uganda has never conducted a national minerals survey. Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy, employing over 80% of the work force. Coffee accounts for the bulk of export revenues. Since 1986, the government - with the support of foreign countries and international agencies - has acted to rehabilitate and stabilize the economy by undertaking currency reform, raising producer prices on export crops, increasing prices of petroleum products, and improving civil service wages. The policy changes are especially aimed at dampening inflation and boosting production and export earnings. Since 1990 economic reforms ushered in an era of solid economic growth based on continued investment in infrastructure, improved incentives for production and exports, lower inflation, better domestic security, and the return of exiled Indian-Ugandan entrepreneurs. Growth continues to be solid, despite variability in the price of coffee, Uganda's principal export. In 2000, Uganda qualified for enhanced Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt relief worth $1.3 billion and Paris Club debt relief worth $145 million. These amounts combined with the original HIPC debt relief added up to about $2 billion. The global economic downturn has hurt Uganda's exports; however, Uganda's GDP growth is still relatively strong due to past reforms and sound management of the downturn.
After Russia, the Ukrainian republic was far and away the most important economic component of the former Soviet Union, producing about four times the output of the next-ranking republic. Its fertile black soil generated more than one-fourth of Soviet agricultural output, and its farms provided substantial quantities of meat, milk, grain, and vegetables to other republics. Likewise, its diversified heavy industry supplied the unique equipment (for example, large diameter pipes) and raw materials to industrial and mining sites (vertical drilling apparatus) in other regions of the former USSR. Shortly after independence in August 1991, the Ukrainian Government liberalized most prices and erected a legal framework for privatization, but widespread resistance to reform within the government and the legislature soon stalled reform efforts and led to some backtracking. Output by 1999 had fallen to less than 40% of the 1991 level. Ukraine's dependence on Russia for energy supplies and the lack of significant structural reform have made the Ukrainian economy vulnerable to external shocks. Ukraine depends on imports to meet about three-fourths of its annual oil and natural gas requirements and 100% of its nuclear fuel needs. After a two-week dispute that saw gas supplies cutoff to Europe, Ukraine agreed to ten-year gas supply and transit contracts with Russia in January 2009 that brought gas prices to "world" levels. The strict terms of the contracts have further hobbled Ukraine's cash-strapped state gas company, Naftohaz. Outside institutions - particularly the IMF - have encouraged Ukraine to quicken the pace and scope of reforms. Ukrainian Government officials eliminated most tax and customs privileges in a March 2005 budget law, bringing more economic activity out of Ukraine's large shadow economy, but more improvements are needed, including fighting corruption, developing capital markets, and improving the legislative framework. Ukraine's economy was buoyant despite political turmoil between the prime minister and president until mid-2008. Real GDP growth exceeded 7% in 2006-07, fueled by high global prices for steel - Ukraine's top export - and by strong domestic consumption, spurred by rising pensions and wages. The drop in steel prices and Ukraine's exposure to the global financial crisis due to aggressive foreign borrowing lowered growth in 2008 and the economy contracted more than 14% in 2009, among the worst economic performances in the world. Ukraine reached an agreement with the IMF for a $16.4 billion Stand-By Arrangement in November 2008 to deal with the economic crisis, but the Ukrainian Government's lack of progress in implementing reforms has twice delayed the release of IMF assistance funds. Political turmoil in Ukraine as well as deteriorating external conditions are likely to hamper efforts for economic recovery.
The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Successful efforts at economic diversification have reduced the portion of GDP based on oil and gas output to 25%. Since the discovery of oil in the UAE more than 30 years ago, the UAE has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. The government has increased spending on job creation and infrastructure expansion and is opening up utilities to greater private sector involvement. In April 2004, the UAE signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with Washington and in November 2004 agreed to undertake negotiations toward a Free Trade Agreement with the US, however, those talks have not moved forward. The country's Free Trade Zones - offering 100% foreign ownership and zero taxes - are helping to attract foreign investors. The global financial crisis, tight international credit, falling oil prices, and deflated asset prices caused GDP to drop nearly 4% in 2009. UAE authorities have tried to blunt the crisis by increasing spending and boosting liquidity in the banking sector. The crisis hit Dubai hardest, as it was heavily exposed to depressed real estate prices. Dubai lacked sufficient cash to meet its debt obligations, prompting global concern about its solvency. In February 2009, Dubai launched a $20 billion bond program to meet its debt obligations. The UAE Central Bank and Abu Dhabi-based banks bought the largest shares. In December 2009 Dubai received an additional $10 billion loan from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Dependence on oil and a large expatriate workforce are significant long-term challenges. The UAE's strategic plan for the next few years focuses on diversification and creating more opportunities for nationals through improved education and increased private sector employment.
The UK, a leading trading power and financial center, is one of the quintet of trillion dollar economies of Western Europe. Over the past two decades, the government has greatly reduced public ownership and contained the growth of social welfare programs. Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanized, and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with less than 2% of the labor force. The UK has large coal, natural gas, and oil resources, but its oil and natural gas reserves are declining and the UK became a net importer of energy in 2005. Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, account by far for the largest proportion of GDP while industry continues to decline in importance. Since emerging from recession in 1992, Britain's economy enjoyed the longest period of expansion on record during which time growth outpaced most of Western Europe. In 2008, however, the global financial crisis hit the economy particularly hard, due to the importance of its financial sector. Sharply declining home prices, high consumer debt, and the global economic slowdown compounded Britain's economic problems, pushing the economy into recession in the latter half of 2008 and prompting the BROWN government to implement a number of measures to stimulate the economy and stabilize the financial markets; these include nationalizing parts of the banking system, cutting taxes, suspending public sector borrowing rules, and moving forward public spending on capital projects. Public finances, weak before the economic slowdown, deteriorated markedly during 2009, as did employment. The Bank of England periodically coordinates interest rate moves with the European Central Bank, but Britain remains outside the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).
The US has the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $46,400. In this market-oriented economy, private individuals and business firms make most of the decisions, and the federal and state governments buy needed goods and services predominantly in the private marketplace. US business firms enjoy greater flexibility than their counterparts in Western Europe and Japan in decisions to expand capital plant, to lay off surplus workers, and to develop new products. At the same time, they face higher barriers to enter their rivals' home markets than foreign firms face entering US markets. US firms are at or near the forefront in technological advances, especially in computers and in medical, aerospace, and military equipment; their advantage has narrowed since the end of World War II. The onrush of technology largely explains the gradual development of a "two-tier labor market" in which those at the bottom lack the education and the professional/technical skills of those at the top and, more and more, fail to get comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits. Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households. The war in March-April 2003 between a US-led coalition and Iraq, and the subsequent occupation of Iraq, required major shifts in national resources to the military. Soaring oil prices between 2005 and the first half of 2008 threatened inflation and unemployment, as higher gasoline prices ate into consumers' budgets. Imported oil accounts for about two-thirds of US consumption. Long-term problems include inadequate investment in economic infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, sizable trade and budget deficits, and stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups. The merchandise trade deficit reached a record $840 billion in 2008 before shrinking to $450 billion in 2009. The global economic downturn, the sub-prime mortgage crisis, investment bank failures, falling home prices, and tight credit pushed the United States into a recession by mid-2008. GDP contracted until the third quarter of 2009, making this the deepest and longest downturn since the Great Depression. To help stabilize financial markets, the US Congress established a $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in October 2008. The government used some of these funds to purchase equity in US banks and other industrial corporations. In January 2009 the US Congress passed and President Barack OBAMA signed a bill providing an additional $787 billion fiscal stimulus to be used over 10 years - two-thirds on additional spending and one-third on tax cuts - to create jobs and to help the economy recover. Approximately two-thirds of these funds will have been injected into the economy by the end of 2010. In March 2010, President OBAMA signed a health insurance reform bill into law that will extend coverage to an additional 32 million American citizens by 2016, through private health insurance for the general population and Medicaid for the impoverished. In July 2010, the president signed the DODD-FRANK Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a bill designed to promote financial stability by protecting consumers from financial abuses, ending taxpayer bailouts of financial firms, dealing with troubled banks that are "too big to fail," and improving accountability and transparency in the financial system - in particular, by requiring certain financial derivatives to be traded in markets that are subject to government regulation and oversight.
Uruguay's economy is characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated work force, and high levels of social spending. After averaging growth of 5% annually during 1996-98, in 1999-2002 the economy suffered a major downturn, stemming largely from the spillover effects of the economic problems of its large neighbors, Argentina and Brazil. In 2001-02, Argentine citizens made massive withdrawals of dollars deposited in Uruguayan banks after bank deposits in Argentina were frozen, which led to a plunge in the Uruguayan peso, a banking crisis, and a sharp economic contraction. Real GDP fell in four years by nearly 20%, with 2002 the worst year. The unemployment rate rose, inflation surged, and the burden of external debt doubled. Financial assistance from the IMF helped stem the damage. Uruguay restructured its external debt in 2003 without asking creditors to accept a reduction on the principal. Economic growth for Uruguay resumed, and averaged 8% annually during the period 2004-08. The 2008-09 global financial crisis put a brake on Uruguay's vigorous growth, which decelerated to 1.7% in 2009. Nevertheless, the country managed to avoid a recession and keep positive growth rates, mainly through higher public expenditure and investment.
Uzbekistan is a dry, landlocked country; 11% of the land is intensely cultivated, in irrigated river valleys. More than 60% of the population lives in densely populated rural communities. Export of hydrocarbons, including natural gas and petroleum, provided about 40% of foreign exchange earnings in 2009. Other major export earners include gold and cotton. Uzbekistan is now the world's second-largest cotton exporter and fifth largest producer; it has come under increasing international criticism for the use of child labor in its annual cotton harvest. Following independence in September 1991, the government sought to prop up its Soviet-style command economy with subsidies and tight controls on production and prices. While aware of the need to improve the investment climate, the government still sponsors measures that often increase, not decrease, its control over business decisions. A sharp increase in the inequality of income distribution has hurt the lower ranks of society since independence. In 2003, the government accepted Article VIII obligations under the IMF, providing for full currency convertibility. However, strict currency controls and tightening of borders have lessened the effects of convertibility and have also led to some shortages that have further stifled economic activity. The Central Bank often delays or restricts convertibility, especially for consumer goods. Potential investment by Russia and China in Uzbekistan's gas and oil industry, as well as increased cooperation with South Korea in the realm of civil aviation, may boost growth prospects. In November 2005, Russian President Vladimir PUTIN and Uzbekistan President KARIMOV signed an "alliance," which included provisions for economic and business cooperation. Russian businesses have shown increased interest in Uzbekistan, especially in mining, telecom, and oil and gas. In 2006, Uzbekistan took steps to rejoin the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Eurasian Economic Community (EurASEC), which it subsequently left in 2008, both organizations dominated by Russia. In the past Uzbek authorities had accused US and other foreign companies operating in Uzbekistan of violating Uzbek tax laws and have frozen their assets, but no new expropriations occurred in 2008-09. Instead, the Uzbek Government has actively courted several major U.S. and international corporations, offering attractive financing and tax advantages, and has landed a significant US investment in the automotive industry. Although growth slowed in 2009, Uzbekistan has seen few other effects from the global economic downturn, primarily due to its relative isolation from the global financial markets.
This South Pacific island economy is based primarily on small-scale agriculture, which provides a living for about two-thirds of the population. Fishing, offshore financial services, and tourism, with nearly 197,000 visitors in 2008, are other mainstays of the economy. Mineral deposits are negligible; the country has no known petroleum deposits. A small light industry sector caters to the local market. Tax revenues come mainly from import duties. Economic development is hindered by dependence on relatively few commodity exports, vulnerability to natural disasters, and long distances from main markets and between constituent islands. In response to foreign concerns, the government has promised to tighten regulation of its offshore financial center. In mid-2002, the government stepped up efforts to boost tourism through improved air connections, resort development, and cruise ship facilities. Agriculture, especially livestock farming, is a second target for growth. Australia and New Zealand are the main suppliers of tourists and foreign aid.
Venezuela remains highly dependent on oil revenues, which account for roughly 90% of export earnings, about 50% of the federal budget revenues, and around 30% of GDP. A nationwide strike between December 2002 and February 2003 had far-reaching economic consequences - real GDP declined by around 9% in 2002 and 8% in 2003 - but economic output since then has recovered strongly. Fueled by high oil prices, record government spending helped to boost GDP by about 10% in 2006, 8% in 2007, and nearly 5% in 2008, before the world recession caused a contraction in 2009. This spending, combined with recent minimum wage hikes and improved access to domestic credit, has created a consumption boom but has come at the cost of higher inflation - roughly 20% in 2007 and more than 30% in 2008. Imports also jumped significantly before the recession of 2009. Declining oil prices in the latter part of 2008 are undermining the government's ability to continue the high rate of spending. President Hugo CHAVEZ in 2008-09 continued efforts to increase the government's control of the economy by nationalizing firms in the agribusiness, banking, tourism, oil, cement, and steel sectors. In 2007, he nationalized firms in the petroleum, communications, and electricity sectors. In January, 2010, CHAVEZ announced a dual exchange rate system for the fixed rate bolivar. The system offers a 2.6 bolivar per dollar rate for imports of essentials, including food, medicine, and industrial machinery, and a 4.3 bolivar per dollar rate for imports of other products, including cars and telephones.
Vietnam is a densely-populated developing country that in the last 30 years has had to recover from the ravages of war, the loss of financial support from the old Soviet Bloc, and the rigidities of a centrally-planned economy. Vietnamese authorities have reaffirmed their commitment to economic liberalization and international integration. They have moved to implement the structural reforms needed to modernize the economy and to produce more competitive export-driven industries. Vietnam joined the WTO in January 2007 following more than a decade-long negotiation process. WTO membership has provided Vietnam an anchor to the global market and reinforced the domestic economic reform process. Agriculture's share of economic output has continued to shrink from about 25% in 2000 to about 21% in 2009. Deep poverty has declined significantly and Vietnam is working to create jobs to meet the challenge of a labor force that is growing by more than one million people every year. The global recession has hurt Vietnam's export-oriented economy with GDP growing less than the 7% per annum average achieved during the last decade. In 2009 exports fell nearly 10% year-on-year, prompting the government to consider adjustments to tariffs to limit the trade deficit. The government has used stimulus spending, including a subsidized lending program, to help the economy through the global financial crisis, and foreign donors have pledged $8 billion in new development assistance for 2010. Domestic investment grew 16% while committed foreign direct investment fell 70%, a steep reduction after 5 years of growth. Nevertheless, the weaker economy, current account deficit, and subdued foreign investment environment means Vietnam's managed currency, the dong, faced downward pressure through 2009, leading the government to devalue it by more than 5% in December.
Tourism is the primary economic activity, accounting for 80% of GDP and employment. The islands hosted 2.4 million visitors in 2008. The manufacturing sector consists of petroleum refining, rum distilling, textiles, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and watch assembly. One of the world's largest petroleum refineries is at Saint Croix. The agricultural sector is small, with most food being imported. International business and financial services are small but growing components of the economy. The islands are vulnerable to substantial damage from storms. The government is working to improve fiscal discipline, to support construction projects in the private sector, to expand tourist facilities, to reduce crime, and to protect the environment.
The economy is limited to traditional subsistence agriculture, with about 80% of labor force earnings from agriculture (coconuts and vegetables), livestock (mostly pigs), and fishing. About 4% of the population is employed in government. Revenues come from French Government subsidies, licensing of fishing rights to Japan and South Korea, import taxes, and remittances from expatriate workers in New Caledonia.
The West Bank - the larger of the two areas comprising the Palestinian Authority (PA) - experienced a limited revival of economic activity in 2009 as a result of inflows of donor assistance, the PA's implementation of economic reforms, improved security, and the easing of movement and access restrictions by the Israeli Government. Nevertheless, overall standard-of-living measures remain below those seen prior to the start of the second intifada in 2000. The almost decade-long downturn has been largely a result of Israeli closure policies - a steady increase in Israeli-imposed movement and access restrictions across the West Bank in response to security concerns in Israel - which disrupted labor flows, manufacturing, and commerce, both external and internal. Since 2008, the PA under President Mahmoud ABBAS and Prime Minister Salam FAYYAD have implemented a largely successful campaign of institutional reforms and economic development that has contributed to increased economic performance, supported by more than $3 billion in direct foreign donor assistance to the PA's budget since 2007. An easing of some Israeli restrictions on West Bank movement and access in 2008 and 2009 also contributed to an uptick in retail and entertainment activity in larger cities. The biggest impediments to growth remain lack of access to land and resources in Israeli-controlled areas, import and export restrictions, and a high-cost capital structure. Absent private sector-driven growth, the PA will continue to rely on donor aid for its budgetary needs.
Western Sahara depends on pastoral nomadism, fishing, and phosphate mining as the principal sources of income for the population. The territory lacks sufficient rainfall for sustainable agricultural production, and most of the food for the urban population must be imported. Incomes in Western Sahara are substantially below the Moroccan level. The Moroccan Government controls all trade and other economic activities in Western Sahara. Morocco and the EU signed a four-year agreement in July 2006 allowing European vessels to fish off the coast of Morocco, including the disputed waters off the coast of Western Sahara. Moroccan energy interests in 2001 signed contracts to explore for oil off the coast of Western Sahara, which has angered the Polisario. However, in 2006 the Polisario awarded similar exploration licenses in the disputed territory, which would come into force if Morocco and the Polisario resolve their dispute over Western Sahara.
2009 marked the first year in the post-World War II era that global output - and per capita income - declined; output contracted nearly 1% year-over-year, compared with average increases of about 3.5% per year since 1946. And global trade plummeted nearly 25% from 2008's level, the largest single year drop since World War II. Among major countries, the biggest GDP losses occurred in Russia (-7.9%), Mexico (-6.5%), Japan (-5.3%), Italy (-5.1%), Germany (-4.9%), and United Kingdom (-4.9%), while China (+9.1%), India (+7.4%), and Indonesia (+4.5%) recorded the biggest gains. In 2009, global per capita income fell about 2% to US$10,400, as global unemployment rose from just over 7% in 2008 to nearly 9% in 2009 - underemployment, especially in the developing world, remained much higher. Global gross fixed investment fell about 4% year-over-year, or by roughly $800 billion. World trade and financial imbalances unwound: from 2008 to 2009 current account surpluses or deficits fell for 4 out of every 5 countries as lower commodity prices, tighter credit, and, to some degree, greater protectionism reduced demand for traded goods. World external debt dropped more than 6% from the previous year, as new international lending disappeared. The global recession was a result of widespread uncertainties in the financial markets, bank failures, tighter credit, falling home prices, collapsing asset prices, lowered consumer confidence, and the drop in trade. In response to these conditions, many, if not most, countries pursued expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, and attempted to avoid protectionist policies. By the second half of 2009, the global economy appeared to be making halting, but forward steps.
The world economy now faces a major new challenge, together with several long-standing ones. The fiscal stimulus packages put in place in 2009 required most countries to run budget deficits - government balances deteriorated for 14 out of every 15 countries. Treasuries issued new public debt - globally, worth about $4 trillion - to pay for the additional expenditures. To keep interest rates low, many central banks monetized that debt, injecting large sums of money into the economies. In the first half of 2010, excess capacity existed in product markets, and inflation was not an immediate threat. However, when economic activity picks up, central banks will face the difficult task of containing inflation without raising interest rates so high they snuff out further growth.
Long-standing challenges the world faces are several. The addition of 80 million people each year to an already overcrowded globe is exacerbating the problems of underemployment, pollution, waste-disposal, epidemics, water-shortages, famine, over-fishing of oceans, deforestation, desertification, and depletion of non-renewable resources. The nation-state, as a bedrock economic-political institution, is steadily losing control over international flows of people, goods, funds, and technology. Internally, the central government often finds its control over resources slipping as separatist regional movements - typically based on ethnicity - gain momentum, e.g., in many of the successor states of the former Soviet Union, in the former Yugoslavia, in India, in Iraq, in Indonesia, and in Canada. Externally, the central government is losing decisionmaking powers to international bodies, most notably the EU. The introduction of the euro as the common currency of much of Western Europe in January 1999, while paving the way for an integrated economic powerhouse, poses economic risks because the participating nations are culturally and politically diverse and have varying levels and rates of growth of income, and hence, differing needs for monetary policy. In Western Europe, governments face the difficult political problem of channeling resources away from welfare programs in order to increase investment and strengthen incentives to seek employment. Because of their own internal problems and priorities, the industrialized countries devote insufficient resources to deal effectively with the poorer areas of the world, which, at least from an economic point of view, are becoming further marginalized. The terrorist attacks on the US on 11 September 2001 accentuated a growing risk to global prosperity, illustrated, for example, by the reallocation of resources away from investment to anti-terrorist programs. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan added new uncertainties to global economic prospects.
Despite these challenges, the world economy also shows great promise. Technology has made possible further advances in all fields, from agriculture, to medicine, alternative energy, metallurgy, and transportation. Improved global communications have greatly reduced the costs of international trade, helping the world gain from the international division of labor, raise living standards, and reduce income disparities among nations. Much of the resilience of the world economy in 2009 resulted from government leaders around the world working in concert to stem the financial onslaught, knowing well the lessons of past economic failures.
Yemen is a low income country that is highly dependent on declining oil resources for revenue. Petroleum accounts for roughly 25% of GDP and 70% of government revenue. Annual real GDP growth has averaged 3-4% since 2000. Yemen has been largely unaffected by and insulated from the effects of the global economic crisis because its financial system is underdeveloped and not well integrated into the international community, but the drop in oil prices since mid-2008 slashed government oil revenues in 2009 by more than 50%, as compared to 2008. Yemen has tried to counter the effects of its declining oil resources by diversifying its economy through an economic reform program initiated in 2006 that is designed to bolster non-oil sectors of the economy and foreign investment. In October 2009, Yemen exported its first liquefied natural gas as part of this diversification effort. The Yemen government in August reaffirmed its commitment to reforms in a plan detailing the country's top ten development priorities. Despite these ambitious plans, Yemen faces difficult long term challenges, including declining water resources and a high population growth rate.
Zambia's economy has experienced strong growth in recent years, with real GDP growth in 2005-08 about 6% per year. Privatization of government-owned copper mines in the 1990s relieved the government from covering mammoth losses generated by the industry and greatly improved the chances for copper mining to return to profitability and spur economic growth. Copper output has increased steadily since 2004, due to higher copper prices and foreign investment. In 2005, Zambia qualified for debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Country Initiative, consisting of approximately USD 6 billion in debt relief. Poverty remains a significant problem in Zambia, despite a stronger economy. The decline in world commodity prices and demand hurt GDP growth in 2009, but a sharp rebound in copper prices and a bumper maize crop have helped Zambia begin to recover. Lack of economic diversity subjects Zambia to fluctuations in copper prices and in the weather.
The government of Zimbabwe faces a wide variety of difficult economic problems. Its 1998-2002 involvement in the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo drained hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy. The government's land reform program, characterized by chaos and violence, has badly damaged the commercial farming sector, the traditional source of exports and foreign exchange and the provider of 400,000 jobs, turning Zimbabwe into a net importer of food products. The EU and the US provide food aid on humanitarian grounds. Until early 2009, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe routinely printed money to fund the budget deficit, causing hyperinflation. The power-sharing government formed in February 2009 has led to some economic improvements, including the cessation of hyperinflation by eliminating the use of the Zimbabwe dollar and removing price controls. The economy is registering its first growth in a decade, but will be reliant on further political improvement for greater growth.
The online Factbook is updated bi-weekly. ISSN 1553-8133
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