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Antigua and Barbuda

Executive Summary

Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). According to Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) statistics updated in January 2017, Antigua and Barbuda has an estimated Gross Domestic Product of USD $1.18 billion, with forecast growth of 3.21 percent in 2017. During the last fiscal year, the economy of Antigua and Barbuda continued to enjoy the positive effects of falling oil prices, increased tourist arrivals and revenue from the Citizenship by Investment program. The current government remains committed to creating an enhanced business climate to attract more foreign investment to the country.

Antigua and Barbuda is currently ranked 113th out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s 2017 Doing Business report. The report highlighted positive changes in trading across borders and bankruptcy regulations but also noted some difficulties in starting a business and registering property.

The government strongly encourages foreign direct investment (FDI), particularly in industries that create jobs and earn foreign currency. Through the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority, the government facilitates and supports FDI in the country and maintains an open dialogue with current and potential investors. While the government welcomes all FDI interests, agriculture, diversified tourism, healthcare services, outsourcing and business support services, information and communication technologies and international financial services were identified by the government as priority investment areas.

There are no limits on foreign control in Antigua and Barbuda. Foreign investors may hold up to 100 percent of an investment, and a local or foreign entrepreneur needs about 40 days from start to finish to transfer the title on a piece of property.

Antigua and Barbuda bases its legal system on the British common law system. There is current an unresolved dispute regarding expropriation of an American-owned property. For this reason, the U.S. government recommends continued caution when investing in real estate in Antigua and Barbuda.

Antigua and Barbuda has signed bilateral investment treaties with Germany and the United Kingdom. The country has also signed free trade agreements with Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, but the agreements did not enter into force. Antigua and Barbuda has double taxation agreements with Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

In February 2017, the government signed an Intergovernmental Agreement in observance of the United States’ Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), making it mandatory for banks in Antigua and Barbuda to report the banking information of U.S. citizens.

Table 1

Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 Not ranked
World Bank’s Doing Business Report

Busi Business Report “Ease of Doing Business”

2016 107 of 190
Global Innovation Index 2016 Not ranked
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2015 USD $2M
World Bank GNI per capita 2015 USD $13, 270


Executive Summary

Swaziland is a landlocked kingdom located in Southern Africa. The country’s investment climate has become less welcoming of U.S. investment due to increased government bureaucracy, corruption, and the higher costs associated with doing business in Swaziland. The government’s official policy is to encourage foreign investment as a means to drive economic growth, but the pace of investment policy reform is slow. In 2012, Swaziland re-launched its 2005 Investor Roadmap aimed at improving the country’s competitiveness. The roadmap details procedural, administrative, and regulatory barriers that hinder investment and recommends various regulatory reforms. However, many of the identified reforms remain unaddressed. While the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority (SIPA) is in theory an advocate for foreign investors and can facilitate regulatory approval for prospective investors, in reality, SIPA lacks the political clout necessary to prevent unsolicited governmental or royal family interference in private business affairs. Recent positive developments include allowing for company name registration online and amending the immigration laws to make it easier for foreign workers to remain in the country.

The Swaziland government has prioritized the energy sector, and in particular renewable energy. As such, in 2015 the government developed a National Grid Code and a Renewable Energy and Independent Power Producer (RE&IPP) Policy to create a transparent regulatory regime in the industry and attract investment. Swaziland imports 80 percent of its power from South Africa and Mozambique and this number has recently risen to 100 percent in times of drought. With both South Africa and Mozambique experiencing electricity shortages, Swaziland hopes to create its own energy using renewable sources. Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) is also an emerging sector where the government hopes to attract further investment. Swaziland has embarked on a number of initiatives to spur the growth of this key sector such as e-governance and the construction of the Royal Science and Technology Park. The digital migration program of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) presents ICT opportunities in the country.

Incentives to invest in Swaziland include repatriation of profits, fully-serviced industrial sites, provision of purpose-built factory shells at competitive rates, and exemption from duty on raw materials for manufacture of goods to be exported outside the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). The government also offers financial incentives for all investors which include tax allowances and deductions for new enterprises, including a 10-year exemption from withholding tax on dividends and a low corporate tax rate of 10 percent for approved investment projects. New investors also enjoy duty-free import of machinery and equipment.

Despite these incentives, public sector and royal family involvement in the economy may discourage potential investors. In addition, the country’s land tenure system, where the majority of usable land remains the property of the King “in trust for the Swazi nation,” discourages long-term investment in commercial real estate and agriculture.

Swaziland’s poor human rights and labor rights record has jeopardized its access to export markets and to donor support. In 2015, Swaziland lost its duty free access to the U.S. market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) due to continued violations of internationally recognized workers’ rights. Swaziland also remains ineligible for Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) support due to its poor rankings on political and civil liberties by international non-governmental organizations.

Table 1

Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2014 69 of 175
World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2017 111 of 190
Global Innovation Index 2015 123 of 141
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2015 N/A
World Bank GNI per capita 2015 USD $3,280
Investment Climate Statements
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