According to businesscarriers, Trinidad and Tobago is one of the most developed countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. GDP $8.9 billion, GDP per capita $6.9 thousand (2001). The rational use of natural resources has allowed this small Caribbean country to become the world’s leading exporter of mineral fertilizers. Unemployment 11% (2001, 2002). Inflation 4.7% (2002).
Due to the hypertrophied development of industries associated with the extraction and processing of oil and gas, the structure of GDP is noticeably deformed (2000): mining and manufacturing 35.0%, agriculture 1.0%, construction 9.0%, services 55.0 %. In the structure of employment: industry 13.1%, agriculture 8.7%, construction 12.4%, services 65.8%.
Crude oil production in 2002 amounted to 7.5 million tons. The largest producing companies are British Petroleum and the state-owned Petrotrin. Oil processing is carried out by Petrotrin at the country’s only operating oil refinery in Pointe a Pierre with a capacity of 175 thousand barrels per day. Natural gas production reached 16.8 billion m3 – 4th place in Latin America. OK. 36% of the gas was exported in liquefied form, 45% was used for the production of ammonia, urea and methanol. The country has 5 methanol production facilities with a capacity of 2.9 million tons per year and 3 ammonia and urea production facilities with a capacity of 3.5 and 0.6 million tons, respectively. All these enterprises are fully or partially controlled by foreign capital.
The predominant development in Trinidad and Tobago was export-oriented agriculture. The main crops are sugar cane, coffee and cocoa, but their role is declining due to the growth in the production of fruits and vegetables, the breeding of sheep and bison. Sugarcane accounts for 40-50% of GDP in agriculture, the share of vegetable products is more than 20%. The country has achieved self-sufficiency in poultry and pork, eggs. In 2001, 1.0 million tons of sugar cane were produced and 377 tons of refined sugar were exported. In 2002, the production of cocoa beans (mainly for export) amounted to 1218 tons, vegetables – 20.6 thousand tons, poultry meat – 47.7 thousand tons.
Fisheries production has increased from 3 to 10-13 thousand tons over the past 20 years, but the available fish reserves are not yet fully utilized. In 1998, the total catch of fish and other marine products amounted to 13.4 thousand tons, incl. 10.4 thousand tons – sea fish and 3 thousand tons – shrimp. In the same year, fish exports amounted to 8.2 thousand tons, imports – 4.5 thousand tons. Export of shrimp amounted to 1.7 thousand tons, import – 0.6 thousand tons. The main types of commercial fish include sea bass, red sockeye, tuna. In terms of fish consumption per capita (10.6 kg in 1996), Trinidad and Tobago ranked second to last among 14 Caribbean countries.
Trade products (including restaurants) accounted for 17.3% of the country’s GDP in 2001. The wholesale sales index increased (1995 = 100) from 130.5 to 144.1 in 1999-2001, the retail trade index increased from 216.8 to 327. The number of people employed in trade in 2000 amounted to 19% of those employed in the economy.
The leading form of internal transport is automobile. The total length of roads is 8.3 thousand km, of which 4.2 thousand km are paved. The length of oil pipelines is 1.05 thousand km, gas pipelines are 904 km. There are 6 airports in the country; 2 international ones – Piarco, 25 km from Port of Spain, and Crown Point, 11 km from Scarborough, with a runway length of 3.2 and 2.7 km, respectively. Main seaports: Pointe a Pierre, Point Fortin, Point Lisas, Port of Spain, Scarborough, Tembladora. The communication infrastructure is developed and modern according to regional standards. In 2001, there were 240 wired and 197 mobile phones per 1,000 inhabitants, and 92.3 Internet users.
Although the development of tourism in the country is stimulated by tax and other benefits, it has not yet reached the desired level. In 2002, tourism revenues amounted to $214 million, or approximately 2.4% of the country’s GDP, while in 1983 they reached 3% of GDP. In 2002, Trinidad and Tobago was visited by 369.2 thousand tourists, incl. 35.1% US, 23.0% Caribbean, 13.8% UK.
The government is taking measures to accelerate growth and diversify industrial and agricultural production as a basis for solving social problems and, above all, to reduce unemployment. The process of privatization of state-owned enterprises has accelerated. In 2001-02, he covered companies in the sugar industry, energy, utilities and the media. Steps to implement the pension reform, train a skilled workforce, and improve the tax system contribute to improving the living standards of the population. Government policy is based on budgetary and credit discipline. The banking system is characterized by a high level of capitalization, a low level of overdue loans, and a high level of reserves in case of losses. Public debt 53.7% of GDP (2001).
The standard of living of the population in Trinidad and Tobago is one of the highest among the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. It is ranked 54th in the world on the Human Development Index and 6th in the region. Inequality is not as high as in most countries in the region: the incomes of the richest 10% of the population are 14.4 times higher than the incomes of the poorest 10%. However, 39% of the population has a daily income of $2 or less.
In 2001, merchandise exports amounted to $4.2 billion; imports – $ 3.5 billion. 63.1% of Trinidad and Tobago’s exports are energy products, 19.4% – chemicals, 5.0% – finished products. 34.7% of imports are machinery and equipment, 6% are food products. The trade turnover with the Russian Federation in 2001 amounted to 2.8 million dollars. The external debt was 1614 million dollars (2002). The volume of foreign direct investment is 7.8 billion dollars (2001).
Science and culture of Trinidad and Tobago
Primary education is compulsory. Schools are attended by 92.4% of the population aged 7 to 12. Public and private secondary schools enroll 70.7% of the population between the ages of 12 and 15. Trinidadians can receive higher education both in the country and at universities in Canada, the UK and the USA. The Port of Spain chapter of the University of the West Indies had 6,924 students in the 2000/01 academic year. The Technical and Polytechnic Institutes function in San Fernando. In 6 cities of Trinidad and Tobago, there are branches of the National Energy Training Center (founded in 1997), which trains specialists for industry. A branch of the Caribbean Institute for Agricultural Research (founded in 1975) operates on the island of Trinidad. In the city of Chaguaramas, there is the Institute of Maritime Affairs (founded in 1974).
The culture of Trinidad and Tobago reflects the diversity of the ethnic structure and the historical features of the formation of Trinidadian society. Trinidad and Tobago is the birthplace of calypso, a type of folk music with satirical and humorous lyrics. Already in the 19th century. calypso has become an organic component of carnivals. Now calypso is also an integral part of election campaigns. Noise bands playing on metal cans and barrels perform everywhere. The formation of the literature of Trinidad and Tobago is associated with the development of the struggle for its independence, with the artistic reflection of acute social contradictions in Trinidadian society in the 1920s-50s. The most significant works of this period include the novels “Asphalt Lake” (1934) and “Black Deer Cubs” (1936) and stories by E.Kh. Mendez. Difficult situation, originating in Trinidad and Tobago in the post-independence period, has found vivid embodiment in the novels of E.W. Lovelace’s “White Gods Fall” (1965) and “The Master” (1968). The development of the culture of Trinidad and Tobago is closely related to the work of the founder of the Trinidad Theater Studio (1959), Nobel Prize winner in literature in 1992, Derek Walcott.