Roseau, Dominica: Dominica- a small island nation in the Caribbean emerged as the true display of regeneration, resilience and building back better across the globe. Even after getting devastated to the depth, the country has paved the path of achieving a great opportunity and a more prosperous, dynamic future for every single citizen.
However, the country has not easily embarked on the road to “Dynamic Dominica” as behind this lies a story of their hard work and struggle, which they have overcome to now steer their progress. With its great development, Dominica has truly showcased that the size is not a barrier to excellence or high achievement.
From the economic boom, infrastructure development to new level of social wellbeing, Dominica has conquered better goals of development in all sectors. This has resulted in the significant growth for the economy of the country.
Recently, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicated economic growth for Dominica above 4.5 percent in 2023-24. It added that the economic outlook is positive with the full recovery in tourism in the near term.
The tourism returns to pre-COVID levels, the construction of the new international airport and geothermal power plant will enhance the economic growth for this year, as per the IMF.
Besides this, it was also outlined that Dominica will experience reduction in inflation to 6.3 percent in 2023 and it will continue falling afterwards along with international trends.
Ironically, the situation was quite different during 1997-2017, as Dominica was the country with the highest GDP losses to climate-related natural disasters and ranked in the top 10 percent among 182 countries for climate-related fatalities.
However, the situation became more worst when Dominica was hard hit by Tropical Storm Erika in 2015 and Hurricane Maria in 2017, which resulted in an aggregate loss of over 300% of GDP. During this period, the recovery of the economy may have seemed impossible for Dominica as it was speculated that the country will take huge time to even get back to its normal life.
But Dominica defied all speculations and proved them wrong and it has comeback, fueled by determination and resilience. The comeback of the country has witnessed remarkable achievements and growth.
After facing massive devastation, Prime Minister Dr Roosevelt Skerrit announced his intention to rebuild Dominica better into the first climate-resilient nation in the world. Since the announcement, the country has developed and implemented a robust framework to ensure the achievement of this goal.
Dominica has commenced transforming the island into the world’s first climate resilient country, including enhancing public knowledge on resilience, and formulating a strategy which will govern the island’s future effort at building resilience.
The steps of resiliency significantly increased “real investments” for growth in productive sectors such as agriculture, tourism and manufacturing, infrastructure and in human development (health and education).
The aim of becoming world’s first climate-resilient nation is to mitigate the impact of the climate change as Dominica is vulnerable to its effects. It was outlined, in future if any natural catastrophe hits Dominica, all the building and homes must stand tall.
In the times, when big and developed countries had started the discussion for mitigating the impact of the climate change. Dominica has started making efforts in reducing carbon footprints and preserving the natural assets of the country.
The journey of Dominica for becoming dynamic has included following aspects.
Climate Resilient Homes- A path to Dynamic Housing
With the passage of Hurricane Maria, the housing sector of Dominica was the most affected with total damage estimated at EC$955 million, fully affecting the private sector and losses are estimated at EC $77 million, and predominantly affect the private sector.
While making a total investment of EC$ 117.4 million, the government has started the construction of the new climate resilient homes. It is aimed to improving access to adequate and affordable modern housing for low-income families while restoring displaced persons and regularizing the status of families in squatting conditions.
Over the course of four years, more than 1,500 homes have been constructed and distributed to families displaced by Hurricane Maria. However, Dominica is on the path of building and giving away 5,000 climate-resilient homes.
Besides this, 24 new homes were also delivered to residents in the Kalinago Territory in June 2022. Construction is also progressing on the homes in the communities of Sineku, Bataca and Touna, Concord and will cost EC $10 million.
The health sector has witnessed significant progress particularly in respect of primary health care. Dominica’s strategy for climate resilience identified health as a priority area, keeping in mind the impact which climate variability and change is expected to have on the public’s health.
The construction of the world-class, climate-resilient hospitals, 12 new healthcare centres, and community centres has also been taken place during the period of time.
Marigot Hospital: The construction of the Marigot Hospital is known as the major development of the health care sector of Dominica. The hospital is laced with world-class facilities and many essential services and is equipped with stateof-the-art facilities, including ambulance services, intensive care units, maternity care, paediatric care, laboratory and radiology services, a trauma centre, and emergency care units.
Besides this, 12 new health care centres are being built in Dominica with an aim to provide easy access to health services for all sections of the community from the most vulnerable upwards. Of the 12 health and wellness centres, six have been commissioned so far which are:
Infrastructure- A Path to Dynamic Development
Given the extensive damage sustained as a result of the passage of Hurricane Maria, Dominica has placed heavy emphasis on rehabilitation and reconstruction of its physical infrastructure network (roads, bridges, telecommunications and water and sanitation facilities) to support economic growth.
Several projects have been launched by Dominica to increase accessibility and connectivity across Dominica.
International Airport at Wesley: Dominica collaborated with the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) to construct the international airport in the village of Wesley. The airport is to be built by Montreal Management Consultants Establishment (MMCE).
The International Airport will connect Dominica to major business hubs globally, with direct flights from the United States, Europe and other parts of the world. The project will cost around EC$ 1 billion, and the construction will be done in five phases.
Massacre Multi-Purpose Indoor Sports Complex: The EC $1.4 million Massacre Multi-Purpose Indoor Sports Complex is aimed at encouraging sports involvement among the youth. It is also part of transforming country into “Dynamic Dominica”.
Layou Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Project: Construction work has commenced on the Layou Road Project at cost of over EC $11 million dollars. The road, which is the third component in the Layou Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Project, is expected to be completed over a twelve-month period and will connect the Hillsborough Bridge and the York Valley Bridge.
Tourism- A Path to Dynamic Economy
Dominica excels at offering eco-conscious tourists a unique experience that only the island’s luxury eco-hotels, wellness facilities, exquisite locations, and kind Dominican people can provide. With preserved wild and lush scenery, energy generated from hydropower production, organic agricultural methods and care facilities integrated into the landscape, Dominica has many other assets to a promote a truly sustainable tourism sector.
The aim of the construction of the eco-resorts is to promote the sustainable practices and preserve the natural assets of Dominica.
The eco resorts of Dominica are:
- Secret Bay
- Jungle Bay
- Sanctuary Rainforest Eco Resort and Spa
- Tranquillity Beach Resort (Hilton Hotel)
- Anichi Resort
Education- A Path to Dynamic Future
The passage of Hurricane Maria has also devastated the schools of Dominica. Thus, the country has started work in to refurbishing and rehabilitating its schools. Over 15 schools have been rehabilitated during this period of time.
Besides this, Rehabilitation works are ongoing at the W.S. Stevens Primary School to the tune of EC$ 2.2 million, to include new classrooms, a new administrative building with Principal’s office, sick bay, storage space and washrooms. The Grand Bay Primary School is currently being renovated at a cost of EC$ 3.2 million.
In 2020, two projects, the construction of the Salisbury Primary School and the Wotten Waven School were completed. Work is presently ongoing at the W.S. Stevens Primary School, Grand Bay Primary, Morne Jaune Primary, Delices Primary and Mahaut Primary.
Thus, Dominica has been transforming itself for the dynamic and prosperous life with developmental projects. Many of these projects would not have been possible without Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Programme.
The funds generated by the CBI Programme has assisted Dominica in paving the path of the progress and development.