After 50 years of Independence, Trinidad and Tobago has positioned itself as an economically vibrant country within the Caribbean region enjoying a decent per capita income and a good standard of living with a population of 1.3 million people. Trinidad and Tobago has always been an open economy and society that has placed a strong emphasis on education, social support for vulnerable groups in the society, commitment to regional solidarity and development and a willingness to engage all countries in the spirit of friendship and mutual respect.
Though the country produces and exports a wide variety of goods and services, the economy remains energy driven, with approximately 40 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 80 percent of exports attributed to this sector. In this regard Trinidad and Tobago has become a world renowned producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and is the world’s leading exporter of ammonia and methanol.
Currently, this country is focused on diversifying the energy sector to support a thriving manufacturing sector with its natural gas endowments and beyond this has identified five (5) sectors in addition to energy in which the thrust is to develop competitive clusters. These include financial services, food and food products, culture and creative industries, maritime industries and tourism. Information and communication technology and financial services are viewed as key enablers to the development of the six (6) key clusters identified for attention.
Trinidad and Tobago continues to pursue economic diversification strategies aimed at reducing reliance on revenues from the country’s finite energy resources and the impact of volatility in energy prices. While our robust manufacturing and financial services sectors comprise some 7 and 11 per cent (respectively) of GDP, the Government is placing greater emphasis on the country’s diversification thrust. Some sub-sectors of the clusters identified above include fashion, music and entertainment, film, ship building and repair.
In the wake of the 2008/2009 financial crisis and its economic consequences, Trinidad and Tobago struggles today to put itself back on a growth path and to address the key issues of growth, competitiveness, diversification, job creation and prosperity and equity.