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COUNTRY PROFILES


PROFILE

Country Facts

Area: 340 sq km; (133 sq miles)
Population: 106,500 (207 EIU est.)
Capital City: St George's (population: 33,734)
People: Grenada's population is mainly of African descent. A few East Indians and a small community of the descendants of early European settlers reside in Grenada. About 50% of Grenada's population is under the age of 30. The official language is English with a few people speaking French patois. A more significant reminder of Grenada's historical link with France is the strength of the Roman Catholic Church, to which about 50% of Grenadians belong. The Anglican Church is the largest Protestant denomination.
Religions: Roman Catholic 53%, Anglican 13.8%, other Protestant 33.2%
Currency: Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD) which is pegged at XCD 2.70 to US$1.00
Major Political Parties: National Democratic Congress (NDC); New National Party (NNP); Grenada United Labour Party (GULP); People's Labour Movement (PLM)
Government: Grenada is governed under a parliamentary system based on the British model. It has a Governor-General, a Prime Minister and a Cabinet, a bicameral Parliament with an elected 15-member House of Representatives, and a politically appointed 13-member Senate. Security in Grenada is maintained by the 650 members of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF), which includes an 80-member paramilitary special services unit (SSU) and a 30-member coast guard.
Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by the Governor-General Sir Carlyle Glean.
Minister/Premier: The Hon Tillman Thomas
Foreign Minister: The Hon Peter David
Membership of international groups/organisations: United Nations (UN), Organisation of American States (OAS), the Commonwealth, African, Caribbean Pacific Group of States (ACP), Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Caribbean Development Bank (CDB),(G-77), UNESCO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the International Whaling Commission, World Bank and IMF. Grenada chaired Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in the first half of 2011.

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HEALTH

Life expectancy: 68 years
Infant mortality: 17 per 1,000 live births

HIV/AIDS

The incidence of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean region is second only to sub-Sahara Africa. The main mod of HIV transmission in the Caribbean is unprotected heterosexual intercourse.

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ECONOMY

Basic Economic Facts

GDP (2009 est): US$ 683m (CIA World Handbook)
GDP per head (2009 est): US$ 12,700 (CIA World Handbook)
Real GDP: annual growth at factor cost (2009) -5% (EIU)
Inflation: 1.4% (EIU)
The main sources of employment in Grenada are agriculture, construction and tourism. Tourism is Grenada's main foreign exchange earner. The global economic crisis weakened tourism demand.. Remittances slowed down in 2009.. Inflation did rise significantly to 8.2% in 2008 however it has since dropped back to 1.4% in 2009 (EIU)The banking sector is expected to remain resilient, notwithstanding the international financial turmoil, and based on the performance to date of their primarily Canadian parent banks. Some service industries show growth potential, including offshore medical schools, which already play an important economic role in Grenada.

The main export and principal crop is nutmeg but banana, cocoa and fish exports also contribute to the economy. The importance of agriculture has been reduced over the last decade with natural disasters, declining international prices and disease affecting this sector. The Ministry of Agriculture has developed a National Strategy to address the decline in people working in the agriculture sector. Banana growers have benefited by a growing niche market for Fair Trade crops within the UK market, so the sector is expected to survive in the medium term, although this is partly dependent upon the outcome of a challenge within the WTO by Ecuador on the EU import regime. However, overall agriculture is likely to remain weak for the foreseeable future.

Unemployment, particularly among the youth population, remains high.


Hurricane Ivan

Hurricane Ivan - the worst for 49 years - hit Grenada in September 2004, causing massive damage and destruction. In addition to the dead and injured, 50% of the population were estimated to have lost their homes with 90% of housing stock damaged.

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HISTORY

Grenada was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1498 and named Concepcion. Grenada was later colonised by the French and, in 1763, ceded to Great Britain in the Treaty of Versailles. Grenada became a self-governing Associated State in 1967 and gained independence on 7 February 1974. In 1979 the then elected government was overthrown by the New Jewel Movement led by Maurice Bishop, who formed a People's Revolutionary Government (PRG). Disagreements within the PRG resulted in the arrest and subsequent assassination of Bishop in October 1983. The PRG was replaced briefly by a Revolutionary Military Council. These events led to an intervention by US and Caribbean forces in late 1983 and a return to democracy. The current Prime Minister, the Hon Tillman Thomas, was elected in July 2008.

BBC News Country Timeline: Grenada (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/country_profiles/1209649.stm)

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INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Grenada's Relations with the UK

UK/Grenada relations are good. UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, met with Grenadian Prime Minister, Tillman Thomas, during the UK-Caribbean Ministerial Forum held in Grenada in January 2012.

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GEOGRAPHY

Grenada, and its sister islands of Carriacou and Petit Martinique, are the most southerly islands of the Eastern Caribbean and are located approximately 90 miles north of Trinidad. Grenada is volcanic in origin with tropical rainforests and mangrove swamps contributing to its rich and diverse natural vegetation. It enjoys a tropical climate with a rainy season from June to December and a drier, less humid climate, from January to May.

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TRADE AND INVESTMENT

UK Development Assistance

The Department for International Development (DFID) released considerable sums for emergency assistance to Grenada following Hurricane Ivan.

In Grenada and the other Windward Islands (St Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia and Dominica) DfID works in the areas of public sector reform, economic and fiscal management, education and HIV/AIDS. DFID has published a Regional Development Strategy for the Caribbean covering the period 2008-2013. This can be viewed on the DFID website (link below).

Department for International Development (DFID) (http://www.dfid.gov.uk)

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POLITICS

Tillman Thomas was elected Grenada's new Prime Minister on 8 July 2008. His National Democratic Congress (NDC) defeated Dr Keith Mitchell's New National Party in a General election. The NDC won 11 of the 15 seats in the Grenada parliament. Tillman Thomas, a veteran legislator, returned his party to power after 13 years in opposition.

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Last Updated: February 2012

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