Curaçao is located in the Southern Caribbean, just off the coast of Venezuela. Curaçao is an autonomous country within the Royal Dutch Kingdom and together with its neighbors Aruba and Bonaire it constitutes the so-called 'ABC' islands or Leeward Antilles. Located in the tropics, just 12° north of the Equator, Curaçao has a warm, sunny climate all year round. The average temperature is about 27° C (in the mid 80s F). The language widely spoken on Curaçao is Papiamento, a Creole language with elements of African, Portuguese, Spanish, English and Dutch.
A main characteristic of the Curacao’s economy is the diversity of the economic structure which is based on a variety of “profitable” sectors.
A relatively large share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) can be ascribed to services (tourism, financial services and transport). Less sizeable, sectors are construction and agriculture & fisheries. This division reflects the limited availability of natural resources.
The main services provided by the local economy are: trade, tourism and financial and business services. Of the latter, international financial services (financial offshore) formed an important part in the past.
Curaçao has an open economy, with tourism, international trade, shipping services, oil refining, storage (oil and bunkering) and international financial services being the most important sectors.
Curaçao's has its own currency and its economy is well developed, supporting a high standard of living, ranking 46th in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) per capita and 27th in the world in terms of nominal GDP per capita. Curaçao possesses a high income economy, as defined by the World Bank. Activities related to the port of Willemstad (like the Free Trade Zone) make a significant contribution to the economy. To achieve the government's aim to make its economy more diverse, efforts are being made to attract more foreign investment. This policy, called the 'Open Arms' policy, features a heavy focus on information technology companies.
While tourism plays a major role in Curaçao's economy, it is less reliant on tourism than other Caribbean countries. Most tourists originate from the Netherlands, Eastern United States, South America and other Caribbean Islands.
Curacao’s National Development Plan, 2015-2030
This National Development Plan (NDP) is the first NDP using the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals which were adopted by the United Nations with the aim to transform our world. This National Development Plan is based on a long-term vision of change for Curaçao in five interlocked themes - Education; Economy; Sustainability; National Identity and Good Governance - all working together to build a thriving nation.
The NDP incorporates a long-term vision, it is a plan focused on the execution of those catalytic short-term initiative which will put Curaçao on the path towards resiliency and attainment of its long-term vision. Integration with four Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provides a framework of measurable goals and targets at a critical time of global development, rooted in local challenges.
These topics are at the core of the development of any human being and the community.
The NDP presents an extraordinary opportunity for both the government and citizens of Curacao to work together towards improving the quality of life for all citizens. As part of the process a focus on four of the seventeen SDGs was agreed upon:
• Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all (Goal 4).
• Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all (Goal 7).
• Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all (Goal 8).
• Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development (Goal 14).
As other small island states, Curacao is dependent on import, highly vulnerable to exogenous shocks, sensitive to potentially large changes in population and to brain-drain, and reliant on a limited number of economic activities.
Besides said unavoidable constraints and challenges, Curacao has to cope with a number of specific macro weaknesses and challenges that have been hampering economic growth.
In particular amongst others:
- Low profitability due to relatively high costs of doing business;
- Rigid labor law and legislation;
- Relatively high administrative burden (immigration, work permits etc)
- Mismatch between the supply and demand sides of the labour market.
These weaknesses and challenges were also identified in the analysis that was executed in the process leading to the long term economic strategy. This implies that concrete recommendations have been made in the long term economic strategy in order to cope with aforementioned weaknesses and challenges to realize sustainable economic development and growth.