With so many global investment opportunities available, there are a number of countries which can get easily overlooked. The Commonwealth of Dominica, for example, not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, rarely attracts significant attention from entrepreneurs. Yet, for those who wish to explore it, the nation actually has a great deal of untapped investment potential.
1. Economic diversity
Dominica’s economy was once dependent on agriculture, especially bananas. However, as a result of Hurricane Maria in September 2017, much of the sector was destroyed, along with a great deal of damage being caused to the country’s transportation and physical infrastructure. Luckily, Dominica’s economy was able to get back on track thanks to funding acquired through its citizenship by investment program. This scheme offers applicants the chance to obtain Dominican citizenship in exchange for a sizeable donation to the country’s Economic Diversity Fund (EDF), which supports both private and public sector development projects throughout the nation. Alternatively, applicants can invest in government-approved real estate.
This foreign investment has enabled many industries to flourish, providing ample opportunities for investors to profit. The most significant of these is tourism, with Dominican officials reporting a 6.2% increase for 2018. This cements the island as the top Caribbean tourist destination, responsible for 20% of all travel to the area that year. The government also tries to promote sustainability through its Ecotourism Development Programme (ETDP), where community-based projects have helped improve some of the country’s top attractions such as Scotts Head and the Botanical Gardens.
Green energy is another key industry to benefit from citizenship by investment. Approximately 28% of the country’s electricity is generated from hydropower and wind—more than any other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) state. The government also aims to complete construction on Dominica’s geothermal power plant by 2020.
2. Thriving workforce
Investing in Dominica gives business owners access to a skilled and educated workforce. In addition to a high 92% literacy rate, Dominican workers are often considered to be the country’s “greatest economic asset”, and are known as a hard-working and trainable demographic.
It’s also notable that the government is committed to developing future generations through the
Dominica Youth Business Trust. This teaches all-important business skills by working with institutions and donors to deliver “an efficient package of services to young entrepreneurs”, who will hopefully go on to establish sustainable businesses in the country.
Dominica’s official language is English, which means British investors won’t have any problems communicating with their employees. This also enables workers to speak confidently to any English-speaking customers or clients throughout the world. Sharing a language will also simplify the creation and sharing of any documentation required for a business to run smoothly.
3. Connections to foreign markets
Not only is Dominica is a member of CARICOM, which is currently exploring the prospect of integrating all of its states into a single economic unit and eliminating tariff barriers in the region, but it’s also part of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). This is dedicated to economic integration, and allows the free movement of citizens across all full member-states. These institutions give investors the opportunity to make the most of decreased trade barriers, as well as an abundance of potential employees within the area.
Away from the Caribbean, Dominica also benefits from the CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which was signed in March 2019 and eliminates tariffs on any goods imported from the island nation into the UK. Similarly, the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) gives Dominica duty-free access to the US market for the majority of goods. Dominica is also a member of the Commonwealth.
In terms of transport, Dominica is only a two-hour flight from the closest US port, while it takes just 15 minutes to reach the French Overseas Departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe. This provides easy access to Europe, while there is also regular sea and air transportation running to many other global markets.