Antigua and Barbuda is an independent Commonwealth country comprising of two main islands which give the country its namesake, and several smaller uninhabited ones. It is located between the Atlantic and Caribbean and is mostly known for its 365 white sand beaches, made all the more dramatic by its the deep blue waters. Due to the crystal-clear waters, the environment is ideal for boat trips and snorkelling. Antigua and Barbuda is also known for its tropical climate, further made evident through its lush rainforest.
Once a part of the British Empire, British influences are naturally visible in the islands’ government, culture and language. Locals are English-speaking, and the people are very warm and hospitable.
Antigua is also a yachting hub and the location of the historic Nelson’s Dockyard, a popular cultural heritage site and marina. In the capital, St. John’s, the national museum displays indigenous and colonial artefacts.
On the whole, the economy of Antigua and Barbuda is generally positive with a 4.9% growth rate (2018). As in other Caribbean nations, agriculture was abandoned as a primary industry, however this was the case even more so than in other states, with this only making up approximately 2% of GDP, due to Antigua’s limited water supply and a labour shortage stemming from the lure of higher wages in tourism and construction.
Tourism continues to dominate Antigua and Barbuda’s economy. In 2018, travel and tourism directly contributed to 13.1% of the country’s GDP. In the same year, the sector also directly employed 13.6% of the country’s population, making it a significant employment sector on the island. Like other Caribbean nations the currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar and it is pegged to the US Dollar.
Prospects for future economic growth in the medium term will continue to depend on tourist arrivals from the US, Canada, and Europe and could be disrupted by potential damage from natural disasters. The economy took a hit in 2017 after the Hurricane season in which Barbuda suffered significant damages with 95% of Barbuda’s buildings were destroyed or significantly damaged. The island also had its entire population evacuated, after hurricanes Irma and Maria passed through. However, Antigua was left relatively unharmed and was open for business only four days after the tropical storm passed which showcased the tenacity of its people. The government continuously makes efforts to diversify the economy so as to minimize its vulnerability to natural disasters and occasional declines in tourism. This can be evidenced in the rising importance of sectors such as communication and financial services.
The new government, elected in 2014, led by Prime Minister Gaston Browne, continues to face public fiscal challenges. The government has put some of its hope in a new Citizenship by Investment Programme to both reduce public debt levels and further increase economic growth.
There are no official house price records in Antigua and Barbuda, and reliable information is hard to come by. Nevertheless, based on recent research the market appears to have remained unchanged. Two-bedroom houses average around US$350,000 while three-bedroom and up houses cost about US$600,000.
Most properties available are freehold and when buying property to rent out, individuals can avail themselves of the services of a property management company for 10%-20% of the monthly rental income which includes an all-inclusive management of the property. Given the climatic risks, all purchasers are advised to take out home insurance to cover the building and separate contents cover if required. This is usually about 2% of the insured value.
Antigua and Barbuda is divided into six medical districts and a district medical officer is appointed to provide medical services in each district. The provision of primary health care is delivered through a number of health centres that are located within a 3 km radius of every major settlement. There are also multiple pharmacies located throughout the islands.
Health care in Antigua and Barbuda is provided through four main institutions. The main medical care facility in Antigua is the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre which is the only public acute care facility and has facilities which adhere to international standards. There is also a small medical facility on Barbuda, however any medical emergencies are diverted to the former. There is also a private hospital on Antigua; the Adelin Medical Centre. Other facilities include the Fiennes Institute for the aged.
The country’s public health system has a National Drug Formulary that provides a total of 360 different drugs, guaranteeing availability of medication to all people suffering from chronic conditions. The Ministry of Health is responsible for the health of the nation and is financed mainly through allocations from the Ministry of Finance.
Education in Antigua and Barbuda is free and compulsory for citizens aged between 5 and 16 and includes transport, school infrastructure and class materials. Primary education starts at age 5 and lasts for 7 years. Unfortunately, less than half of primary school pupils continue with secondary school which lasts for a further five years. Although attendance rates are lower, the standard is adequate and has a favourable student-teacher rate of 13:1. The state curriculum remains strictly academic throughout without any vocational alternative.
Vocational training in these islands is under control of the national training agency that is responsible for setting and maintaining national standards. The Antigua State College delivers courses in office management, home management, agriculture, electronics and refrigeration among others. There are three small community colleges in Antigua and Barbuda. The University of Health Sciences trains medical practitioners, however this is not widely recognized beyond the islands. The University of the West Indies School of Continuing Studies which offers adult training and the University of the West Indies maintains an extramural department in Antigua. There are no universities that offer high quality graduate and post graduate degrees on the island and therefore many tertiary students study elsewhere in the Americas.
Antigua is vulnerable to hurricanes as the island is located in the hurricane region, similar to other Caribbean countries. The hurricane season normally runs from June to November and therefore it is wise to avoid staying on the island during these months. There is no established presence of international organised criminal groups in Antigua and Barbuda. Although the justice and security sectors suffer from under-resourcing and inefficiency, the corruption rates are relatively low. However, an increase in government funds is required to address the acute backlog of cases in the justice system.
The Royal Antigua and Barbuda Police Force (RABPF) is the primary body responsible for domestic law, which falls under the Ministry of National Security and Labour. In addition to the police force there is the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) which coordinates counter-narcotics and anti-money laundering operations. The military’s primary responsibility is external defence, though it has also been involved in conducting operations alongside police officers.
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- Right to live & work in the country
- 150 Visa-free destinations inc UK & EU & Russia
- Dual citizenship is allowed
- Minimum taxation
- Contribute a donation to the National Development of min. USD $100.000 Fund or;
- Invest in Real Estate of min. USD $400.000 or;
- Business investment of min. USD $400.000
- Exempt from taxation on foreign income,
- Exempt from taxation on wealth tax
- Exempt from taxation on inheritance tax
- Exempt from taxation on gift or capital gains
- Main Applicant Minimum 18 years of Age
- Clean Criminal Record
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