The economy of the twin island democratic monarchy is a service-based one with tourism and local government services as the main key sources of income and employment.
The tourism industry in Antigua and Barbuda is the principal of foreign exchange earner and it makes up more than half of GDP. However, due to economic slump in tourism and the effects of infrastructural damage cause by hurricanes, there has been a decline in number of visitors to the twin islands.
Antigua and Barbuda’s offshore financial sector has been impacted by international debacles involving some offshore banks on the island, and has since had some fall back on this industry, mainly as a result of the failing to comply with money-laundering regulation. Since the local administrators have made great attempts to reestablish Antigua and Barbuda reputation as a solid offshore financial centre.
The agricultural sector is hindered by a limited water supply and labor shortages, and current production is just enough to satisfy the local. The tourism and construction sectors in Antigua and Barbuda (due to labor shortage) are known to attract higher wages, hence the influx of laborers from neighboring islands, especially Dominica.
Investment banking and financial services also make up an important part of the economy. Many major world banks have branches and offices in Antigua. Financial-services/offshore services also contribute significantly to the economy in Antigua. In 201, the US Securities and Exchange Commission, charged the Antigua-based Stanford International Bank (offshore bank) with fraud, a matter still before the courts.
Secondary and tertiary services are fulfilled by a mixed population of immigrant and local labor. The opening of the American University of Antigua College of Medicine opened up a new business sector for the island thereby establishing a new source of revenue for Antigua and Barbuda economy as the university employs many local workers and the student count of about 1000, invests in goods and services on the islands.
Antigua is a member of the OECS, the ECCU, the ECCB and Caricom. It shares a common currency (the eastern Caribbean dollar) with other members of the ECCU. The ECCB manages and regulates monetary policy, and regulates and supervises commercial banking activities in Antigua and Barbuda and its member countries.