In SKN Key Business Sectors
A new landscape of opportunities is available to investors under defined prioritized sectors.
Pasture areas are small, covering some 2.7% of the islands. Pangola and Bermuda grasses provide the bulk of the fodder. Livestock includes thousands to tens of thousands of sheep, goats, cattle, and pigs.
About 39% of the island’s land area is devoted to crops. The principal agricultural product of St. Kitts is sugarcane; peanuts are now the second crop. On Nevis, sea island cotton and coconuts are the major commodities. Sweet potatoes, onions, tomatoes, cabbages, carrots, and breadfruit are grown for local consumption on both islands, mostly by individual smallholders.
Faced with a sugar industry that was finding it increasingly difficult to earn a profit, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis embarked on a program to diversify the agricultural sector and stimulate the development of other sectors of the economy, particularly tourism. In July 2005, sugar production ceased.
The agriculture sector holds great potential for the creation of wealth for potential investors. The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has set in place an Agricultural Development Strategy in response global threats to food security.
The increasing demand for food staples spurred on by the increasing world population and the adverse effects on the price of food by factors such as oil prices, the occurrence of extreme weather conditions in key export markets and others, make investment in the agricultural sector a worthwhile venture. The roadmap to development in the agricultural sector is intended to reduce the country’s food importation bill through local production. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, tremendous opportunities are available for commercial farming as local demands continue to outpace local supply.
The government of St. Kitts and Nevis has employed a multidisciplinary approach to its Agricultural Development Strategy, encompassing vital components such as incentives packages, increase availability of land, investment in agro processing technology and increased linkages with the tourism sector.
Investors in this sector of the economy are free to take advantage of regional trade agreements derived from St. Kitts’ membership in CARICOM and the OECS to gain access to wider markets. St. Kitts’ geographical location in the Eastern Caribbean and modern air and sea port facilities provides a strategic advantage with existing shipping corridors to Jamaica in the North and Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana in the south.
Fishing is a traditional occupation that has not expanded to any great extent; the catch in 2000 was 257 tons (down from 620 tons in 1990). Some exports (primarily lobsters) are made to the Netherlands Antilles and Puerto Rico; fisheries exports totaled US$245,000 in 2000. Fish is caught by traditional methods such as beach-seining, pot and trap fishing & hand-lining. The catch is not enough to satisfy local demand for fish. Large quantities of dried, salted and smoked fish, as well as frozen are imported from Canada and USA.
St. Kitts is considered by many to be the financial capital of the Eastern Caribbean; home of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, The Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange, the Eastern Caribbean Regulatory Commission, The Eastern Caribbean Central Securities Registry, the Eastern Caribbean Central Securities Depository, the Eastern Caribbean Institute of Bankers and the Eastern Caribbean Home Mortgage Bank. Our finance business is comprised of deposit taking, investment, insurance, trust and corporate business which are regulated by licensing criterion and clear legislation which meet international standards.
Both islands have small virgin tropical forests, with palms, poincianas, and palmettos. About 11% of the land area consists of forests. Forest products nearly reached US$1.8 million in 2000.
The St. Kitts and Nevis Accreditation Board is also tasked to accredit tertiary-level education institutions and programmes that lead to MBBS/MD degrees. It is essential that schools located in the Federation that offer these programs adhere to international and national standards of educational quality. By judging compliance to the Federation accreditation regulations, the public and enrolled students would be assured of the institution’s credibility and reliability.
The manufacturing sector is a major pillar of the St. Kitts economy. It has been a consistent contributor to the domestic economy and the overall development of St. Kitts and Nevis over the last 30 years. The sector contributes approximately 8-10% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and sustains over 2000 jobs or 8.54% of the country’s workforce. St. Kitts is the leading exporter in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
According to the National Energy Policy, St. Kitts’ vision is to become the smallest green nation in the Western Hemisphere – with a sustainable energy sector, where reliable, renewable, clean, and affordable energy services are provided to all its citizens. The island has embarked on a very ambitious goal to achieve 60% renewable energy consumption by the year 2017. St. Kitts requires a holistic approach to address challenges in the energy sector and to transition to a more sustainable energy sector. Such challenges include consumption patterns, types of fuel used, infrastructure and management, and the types of energy carriers.
Since the closure of the sugar industry in 2005, attempts by government to transform the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis to a more service-based economy has resulted in creation of several economic sub-sectors. Among such sectors, is the creation and establishment of the *St. Kitts and Nevis International Ship Registry. Established under the Department of Maritime Affairs primarily to provide ship owners around the globe with a high-quality service, the ship registry of St. Kitts and Nevis is holding its own and forging ahead especially when compared to other registries such Panama, Liberia and the Bahamas ship registry.
In fact, through the ship registry and with no restrictions on ownership of St. Kitts and Nevis ships, SKN is rapidly becoming one of leading flags under which shipowners can be assured that all their administrative and shipping needs will be fulfilled. Availability and accessibility is to local and foreign corporations and individuals and any type of ship, including yachts, non-propelled barges, rigs and ships under bareboat charter, with ships able to be bareboat chartered both into and out of St. Kitts & Nevis for either long or short periods.
Pleasure and Commercial Yachts may be registered, allowing for St. Kitts and Nevis International Ship Registry to provide for the use of a variety of industry standard Yacht Codes for technical regulation, giving flexibility to the yacht owner. A competitive fee structure and fast turnaround of applications to assist ship owners in today’s world of commercial pressures and instant communication is one of the greatest hallmarks of the St. Kitts and Nevis International Ship Registry. To facilitate speedy registration, a worldwide network of offices, staffed by professional and experienced Maritime Registrars and Special Agents are empowered to accept application documents, deal with questions and procedural aspects of ship and seafarer registration ‘face-to-face’ as the local contact for a shipowners so avoiding any delays, especially those caused by time zones.
*a member of MAIIF- the Maritime Accident Investigators International Forum
St. Kitts is arguably one of the most sought-after tourism destinations in the Caribbean region, with stay-over visitor arrival averaging an increase of 13.4 percent over the past several years. This upturn in visitor arrival is expected to continue well into the future with the completion of the Christophe Harbour, Ocean’s Edge and, Silver Reef Resorts Developments.
The construction of the elegant 636 room St. Kitts Marriott Resort and the 35,000 square foot Royal Beach Casino in 2003 has indeed propelled St. Kitts to the forefront of resort destinations. The realization of the St. Kitts Marriott Resort is attestation to the opportunities for investors to create wealth in the tourism sector. There has also been steady development in our alluring resort area of Frigate Bay. In addition, the Government has designated lands in the Whitegate area (once part of the sugarcane belt) and the La Valley area for low, environmental impact tourism development.