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Dominica



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Introduction

Background: Dominica was the last of the Caribbean islands to be colonized by Europeans, due chiefly to the fierce resistance of the native Caribs. France ceded possession to Great Britain in 1763, which made the island a colony in 1805. In 1980, two years after independence, Dominica's fortunes improved when a corrupt and tyrannical administration was replaced by that of Mary Eugenia CHARLES, the first female prime minister in the Caribbean, who remained in office for 15 years.

Geography

Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about one-half of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago

Geographic coordinates: 15 25 N, 61 20 W

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

Area
  total: 754 sq km
  land: 754 sq km
  water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly more than four times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 148 km

Maritime claims
  contiguous zone: 24 nm
  exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
  territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical; moderated by northeast trade winds; heavy rainfall

Terrain: rugged mountains of volcanic origin

Elevation extremes
  lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
  highest point: Morne Diablatins 1,447 m

Natural resources: timber, hydropower, arable land

Land use
  arable land: 9%
  permanent crops: 13%
  permanent pastures: 3%
  forests and woodland: 67%
  other: 8% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: flash floods are a constant threat; destructive hurricanes can be expected during the late summer months

Environment - current issues: NA

Environment - international agreements
  party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
  signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

People

Population: 71,540 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure
  0-14 years: 29% (male 10,556; female 10,254)
  15-64 years: 63% (male 23,151; female 21,984)
  65 years and over: 8% (male 2,294; female 3,301) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: -1.14% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 18.27 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 7.3 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: -22.39 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio
  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
  under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
  15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
  65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
  total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 17.13 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
  total population: 73.35 years
  male: 70.5 years
  female: 76.36 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.05 children born/woman (2000 est.)

Nationality
  noun: Dominican(s)
  adjective: Dominican

Ethnic groups: black, Carib Amerindian

Religions: Roman Catholic 77%, Protestant 15% (Methodist 5%, Pentecostal 3%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3%, Baptist 2%, other 2%), none 2%, other 6%

Languages: English (official), French patois

Literacy
  definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
  total population: 94%
  male: 94%
  female: 94% (1970 est.)

Government

Country name
  conventional long form: Commonwealth of Dominica
  conventional short form: Dominica

Data code: DO

Government type: parliamentary democracy; republic within the Commonwealth

Capital: Roseau

Administrative divisions: 10 parishes; Saint Andrew, Saint David, Saint George, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Luke, Saint Mark, Saint Patrick, Saint Paul, Saint Peter

Independence: 3 November 1978 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 3 November (1978)

Constitution: 3 November 1978

Legal system: based on English common law

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
  chief of state: President Vernon Lorden SHAW (since 7 October 1998)
  head of government: Prime Minister Roosevelt DOUGLAS (since 2 February 2000)
  cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
  elections: president elected by the House of Assembly for a five-year term; election last held 7 October 1998 (next to be held NA October 2003); prime minister appointed by the president
  election results: Vernon Lorden SHAW elected president; percent of legislative vote - NA

Legislative branch: unicameral House of Assembly (30 seats, 9 appointed senators, 21 elected by popular vote representatives; members serve five-year terms)
  elections: last held 31 January 2000 (next to be held by NA 2005)
  election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - LPD 10, UWP 9, DFP 2

Judicial branch: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (located in Saint Lucia), one of the six judges must reside in Dominica and preside over the Court of Summary Jurisdiction

Political parties and leaders: Dominica Freedom Party or DFP [Charles SAVARIN]; Labor Party of Dominica or LPD [Rosie DOUGLAS]; United Workers Party or UWP [Edison JAMES]

Political pressure groups and leaders: Dominica Liberation Movement or DLM (a small leftist party)

International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM (observer), OAS, OECS, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US
  chief of mission: Ambassador Nicholas J. O. LIVERPOOL (resident in Dominica)
  chancery: 3216 New Mexico Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
  telephone: [1] (202) 364-6781
  FAX: [1] (202) 364-6791
  consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Dominica; US interests are served by the embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados

Flag description: green, with a centered cross of three equal bands - the vertical part is yellow (hoist side), black, and white and the horizontal part is yellow (top), black, and white; superimposed in the center of the cross is a red disk bearing a sisserou parrot encircled by 10 green, five-pointed stars edged in yellow; the 10 stars represent the 10 administrative divisions (parishes)

Economy

Economy - overview: The economy depends on agriculture and is highly vulnerable to climatic conditions, notably tropical storms. Agriculture, primarily bananas, accounts for 21% of GDP and employs 40% of the labor force. Development of the tourist industry remains difficult because of the rugged coastline, lack of beaches, and the lack of an international airport. Hurricane Luis devastated the country's banana crop in September 1995; tropical storms had wiped out one-quarter of the crop in 1994 as well. The economy's recovery continued in 1998, fueled by increases in construction, soap production, and tourist arrivals. The government is attempting to develop an offshore financial industry in order to diversify the island's production base.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $225 million (1998 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 2% (1998 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $3,400 (1998 est.)

GDP - composition by sector
  agriculture: 21%
  industry: 16%
  services: 63% (1999 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share
  lowest 10%: NA%
  highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.1% (1998)

Labor force: 25,000

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 40%, industry and commerce 32%, services 28%

Unemployment rate: 20% (1999 est.)

Budget
  revenues: $72 million
  expenditures: $79.9 million, including capital expenditures of $11.5 million (FY97/98)

Industries: soap, coconut oil, tourism, copra, furniture, cement blocks, shoes

Industrial production growth rate: -10% (1997 est.)

Electricity - production: 40 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source
  fossil fuel: 50%
  hydro: 50%
  nuclear: 0%
  other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 37 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: bananas, citrus, mangoes, root crops, coconuts, cocoa; forest and fishery potential not exploited

Exports: $60.8 million (1998)

Exports - commodities: bananas 50%, soap, bay oil, vegetables, grapefruit, oranges

Exports - partners: Caricom countries 47%, UK 36%, US 7% (1996 est.)

Imports: $120.4 million (1998)

Imports - commodities: manufactured goods, machinery and equipment, food, chemicals

Imports - partners: US 41%, Caricom countries 25%, UK 13%, Netherlands, Canada (1996 est.)

Debt - external: $90 million (1998 est.)

Economic aid - recipient: $24.4 million (1995)

Currency: 1 East Caribbean dollar (EC$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: East Caribbean dollars (EC$) per US$1 - 2.7000 (fixed rate since 1976)

Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use: 18,000 (1995)

Telephones - mobile cellular: NA

Telephone system
  domestic: fully automatic network
  international: microwave radio relay and SHF radiotelephone links to Martinique and Guadeloupe; VHF and UHF radiotelephone links to Saint Lucia

Radio broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 10, shortwave 0 (1998)

Radios: 46,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 0 (however, there is one cable television company) (1997)

Televisions: 6,000 (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): NA

Transportation

Railways: 0 km

Highways
  total: 780 km
  paved: 393 km
  unpaved: 387 km (1996 est.)

Ports and harbors: Portsmouth, Roseau

Merchant marine: none (1999 est.)

Airports: 2 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways
  total: 2
  914 to 1,523 m: 2 (1999 est.)

Military

Military branches: Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force (includes Special Service Unit, Coast Guard)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: NA%

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: none

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for narcotics bound for the US and Europe; minor cannabis producer; banking industry is vulnerable to money laundering

 

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