The Bahamian dollar, often denoted by BSD, is the official currency of the Bahamas. The BSD is pegged to the U.S. dollar (one to one). The Bahamas attained self-government in 1964 and then full independence from Great Britain in 1973.
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What does it look like?
The Bahamas is a constitutional parliamentary democracy made up of three different branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The executive branch is composed of a monarch, governor general, prime minister, deputy prime minister, and the cabinet. Elections do not take place in the Bahamas. Instead, leaders are appointed from within. The monarch is hereditary and appoints the governor general. Then, the governor general appoints the prime minister who then recommends a deputy prime minister. The deputy prime minister on the recommendation of the prime minister appoints the cabinet. The legislative branch is a bicameral Parliament, which consists of a Senate and a House of Assembly. The senate has 16 members who are all appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister and the opposition leader. These 16 members serve a five-year term. The House of Assembly is composed of 40 members who serve a five-year term and are elected by popular vote. In addition, the government of the Bahamas may break up the parliament and call elections at any time. The judicial branch consists of a Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, and a Magistrates Courts.
Key Economic Factors Economic Overview
The Bahamas is an economically stable country with a developed infrastructure, economy, and socio-political atmosphere. It relies heavily on the performance of tourism and offshore banking. More than 50% of the population is in some way involved with tourism and the industry accounts for more than a 60% share of the GDP
. The growth in tourism has resulted in an increase in the construction of hotels, resorts and the like, as well as in the creation of news jobs and opportunities in related fields. It has also helped promote a positive GDP growth. In addition, the Bahamas' economy is closely tied with the economy of the United States. Growth developments rely on the tourism sector, which in turn, relies heavily on growth in the Unites States as 80% of visitors to the Bahamas come from the US.
Also, the September 11th attacks on US soil severely dampened the American economy, and stumped Bahamas' economic growth in 2001-03. The government has recently passed new regulations on the financial sector that contributed to many international businesses pulling out of the Bahamas as a place to invest. Because of this, the 15% share that the financial sector shared in the GDP has decreased. Manufacturing and agriculture together accounted for a tenth of the GDP. These sectors seem unlikely to increase, despite government intervention.
- GDP-composition by sector: Agriculture-3%, Industry-7%, Services-90%.
- Agricultural products: Citrus, vegetables, and poultry.
- Exports: ($636 million) mineral products and salt, animal products, rum, chemicals, fruit, and vegetables.
- Imports: ($1.63 billion) machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, chemicals, mineral fuels, food and live animals.
- Import partners: US 22.3%, South Korea 19%, Japan 8.2%, Brazil 8.2%, Italy 8.1%, Venezuela 6.8%.
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