The Bahamas is a low-lying, small-island, archipelagic developing state. The country has enjoyed the peaceful transition of Government within its Parliamentary democracy over its 45 years as an independent country, with 4 Prime Ministers serving during that period. The economy, driven by the twin pillars of tourism and financial services, has been generally strong, delivering a high quality of life evidenced by a strong Human Development Index score increasing from levels of
0.778 in 1990 to 0.792 in 2015.
Nevertheless, there are some important negative trends which suggest that many have been left behind as the country progressed. Youth unemployment, for example, has remained high – rising to as much as 30% in 2015. Some 13% of the population lives in poverty, with 25% of these being children between the ages of 5-14. Key industries are not producing enough growth to drive sufficient employment expansion. Challenges prevail in both the public education and health care systems leading to less than optimal results. The country is experiencing serious infrastructure gaps as there is a need to replicate expensive roads, bridges, schools, electricity generation and solid waste management systems throughout the archipelago, including to some sparsely populated islands and cays. As a result, there is marked uneven development. Development is further challenged by public institutions which require strengthening, increased accountability, transparency and effectiveness. Finally, like so many small island developing states (SIDS), the country’s greatest threat is its vulnerability to climate change and sea level rise. The country has
experienced, for three successive years, 3 major hurricanes of category 3 or higher at a total cost of $$678 million or 5% of GDP. Sea level rise threatens major tourism properties, many of the country’s airports, road networks and of sea ports. ... read more