Dominica – Country Profile

Dominica – Country Profile

General Information

Official Name Commonwealth of Dominica
Capital Roseau
Land Area 751 sq km
Population 73,449
National Holiday November 3rd (Independence Day)
Currency 1 $CAD =  2.16 East Caribbean Dollar (ECD)
Language(s) English (official), French patois
Source: Economic Intelligence Unit, Bank of Canada (Currency Conversion 02/07/2015)

Political Information

Form of State Parliamentary Democracy
Head of State Charles A. Savarin
Head of Government Roosevelt Skerrit
Elections Next October 2018
Source: CIA World Factbook, Economic Intelligence Unit

Economic Information

Dominica Canada
GDP (PPP) $979.48 Million $2,042.75 Trillion
GDP per capita $13,844.73 $57,569.65
GDP annual growth rate 1.4% 2.3%
GDP – composition by sector Agriculture: 14.8%Industry: 14.1%Services: 71.1% Agricultural: 1.7%Industry: 28.2%Services: 70.1%
Inflation rate – average consumer prices 2% 2%
Main Industries Soap, coconut oil, tourism, copra, furniture, cement blocks, shoes. Transportation equipment, chemicals, processed and unprocessed minerals, food products, wood and paper, fish products, petroleum and natural gas.
Source: IMF World Economic Outlook, World Bank Data, CIA World Factbook, Bank of Canada (Currency Conversion 16/07/2015).

Political and Economic Stability

Dominica is an independent state member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The OECS is a union of nine countries from the eastern Caribbean. OECS countries agreed to promote cooperation and assistance in the development of each nation after gaining independence from Great Britain (except Anguilla). The OECS shares a common supreme court and is governed by seven departments that cover all the nations: the Authority, the Council of Ministers, the Assembly, the Economic Affairs Council, the Commission, The Secretariat and the Institutions department.

More than a decade ago, the Dominican government began a comprehensive restructuring of the economy to address the financial crisis Dominica was going through at the time. This restructuring eliminated price controls, caused the privatization of the state banana company, and brought an increase in taxes among other things. The economy has been dependent on agriculture, primarily bananas in years past, but increasingly has been driven by tourism as the government seeks to promote the country as an “ecotourism” destination. Moreover, Dominica has an offshore medical education sector. In order to diversify the island’s economy, the government is also attempting to foster an offshore financial industry and plans to sign agreements with the private sector to develop geothermal energy resources.

As a result of the most recent global recession, the economy contracted and growth remains anemic. Although public debt levels continue to exceed pre-recession levels, the debt burden declined from 78% of GDP in 2011 to approximately 70% in 2012.


The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) recommends that Canadians exercise normal or high security precautions when traveling in Dominica, because of limited medical resources, unreliable public transportation and moderate crime rates in some of them. For detailed and up-to-date information on travel security, please refer to the DFATD Travel Report for Dominica.

Trade Information

Trade Partners & Direction 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Total exports to the world ($CAD thousands) 35,134 31,136 36,991 49,643 36,745
Total exports to Canada ($CAD thousands) 145 289 222 1,153 355
Total imports from Canada ($CAD) 4,840 4,030 5,497 4,948 9,083
Source: Trade Data Online (Industry Canada), Trade Map (International Trade Centre), World Integrated Trade
Excluding mineral products (HS2 Codes 26-27 and 71-80)
Source: International Trade Centre Trade Map

Business Climate

The World Bank’s annual Doing Business report ranks economies from 1 to 189 (with 1 being the best) on their ease of doing business. In the 2016 report, Dominica ranked 91 overall and 61 for Trading Across Borders, which measures the ease with which a standardized shipment of goods can be imported or exported across its borders. In the 2014 report, the average time to export goods in Dominica was between 13 days, with an average estimated cost of $CAD 1,006.33 per 20-foot container.

Although there are many reputable exporters in Dominica, Canadian importers should be aware that corruption could be an issue when doing business in the country. Dominica ranked between 58 out of 175 in Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index, where 1st place indicates highly corrupt.  Canadian companies are advised to exercise strict due diligence before working with a company from Dominica to ensure that it is a bona fide and reputable entity. It is suggested that Canadian importers commission a report by a credit information provider to verify the financial strength of the partner.

Sustainability Initiatives

Dominica, as a member of the OECS, adheres to the St. George’s Declaration, an act that establishes principles for environmental sustainability. This declaration outlines 21 principles concerning poverty reduction, strengthening regulation and the rule of law, social integration in industries, private sector involvement, education improvement, climate change preparation and mitigation, pollution management, protection of endangered species, developing science and technology, among others. Each member nation of the St. George’s Declaration has the responsibility to implement programs in accordance with this declaration in order to guarantee a sustainable region for the future.

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank encourages governments, industries and foundations located in the Eastern Caribbean Islands to develop programmes and initiatives for improving education, community outreach, sports funding, cultural development and education through awarding governments, public and private sector companies. Each year, The Best Corporate Citizen awards recognize and provide financial benefits to companies and entities that developed CSR initiatives in one or more of the OECS countries.

Trade Opportunities

When put through the test of time, industries can change in size and even relevance to a countries economy. Due to diversification efforts in recent years, the economy of Dominica has become less reliant on the agricultural sector and more so on services such as tourism. This is a strong growing sector in Dominica with many visitors from around the world looking for a natural and exotic destination. Aside from the environment offered to its visitors, the top 3 products exported to Canada by the nature isle of the Caribbean include artisanal soap, jams, and footwear.

1. Artisanal Soap

Dominica is the home of the Caribbean’s largest herbal forest Soap and cleaning products account for 18% of total exports, Dominica’s artisanal soaps offer therapeutic and traditional healing properties that target various skin problems.

2.  Footwear

A large spike in exportation to Canada can be seen in 2013. This was due to an increase in both footwear and electrical equipment being purchased by Canadian importers. The footwear industry in Dominica offers a great opportunity because of low labor cost and experienced management leading to high profits.

Useful Links

Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Site (OECS)
Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB)
Caribbean Community Secretariat  (CARICOM)
Caribbean Community Secretariat  (CARICOM) – Regional Statistics
Caribbean Network of Service Coalitions
Dominica Site
Government of Dominica
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Dominica
Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, Physical Planning & Fisheries of Dominica
Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce

Links to Cited Documents

Bank of Canada – Daily Currency Convertor
Canadian Trade Commissioner Service – Country Info
CIA World Factbook
DFATD (Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade & Development) – Foreign Relations
DFATD (Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade & Development) – Travel Reports
EDC (Export Development Canada) – Country Profiles
Industry Canada – Trade Data Online
International Trade Centre – Trade Map
Transparency International – Corruption Perception Index
World Bank – Doing Business Report
World Bank – Open Data
Bank of Canada – Daily Currency Convertor
Canadian Trade Commissioner Service – Country Info
CIA World Factbook
DFATD (Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade & Development) – Foreign Relations
DFATD (Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade & Development) – Travel Reports
EDC (Export Development Canada) – Country Profiles