GETTING TO KNOW CURAÇAO

GETTING TO KNOW CURAÇAO

The island of Curaçao lies in the Southern Caribbean about 70 km (44 miles) to the north of Venezuela. Curaçao is the largest of six islands in the Caribbean that together constitute the Dutch Caribbean. The island’s total area is 444 square km (171 square miles). It is generally flat, with a small hilly area in the western part.

Curaçao is characterized by warm tropical temperatures with the highest temperatures occurring in September. The skies are in general mostly clear to partly clouded. The average temperature in Curaçao is 28 degrees C (76F). Curaçao lies outside the hurricane zone.

Government

Curaçao is an autonomous state within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The island is a politically stable country in the Caribbean region. The form of government is a parliamentary democracy based on such underlying premises as freedom of association, right to form political parties, freedom of the press and freedom of speech. The Prime Minister is head of Government. Curaçao is fully responsible for the conduct of its domestic affairs. Defense and Foreign affairs are the responsibility of the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Government Program ‘ Hope and Confidence’ for the period 2013-2016 sets out Curaçao’s primary needs and takes full advantage of its potential with the aim of achieving continuous growth. The plan encompasses five principle strategies:
1. Nation Building.
2. Sustainable Economic Development/Recovery and Investments.
3. Enhance the Quality of Life.
4. Good Governance.
5. Responsible and Cautious Budget Policy and Implementation.


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Outlook

For 2014 an economic growth of 0.5% is expected . Stay-over tourism and the export of the tourism product are expected to result in an increase of 2%. Other export of goods and services are expected to increase by 1%.The US and the Netherlands are the most important countries from which Curaçao is importing goods.

Investment Grade

Rating Agency Standard & Poor’s revised Curaçao sovereigns credit outlook from negative up to stable due to efforts from the government to improve its financial position such as reforms to health care and public pension. The rating in 2014 is A-minus.

Monetary system

Key figures:

Currency: ANG, the (former) Netherlands Antillean guilder, for Curaçao and St. Maarten.

Exchange rate: ANG 1,79 per U.S. dollar (USD) (pegged since 12 December 1971). The official selling rates for other currencies are set daily on the basis of their rate of exchange with the U.S. dollar.

Central Bank: Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten.


Social Indicators 2013

Economic Indicators 2013

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Utilities

Water and electricity are provided for by the state-owned utility company, Aqualectra. The tap water is distilled seawater and safe to drink. The electrical current is mostly 110-130 volts, 50 cycle but 220 volts is available as well. As energy is expensive, the Government promotes the use of alternative energy sources. Solar panels may for example be imported free of import duties. Through investing in solar panels one may reduce the cost of energy substantially. Energy costs are estimated at 0.42 US$/kwh.

Telecommunications

Curaçao has an efficient and reliable communications infrastructure including direct satellite connections and five submarine fiber cables. There are several wireless and cable internet providers one can choose from. Price will depend on the type of internet connection and the bandwidth selected. The Telecommunication Infrastructure is above average in comparison to the region.

Road network

The road network is well developed and main roads are in good condition. An extensive system of paved roads provides easy access to many sites. International road signs are used.

Education

Public education is based on the Dutch educational system. The main institute of higher learning is the University of Curaçao, enrolling over 2,000 students. Other higher education offering on the island include offshore medical schools, language
schools and academies for fine art, music, police, teacher and nurse-training. Every year a number of high school graduates leave the island to continue their education in the Netherlands, the United States or in the region. As a result Curaçao has a high skilled labor force.

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