The Bahamas is an archipelago of 700 islands extending over 500 miles into the Atlantic Ocean from a point 50 miles off the east coast of Florida. The Bahamas’ English-speaking population of just over 330,000, concentrated mainly on the major islands of New Providence (where Nassau, the capital city, is located) and Grand Bahama (where Freeport, the largest free trade zone in the hemisphere, is located), has an adult literacy rate of 95% and an average per capita income of more than $20,000, one of the highest in the region. A parliamentary democracy for more than two-and-a-half centuries, The Bahamas has continued to enjoy political and social stability since its independence from Britain in 1973.
The Bahamas’ well-developed economy is driven largely by tourism, which accounts for approximately 60% of the nation’s $7 billion gross domestic product, and a rapidly expanding financial services industry. The balance of economic output comes from retail and wholesale trade, fishing, light manufacturing and agriculture.
An independent nation since 1973 and one of the oldest, vibrant democracies in the Western Hemisphere, the Commonwealth of The Bahamas is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the United Nations and has observer status to the World Trade Organization.