Guadeloupe in brief
Set on the arc of the Lesser Antilles, Guadeloupe is actually made up of an archipelago of seven islands. Karukera, as it is called in Native American, the main part, has the shape of a butterfly, to which are attached the Saints, Marie-Galante and the Desiderate.
Guadeloupe is a French overseas department, since the law of 19 March 1946. The department is divided into two districts (Basse-Terre and Pointe-à-Pitre), subdivided into 40 cantons and 32 communes (respectively 17 cantons, 18 communes and 23 cantons, 14 communes).
As in all overseas departments, all national legislative texts are applicable but may be the subject of adaptation measures "required by their particular situation" (Art. 73 of the Constitution). Guadeloupe has a Regional Council and a Departmental Council.
It is represented at national level by 3 senators and 2 deputies, and 2 representatives on the Economic and Social Council. The state is represented by the Prefect established in Basse Terre and 1 sub-prefect in Pointe-à-Pitre.
As a French overseas department, Guadeloupe is part of the European Union, where it is an ultra-peripheral region; as such, it benefits from "specific measures" adapt Community law taking into account the particular characteristics and constraints of these regions.
Guadeloupe, a single-department region, is geographically present in the form of an archipelago of 1,702 km², made up of five groups of islands: continental Guadeloupe, with an area of 1,438 km², composed of Lower Earth in the West (848 km²) and Grande Terre in the East (590 km²), separated by a narrow canal, the Rivière Salée and the neighbouring islands, the Saintes archipelago (14 km²), La Désirade (22 km²) and Marie-Galante (158 km²).
Guadeloupe offers the characteristic of having a complete productive system compared to the neighbouring countries of the area which have either an income economy (oil, offshore financial investments) or a polarized economy (tourism).
Guadeloupe’s economy is based on the agricultural sector, whose banana production and sugar-rum production are the main crops.
The banana remains the largest export by volume. The production harvested in 2007 of 40,181 tonnes reflects a decrease in production due in particular to the damage caused by cyclone DEAN, but also to the continuous decline in production for several years (reduction of 2,340 hectares in 2007, reform of the Common Organization of Markets (CMO) for bananas, further transformation of the sector).
The high level of media coverage of the report on the misuse of pesticides in banana growing has created a negative image in public opinion. The Union of Banana Producer Groups has embarked on a "Sustainable Banana Plan 2008-2013" with the Centre for International Cooperation in Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD) to improve the quality of Caribbean bananas while meeting the requirements of preserving natural environments.
The culture of sugar cane is the second largest agricultural activity. Sugar is the second largest local production. Two plants (Gardel in Grande-Terre and Grande-Anse in Marie-Galante) crushed nearly 690,000 tonnes of sugar cane in 2008 to produce 63,450 tonnes of sugar. However, the sector faces major challenges that will determine its future. Since 2009, the reference price for sugar has had to fall by 36% to comply with the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling, following complaints from major global sugar producers. However, the sugar cane industry continues to support nearly 30,000 people in Guadeloupe (including nearly 4,000 growers).
The annual average production of rum in Guadeloupe stood at 75,000 hectolitres of pure alcohol in 2007. The reputation gained on the national market makes it the department’s third export product. The local market remains the main outlet for agricultural rum production.
Arable land are distributed over 22,443 hectares. Industrial crops alone cover the majority of arable land through sugar cane, followed by semi-permanent fruit crops (2,873 ha) and vegetable crops (2,776 ha). The floral crops cover 211 hectares.
All food, vegetable and floral crops (excluding bananas and sugar cane) cover an area of 3,509 hectares, or 18.2% of the useful agricultural area (UAA). In 2006, crop production totalled 74,349 tonnes and covered 69.2% of local consumption requirements, estimated at 107,393 tonnes. The cultivation of melon is a good example of successful diversification: practiced in Guadeloupe for more than ten years, this production has particularly developed since 2001 and reached more than 9,000 tonnes in 2007.
Livestock only meets 11.9% of local meat consumption requirements, estimated at 26,557 tonnes. However, the results of the pipeline are encouraging. In 2007, controlled meat slaughterings increased by 15.9% ( 2,880 tonnes).
In 2007, the cattle herd ranked 1st with 74,461 head, followed by the goat herd with 21,30 head, the swine herd with 14,730 pigs, and the sheep herd below 1,600 head. Almost 300,000 poultry were raised.
According to estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Guadeloupe’s fish production has increased by more than 20% over the past decade. This development is mainly due to the development of marine fisheries, with crustacean production remaining stable. Despite this increase, aquaculture and fisheries are still unable to meet the needs of estimated local consumption of 15,500 tonnes, while local production was around 10,000 tonnes in 2007. This represents 6,500 jobs.
Industry and crafts
The companies in the industrial fabric of Guadeloupe are, in their current legal structures, relatively new, even in traditional branches such as sugar and rum. Their capital is generally held by local investors. According to INSEE, the industrial sector accounted for 5.4% of the department’s total value added in 2006 (compared with 6.5% in 1993) and 6.9% of jobs. It was partly due to its development to the laws of tax avoidance.
The sector is characterised by a majority of small enterprises, with almost two thirds having only 1 to 5 employees. In 2006, the SIRENE directory included 10,500 industrial and craft enterprises, 22.2% more than in 1995. The majority (64.8%) were in the construction sector.
Apart from construction, the sector expanded by more than 40% of the number of enterprises surveyed. The branches with the greatest increase between 1995 and 2006 were the paper, paperboard, publishing and printing industry (+ 109.8 %), the manufacture of machinery and equipment (+ 95.8 %) and the metal and fabricated metal industries (+ 80.9 %). Only enterprises in the rubber and plastic industries, textiles and clothing and other manufacturing industries saw their numbers fall. According to the INSEE’s latest annual sectoral survey carried out in 2006, the intermediate goods industry is the leading industrial industry, contributing 40.7% to the sector’s total wealth production. The agri-food industry remains well established. It creates 21.8% of the sector’s wealth despite a smaller number of businesses. The capital goods industry, with 26.8% of industrial enterprises, produces only 18.3% of the industry’s value added. The consumer goods industry has a more limited weight in the local economy, contributing only 12.7% to wealth creation. Finally, with only 3.9% of enterprises in the sector and 3.1% of the workforce, the automotive industry and energy only produce 6.7% of the industrial sector’s value added.
Guadeloupe has a dozen industrial zones spread over the entire territory and covering a total area of 463.8 hectares. The activities are concentrated in the Pointoise agglomeration mainly on the site of Jarry (325 hectares) in the commune of Baie-Mahault and around the Euro-Caribbean complex of activities (ECSC) which regroups the autonomous port, the international trade area and the World Trade Center. This area of industrial activity (one of the first three industrial zones in France) accounts for 80% of job creation in the last ten years.
The third sector
The globalization of services shines on the Guadeloupe economy. As a result of the development of consultancy, expertise and subcontracting activities, the contribution of the "other business services" branch to the wealth produced by the tertiary sector increased sharply between 1993 and 2003 (+9.5 percentage points). Similarly, the weight of “other personal services” increased by 1.7 percentage points, driven by the increase in the number of women in employment (+18.5% between 1990 and 1999 compared to -6.6% for men) and using home care services (child care, housekeeping, tutoring, etc.).
Consulting and support activities, which include professional services, computer activities and advertising, continue to attract creators: 430 creations are recorded, an increase of 7.5% compared to 2005.
Until 2000, hotels and restaurants accounted for 5% of the value added produced in the department. Since then, the sector has entered a deep crisis that has manifested itself in a decrease in airport attendance between 2000 and 2005, the closure of rooms in hotels classified and not classified... It only contributed 3.6% to Guadeloupe’s value added production in 2006 (INSEE estimates).
The various actors in the sector and decision-makers have gradually put in place measures to relaunch tourism since 2002.
The good results of 2007 confirm the favourable direction of the economic situation in the sector. Passenger traffic at the airport (excluding transit) increased by 6.2%, mainly due to the development of cruise tourism, up 26.9% over the year. Excluding cruise passengers, the number of passengers arriving in Guadeloupe increased by 3.6%. Classified hotels also benefited from the increase in attendance. Guadeloupe is naturally visited by a majority of travellers from mainland France (92% of flows) ahead of Italy and Belgium.
The hotel is favored by almost half of the tourists who account for 27% of the nights booked by INSEE, 11% of visitors opt for gîtes or bed and breakfast, and 14% choose rental.