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Country Facts

Area: 754 sq km (290 sq miles)
Population: 72,900 (2011 est)
Capital City: Roseau
People: Dominica is the only island in the Eastern Caribbean to retain some of its pre-Colombian population - the Carib Indians - about 3,000 of whom live on the island's East Coast. The population growth rate is very low, due primarily to emigration to more prosperous Caribbean Islands, the UK, the United States, and Canada.
Languages: The official language is English. However, because of historic connections with France, the most widely spoken dialect is the French patois, Creole.
Religion(s): Roman Catholic 77%, Protestant (Methodist, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist, Baptist, other)
Currency: Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD) which is pegged at XCD 2.70 = US$1.00
Major Political Parties: Dominica Labour Party (DLP); United Workers Party (UWP); Dominica Freedom Party (DFP)
Government: Dominica has a Westminster-style parliamentary government. A President and Prime Minister make up the executive branch. Nominated by the Prime Minister in consultation with the leader of the opposition party, the President is elected for a five-year term by the unicameral Parliament. The President appoints as Prime Minister the leader of the majority party in the Parliament and also appoints, on the Prime Minister's recommendation, members of the Parliament from the ruling party as cabinet ministers. The Prime Minister and cabinet are responsible to the parliament and can be removed on a no-confidence vote. The unicameral Parliament, called the House of Assembly, is composed of 21 regional representatives and nine Senators. The regional representatives are elected by universal suffrage and, in turn, decide whether Senators are to be elected or appointed. If appointed, five are chosen by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister and four with the advice of the opposition leader. If elected, it is by the vote of the regional representatives. Elections for Representatives and Senators must be held at least every five years, although the Prime Minister can call elections any time. Dominica's legal system is based on English common law. There are three magistrate's courts, with appeals made to the Eastern Caribbean court of appeal and, ultimately, to the Privy Council in London.
Head of State: President Dr Nicholas Liverpool
Prime Minister: The Hon Roosevelt Skerrit MP
Foreign Minister: The Hon Roosevelt Skerrit MP
Membership of international groupings/organisations: Dominica's memberships include: the Commonwealth, Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), The Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP), United Nations (UN), UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), UNESCO, Organisation of American States (OAS), IMF, WHO, Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA).

Did You Know?

Dominica has the second highest ratio of centenarians in the Western Hemisphere, after Canada.HEALTH

Life expectancy: 75.9 years (2011 est World Factbook)
Infant mortality: 12.7 per 1,000 live births (2011 World Factbook)


The incidence of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean region is second only to sub-Sahara Africa. The main mode of HIV transmission in the Caribbean is unprotected heterosexual intercourse. Dominica is tackling the HIV/AIDS pandemic mainly through an education programme.

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Basic Economic Facts

GDP (official exchange rate): US$376 million (2010 est World Factbook)
Actual growth rate: 1% (2010 est World Factbook)
Inflation: 0.1% (2009 est World Factbook)Major industries: bananas, soap, coconut oil, tourism
Major trading partners:
Export partners: Japan 28.62%, UK 19.81%, Antigua and Barbuda 7.7%, Guyana 6.52%, Jamaica 5.4%, Trinidad and Tobago 4.2% (2009 World Factbook)
Import partners: Japan 31.29%, US 19.73%, Trinidad and Tobago 11.8%, China 11.58% (2009)
Agriculture: Tropical and citrus fruits are the main crops. Products for export are bananas, fruit juices, lime oil, bay oil, copra and rum. Forestry, fisheries and agro-processing are being encouraged.

Agriculture is Dominica's mainstay and bananas in particular, but less than a third of the island is under cultivation due to the mountainous terrain. However, the sector has been in decline, with its proportion of GDP falling from 25% in 1990 to 18% in 2005. Hurricane Dean, which passed over Dominica in August 2007 destroyed much of what was left of the banana industry. In attempts to boost the economy Dominica is increasingly looking to niche markets in eco-agriculture and eco-tourism. There is also a small offshore financial sector, with an estimated 9000 international businesses. Weak export prices and the gradual phasing out of preferential access to the EU market have affected the banana industry, which has started to decline; along with the downturn in global tourism since 2001 this has caused the economy to struggle in recent years. The unemployment rate is 11%.

Dominica benefited from added cruise ship calls, which boosted cruise passenger arrivals by nearly 52% year on year in the first ten months of 2009. The Caribbean Tourism Organisation attributes this to a combination of aggressive marketing campaigns by cruise lines and deep price reductions.


The IMF noted Dominica's vulnerability to external shocks and the measures taken by the government under the country's poverty reduction and growth facility (PRGF), which has resulted in falling debt ratios and improved revenue collection. The IMF pointed out a need to restore growth in a less favourable global environment and to consolidate fiscal stability while maintaining recent reform momentum. Public capital expenditure is largely grant financed (by the EU, Trinidad and Tobago, China and Venezuela), with grants equivalent to 9.5% of GDP, up from 4% in the 1990s. Under the IMF's baseline scenario, with annual growth assumed at 3% over the medium term and current fiscal targets achieved, debt would reach the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) target of 60% of GDP by 2014. However, this is based on the assumption that Dominica will achieve high rates of growth in 2009-11.

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Spotted by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and named after the day of his discovery, a Sunday (Dominica in Latin), Dominica was the last of the Caribbean islands to be colonised 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 1967 Dominica gained autonomy in internal affairs, and on 3 November 1978 Dominica became an independent republic within the Commonwealth. After a turbulent first year of independence, marked by a corrupt government and devastating hurricanes, Mary Eugenia Charles of the Dominica Freedom Party was elected Prime Minister, the first female prime minister in the Caribbean. She remained in office for 15 years.

BBC News Country Timeline: Dominica (

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Relations with Neighbours

Dominica, due to its proximity, has forged strong relationships with the French Departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe. There are sizeable Dominican populations on both islands. Dominica takes its CARICOM and OECS responsibilities seriously and is an active participant in both organisations.

Relations with the International Community

In January 2008 Dominica joined the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA). ALBA was spearheaded by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and in addition to Dominica has Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua & Barbuda as members.

Dominica's relations with the International Community are varied and often based on personalities, for example its relationship with Libya and Cuba. Dominica enjoys close relationships with The People's Republic of China and Japan who are both large aid donors.

Relations with the UK

UK/Dominican relations are good. There is regular high level engagement on a range of issues through our High Commission in Barbados. FCO Minister, Jeremy Browne, met with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit during the UK-Caribbean Ministerial Forum in Grenada in January 2012.

Cultural relations with the UK

With a large number of Dominicans returning from the UK for retirement, cultural relations are strong. The Creole influence is however probably the most noticeable.

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Dominica, the most northern Windward Island, is mountainous and forest-clad and has a warm year-round tropical climate. Its varied flora and fauna are protected by an extensive national parks system. The island has the highest mountain in the Eastern Caribbean: Morne Diabotin (4,747 feet). Its volcanic peaks are cones of lava craters and include Boiling Lake, the second-largest thermally active lake in the world. The mountains act as a magnet for rain and serve as a water source for the hundreds of rivers that run down the lush green valleys, many cascading over steep cliff faces on their way to the coast. The driest months are February to June, the wettest month is August.

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Trade and Investment with the UK

Dominica represents a small market for British exports, but relies heavily on the UK to take about 50% of its total exports, including 90% of the banana crop. The UK's primary exports are machinery and transport equipment and food and beverages.

The Department for International Development (DFID) has published a Regional Development Strategy for the Caribbean covering the period up to 2008-2013. This can be viewed on the DFID website (link below).

UK Development Assistance

Department for International Development (DFID) (
The Department for International Development (DFID) has a substantial regional programme in the Caribbean with three strategic priorities; security and governance; wealth creation; and helping vulnerable coastal communities from the impact of climate change. Dominica will benefit from this new regional programme which hopes to create thousands of new jobs and enable over two hundred thousand people to better cope with the effects of climate change and natural disasters.

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A general election on 18 December 2009 returned the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) to power. The DLP won 18 of the 21 seats with three going to the United Workers Party.

The next general election is due by March 2015.

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Last Updated: 28

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