The economy of Saint Helena depends largely on financial assistance from the UK, which amounted to about $5 million in 1998. Saint Helena's local population earns income from fishing, the raising of livestock, and sales of handicrafts. Because there are few jobs, a large proportion of the work force has left to seek employment overseas.
A campaign is currently underway (reported on BBC Radio 4, Today programme, 10 July 2004) to encourage emigration from the UK to Saint Helena to aid development of the economy. UK government announced intention in early 2005 to fund building of international airport on the island by 2010.
Saint Helena's gross domestic product (GDP) by purchasing power parity for the 1994/5 financial year was US$13.9 million, and this figure, per capita, was $2,000. The financial year in Saint Helena runs from 1 April to 31 March. St. Helena's budget had revenues of $11.2 million, with expenditures of $11 million in the financial year ending 1993.
Saint Helena possesses construction, craft (including furniture and lacework) and fishing industries.
As of 1991, Saint Helena has a workforce of 2,416. A large proportion of the work force has, however, left to seek employment overseas. Of the workforce, 6% are employed in farming and fishing, 48% in industry (mainly construction) and the remaining 46% are employed in service industry. In 1996, the rate of unemployment was 18%.
In 1998, Saint Helena's energy production was 6 GWh, matching its consumption, of which 90% was produced by fossil fuels and the remaining 10% by wind turbines.
The main agricultural products of Saint Helena are: maize, potatoes, vegetables; timber; fish, crawfish (on Tristan da Cunha)
In 1995, exports were at a value of $704,000, with commodities exported including: fish (frozen, canned, and salt-dried skipjack, tuna), coffee, handicrafts and Tungi Spirit. Export partners were South Africa and the United Kingdom.
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