The economy of Grenada is a largely tourism-based, small and open economy. Over the past two decades, the main thrust of Grenada’s economy has shifted from agriculture to services, with tourism serving as the leading foreign currency earning sector. The country’s principal export crops are the spices nutmeg and mace (Grenada is the world’s second largest producer of nutmeg after Indonesia). Other crops for export include cocoa, citrus fruits, bananas, cloves, and cinnamon. Manufacturing industries in Grenada operate mostly on a small scale, including production of beverages and other foodstuffs, textiles, and the assembly of electronic components for export.
In 2017, Grenada experienced its fifth consecutive year of growth and the government successfully marked the completion of its five-year structural adjustment program that included among other things austerity measures, increased tax revenue and debt restructuring. Public debt-to-GDP was reduced from 100% of GDP in 2013 to 71.8% in 2017.
Grenada’s GDP grew an estimated 3.1% in 2019, driven by strong activity in construction and tourism. According to the updated IMF forecasts from 14 April 2020, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19, GDP growth is expected to slow down to -8% in 2020 and pick up to 6.1% in 2021, subject to the post-pandemic global economic recovery.
Tourism is the mainstay of Grenada’s economy. Conventional beach and water-sports tourism is largely focused in the southwest region around St George, the airport and the coastal strip. Ecotourism is growing in significance. Most small ecofriendly guesthouses are located in the Saint David and Saint John parishes. The tourism industry is increasing dramatically with the construction of a large cruise ship pier and esplanade.
Grenada has many beaches around its coastline, including the 3 km (1.9 mi) long Grand Anse Beach in St George, often hailed as one of the best beaches in the world. Grenada’s many waterfalls are also popular with tourists. The nearest to St. George’s is the Annandale Waterfalls, but other notable ones like Mt. Carmel, Concord, Seven Sisters and Tufton Hall also being within easy reach.
Several festivals also draw in tourists, such as Carriacou Maroon and String Band Music Festival in April, the Annual Budget Marine Spice Island Bill Fish Tournament, the Island Water World Sailing Week and the Grenada Sailing Festival Work Boat Regatta.
Other than tourism, Grenada relies on revenue generated by St. George’s University – a private university offering degrees in medicine, veterinary medicine, public health, the health sciences, nursing, arts and sciences, and business – as its main source of foreign exchange.
In August 2014, SGU received a $750 million investment from Baring Private Equity Asia and Altas Partners, a Canadian private equity company whose other major investment is in a salt mining operation.
Agriculture and exports
An independent nation within the British Commonwealth and part of the Windward Islands in the southern Caribbean, Grenada is known as the Spice Island. Well known for its nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla, there are more spices in Grenada per square mile than anywhere else on the planet. Nutmeg is the most abundant spice as well as Grenada’s top export and depicted on the national flag. Grenada produces about a third of the world’s supply. Other major exports include bananas, cocoa, fruit and vegetables, clothing, chocolate and fish.
The Grenada investment program
In the past two years the country expanded its sources of revenue, including from selling passports under its citizenship by investment program. These projects produced a resurgence in the construction and manufacturing sectors of the economy.
The Grenada investment visa programme provides second citizenship in Grenada and a passport to investors offering visa-free travel to over 143 countries including the UK, EU Schengen countries and China. Grenada also offers access for its citizens to the USA E2 treaty investor visa which allows citizens of Grenada to operate a substantial business in the U.S. and reside there. Many countries in the world including China and India do not have an E-2 treaty with the USA. In such circumstances investors can obtain citizenship of Grenada first and then apply for a USA E2 Visa.
Read frequently asked questions about Grenada citizenship by investment program.