Investment Opportunities in Dominica

This Nature Isle of the Caribbean is visibly a dot on the globe, it is small in size, but grand in its natural resources, scenic panoramas and generally undeveloped offering great potential for investment, foreign and local alike in many areas.

The island’s rugged topography means that much of the population is located on the fringes of this charming isle.  Small villages or communities speckle the forested interior.  The interior terrain features the National Park and a range of mountains which supply the country’s water basins which includes lakes, waterfalls, rivers and streams.  It is the “official” habitat of the Sisserou and Jaco parrots which are both endemic to the island, and many other species of birds, wildlife, flora and fauna can be found there.  High above this craggy volcanic landscape, sits the world second largest boiling lake, and other lakes formed from dormant volcano basins.  Dominica is a premier ecotourism site and a first class dive destination.  It is host country of Mas Domnik and the Annual World Creole Music Festival, attractions which draw thousands to its shores, and the number is expected to increase every year.  But with just under three hundred (2.5 star rated) rooms, there is a growing demand for up market and mid market accommodation, ancillary and other tourism related services.

The island has a favorable temperate climate and benefits from year round sunshine. As oil prices continue to rise and the global focus is now on renewable sources of energy, steering away from oil based energy, the utilization of renewable energy is becoming more feasible and practical, and hence the development and harnessing of renewable solar energy power is an avenue for major investment.

The country has a wealth of rich fertile land, beneath the 289sq. miles it covers. With a relatively small population size, over 80% remains uninhabited or underutilized.  The complimentary climate and an abundance of rainfall, permit year round agricultural production.  Bananas, citrus products, coconuts, pineapples are international and regional cash crops with extensive development opportunities.  Our natural water resources (365 rivers) are envied by other countries and bottling water is one area in which is identified as excellent for investor opportunity. Geothermal, solar and hydro energy are increasingly recognized as valuable sources of renewable energy, and these three are new avenues which development is nonexistent or minimally capitalized on.

Through the encouragement of diversification from one-crop economy, emphasis is now being placed on fruits and vegetables, as well as ground provisions, herbs, spices and animal based product.  There is a growing demand locally, regionally and globally for more organic food based products, and our rich soil provides perfect conditions for such production.    As an incentive to inventors, prime land is available for purchase at very reasonable rates for suitable Agriculture based business.

In the areas of agriculture and manufacturing there are specific areas  earmarked as excellent investment opportunities, with fiscal incentives and other benefits for the investor-such areas are: Processed food and animal products; production of essential oils, medicinal products, herbs and spices; water bottling, organic and natural snack food production.

Dominica, officially an English speaking nation, is equipped with modern air and sea ports, and although there is no direct air access to the North American continent, all neighboring islands with an international airport act as a hub with direct flights to Dominica.   Our main sea port is located in Woodbridge Bay on the outskirts of the capital. Over 53 merchant ship calls to this port:  bulk carriers, cargo carriers, chemical tankers, refrigerated cargo, vehicle carriers, and others. The internationally known carriers such as Nicor-Tropical Shipping, P&O Nedlloyd, and other major carriers call to port on a weekly schedule with goods originating in US, UK, Asia, the Caribbean and other major export countries.  Strategically on the northern end of the island there is a second port, Long House which host smaller (local and non-local) cargo ships transporting goods to and from the neighboring countries such as St. Marteen, the USVI and the BVI.   Additionally, there are two cruise ship berths, similarly located in the north and south of island, and a ferry terminal in the heart of capital. There is a growing need for ancillary tourist services such as activity based services, restaurants, for these visitors. The air and sea ports provide easy access to the outside world.  Modern telecommunications facilities and services which rival first world countries, a growing pool of trusted and reliable professionals, little or no cultural barriers all make Dominica a most favorable place to do business successfully.

The physical factors present unlimited opportunities for investors in Dominica.  A beautiful eco-friendly island with minimal property development, a vast array of niche market products, the country is the perfect place to invest with minimal risk and maximized profits. Eco friendly and wellness tourism based products are in demand worldwide.

There are social factors which also enhance these investment opportunities as Dominica is considered a great place to live, and work.  Labor is affordable. In comparison to all other islands, Dominica records little crime, the people are a hospitable, peaceful, community driven, patriotic and hardworking.   Dominica enjoys a stable economy (providing for a viable and engaging investor climate), an economy which is currently dependent on Tourism and Agriculture, and though the primary areas for revenue, they still are most underdeveloped and provide a vast number of opportunities for investment and development.  Anyone considering investment in these and other areas of Tourism will benefit from incentive packages designed by government.

The tourism sector is ripe with opportunity for investment, areas such as Hotel and Resort Development for accommodation, Marine Development, Golf and Recreational facility development, Restaurants, Water sport activities, and conference facilities and Spa and wellness centers.

The International business sector in Dominica is fast growing and offers:

The Financial Services Unit (FSU) under the Ministry of Finance is designed to facilitate such investments specifically. Dominica IBC’s (offshore companies) are automatically exempt from any taxes for 20 years minimum.

The film and entertainment sector is one just being discovered.  In the last five years Dominica has been identified as a scenic country which presents great versatility in backdrop, a pool of local talent, products and services of high quality for undertaking projects in film and music industry.  The Dominica Film Commission has been set up with the specific goal to facilitate the processes to ensure they film cost effectively, faster, and better. Just recently Pirate of the Caribbean parts 2 and 3 were filmed in various locations on island, and the TV production Pirates, was also filmed entirely on island.

One sector in Dominica that is defined as completely underdeveloped as compared to neighboring islands is manufacturing.  Great emphasis is being placed on attracting sustainable investments which are harmonious with our environment.  There is great employment and export earning potential in this venue.

Arable land with rich volcanic soil, year round rainfall and temperate climate is the basis for successful production.   There is a local, regional and international market for both organic and in-organic products.  As the country continues to grow, especially in the Food & beverage sectors, we will need a diverse availability of fruits, vegetables and ground provisions.  Currently bananas are the main cash crop, coconuts are the principal export crop, while other citrus and root crops are consumed locally.

Other areas with opportunity are: Communication and Information Services:  Telemarketing, Call Center operations, Data-processing to name a few.

Benefits to local and foreign investors are in the form of package incentives which include tax holidays, duty free concessions, work permit facilitation, waiver of alien land holding licenses.  Specific fiscal incentives packages are available for investments in the following industries:

  • International Business
  • Tourism
  • Film & Entertainment
  • Agri-Business/Agro-processing
  • Communication and Information Services
  • Manufacturing
  • Real Estate Development

The currency exchange rates are most favorable for inventors as the EC dollar is fixed to the US (1US to 2.7EC) and floats with other currencies such as the EURO and the POUND.

As the investment business grows here, there will fast become a market for upscale property development and real estate.  Land is relatively cheaper as it compares to most other islands, but this is expected to change as the investment climate thrives.

Overall, Dominica is an excellent climate for investment.  The natural products and resources available, the incentives in place and support infrastructure are encouraging to investors worldwide and investment in this a country where development is in its formative years is definitely a win- win situation.