Information about Antigua and Barbuda
The Siboney were the first people to inhabit the islands of Antigua and Barbuda in 2400 B.C., but Arawak Indians populated the islands when COLUMBUS landed on his second voyage in 1493. Early Spanish and French settlements were succeeded by an English colony in 1667. Slavery, established to run the sugar plantations on Antigua, was abolished in 1834. The islands became an independent state within the British Commonwealth of Nations in 1981.
Antigua and Barbuda's economy
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 approximately 130% in 2010 to 89% in 2012. In 2009, Antigua's economy was severely hit by the global economic crisis and suffered from the collapse of its largest private sector employer, a steep decline in tourism, a rise in debt, and a sharp economic contraction between 2009-11. Antigua has not yet returned to its pre-crisis growth levels.
Issues in Antigua and Barbuda
considered a minor transshipment point for narcotics bound for the US and Europe; more significant as an offshore financial center