Guadeloupe exhibits a modern economy that progressively transformed starting in the early 1990s. Traditionally preponderant sectors like agriculture, small business and construction were replaced by a dynamic, private and mostly tertiary sector.

Key figures of the Region:

  • Population: 405 739 (on January 1st, 2013) or 0,6% of the world population.
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP): 8 033 million euros, or 19810 euros per inhabitant.
  • Trade exchange: 2 747 millions euros in imports, 264,5 million in exports.                     
  • France is the archipelago’s leading customer and provider.
  • Businesses: about 40 000, 47 000 employees (excluding agriculture, Insee figures for 2010).
  • Sectors: the tertiary sector accounts for 85,2 % of wealth production (including 12,7% for trade). It precedes construction and civil engineering (5,7%), as well as agriculture and fishing (2,8%).

Agriculture, cattle farming and fishing

Agriculture remains a fundamental sector in Guadeloupe, in spite of its declining economy. It employs 12% of the territory’s working population and contributes 6% of regional gross revenue.

It relies on two traditional pillars: sugar cane and banana production.

Main indicators (figures for 2013):

  • Crushed sugar canes: 448 022 tons
  • Rum production: 73 938 hectolitres of pure alcohol
  • Sugar production: 45 366 tons
  • Marketed banana production: 71 512 tons       
  • Banana is the leading export product in terms of volume

Other productions aiming at diversification are under development: melon, other tropical fruits, flowers. However, niche markets remain to be harnessed.

Regarding the cattle farming sector, it responds to a small quantity of local needs in meat consumption.

Livestock in Guadeloupe (Agreste figures for 2013):

Bovines 44 457
Poultry 242 000
Goats 132 240
Pigs 15 128
Breeding does 3 000
Equidae 371

Guadeloupe has slightly more than a thousand fishermen and about 750 fishing vessels (INSEE figures for 2012).


Businesses are at the basis of economic development in Guadeloupe, but they also contribute to the population’s enrichment and fulfilment. Therefore, regardless of their size, activity sector or location, they contribute strongly to our entire archipelago’s vitality.

Because they create jobs and drive development, businesses represent key cogs of our society. Willing to support them, the Guadeloupe Regional Council implements a solid support policy via a powerful set of mechanisms.

As a territory gifted with exceptional resources and opportunities, Guadeloupe is nonetheless characterised by multiple specificities and economic challenges linked to insularity and distance from the European continent.

Eager to favour the archipelago’s development, the Guadeloupe Regional Council offers strong support to the economic pillars that are businesses. It aims at helping them face daily challenges and achieve their goals.

The regional authority encourages entrepreneurs to adopt a sustainable approach. It also stands alongside firms wishing to open up and conquer external markets, especially Caribbean ones.

In view of offering a multidimensional and efficient support to businesses, the regional authority relies on its Economic Development Regional Scheme (SRDE), which was adopted in 2006.

First field of action: fostering competitiveness and guaranteeing the sustainability of businesses.

Some figures

  • 40 000 businesses employ about 47 000 workers.
  • Micro-firms are predominant (26 000) and account for a third of salaried employment. Their main industries are: commerce, construction and touristic activities such as the hotel and restaurant industry. They also account for important players in the medical sector, car repairs as well as care-giving services.
  • The registered 937 small and medium-sized firms (PME) employ 32% of non-farm vendors. They comprise slightly more than 15 000 employees.
  • 137 mid-cap companies (ETI) employ 16% of the salaried non-farm vendors (7586) and 75 large companies employ 18% of salaried workers (8643).
  • The tertiary sector contributes 85,2% of wealth production (including 12,7% for commerce), preceding construction and civil engineering (5,7%), as well as agriculture and fishing (2,8%) - figures for 2009.
  • The Region is the top French department in terms of business creation, averaging 5000  new companies per year. The number of business start-ups increased 43,7% between 2002 and 2008.
  • The most dynamic sectors are commerce, business support and construction.

Production sectors

Thanks to its tropical climate along with its rich and diverse areas, Guadeloupe always proved a generous land, favourable to agricultural production and cattle farming as well as maritime activities.

Thus, agriculture and fishing are traditional activities that helped develop and structure our archipelago, and that remain driving forces in this regard. That is why the Guadeloupe Region strives to support these sectors. Moreover, it aims for a crucial target: increasing the archipelago’s food autonomy.

The agricultural sector

Due to its history, Guadeloupe exhibits a strong agricultural tradition. The agricultural sector employs 12% of the working population and contributes 6% of regional gross domestic product.

Representing a third of the archipelago’s surface area, the archipelago’s agricultural land is mostly devoted to two crops: sugar cane and banana. Yet, both experience a similar tendency: decreasing surface areas, productions and farms. Generally speaking, agriculture is declining.

In addition, almost 7000 hectares, mostly located in Southern Basse-Terre, are contaminated with chlordécone.

On the other hand, current agricultural productions respond to a very small proportion of the population’s food needs, hence the predominance of imports - 90% of the overall consumption.

The Guadeloupe Regional Council is intent on helping agriculture regain its status in our territory. To that end, it pursues a strong policy aiming at preserving agricultural land, supporting the interested parties and encouraging crop diversification.

The fishing, marine affairs and aquaculture sectors

In Guadeloupe, fishing is a promising traditional activity. Demand is strong, for Guadeloupeans are heavy fish consumers - 40kg per year and per person.

The fishing sector shows strong development potential, which will best be achieved since the sector is being modernised and structured. 

Aquaculture, which refers to all animal or plant production activities carried in a water environment, also represents a promising activity for Guadeloupe.

The Guadeloupe Regional Council is intent on reinforcing the maritime sector and developing the aquaculture sector, so that they may contribute to the country’s economic development, but also meet a larger part of Guadeloupeans’ needs in this area.

The Guadeloupe Regional Council supports the agricultural and maritime sectors, since they are fundamental, traditional sectors for the territory. It aims at giving them further added value thanks to harmonious and sustainable development efforts. The Region’s long-term goal being to achieve greater food autonomy.

In order to reach its goals, the regional authority follows the guidelines defined by the following schemes:

  • the Regional Scheme for Economic Development (SRDE)
  • the Regional Development Scheme (SAR)
  • the Regional Scheme for Maritime Aquaculture (SRDAM)
  • the Sea Management Scheme (SMVM)

The job market

With delightful temperatures year round and a lush environment, Guadeloupe is a pleasant place to live in. To fully enjoy it and ensure good living conditions, the job market remains a key factor.

Yet, despite strong business creation figures on our soil, many residents are still looking for a salaried job.

Employment is a source of wealth and fulfilment for residents. Thus, the Guadeloupe Regional Council strives to favour access to work via efficient mechanisms.

In Guadeloupe, 125 000 people have a job, which is around 74% of the labour force. The expansion of sectors such as ICT, energy and services suggest great perspectives as far as job creation is concerned.

Nevertheless, given the intricate global economic context as well as our territory’s insular facet, finding a job is a real challenge. As a result, Guadeloupe experiences a high unemployment rate that affects mostly young people and women. It is confronted to significant social, human and economical challenges linked to that particular context.

The Guadeloupe Regional Council aims at providing those concerned with a maximal array of tools and opportunities to help them find work. It also supports businesses in view of preserving existing jobs and fostering further job creation.

In its Regional Scheme for Economic Development (SRDE), which was adopted in 2006, the regional authority highlights the necessity to optimise employment mechanisms as tools for the territory’s economic development.

The Guadeloupe Regional Council helps job creation via multiples schemes: “springboard” jobs, “job futures”, regional work placements. It particularly aims at easing access to work for those most distanced from employment.

Social and solidarity-based economy

Guadeloupe is a territory where values of mutual assistance and solidarity persist, as shown by the tightly knit network of non-profit organisations and support structures dedicated to the population. However, the current economic context has stressed the difficulties faced by numerous individuals and businesses. Other solutions must be considered in order to foster individual fulfilment and a sustainable economy.

The Guadeloupe Regional Council is convinced that developing a social and solidarity-based economy will prove beneficial for the population. The regional authority therefore made it one of its priorities.

Because it creates jobs, insertion and social cohesion, Social and Solidarity-based Economy (ESS) constitutes a relevant solution that could benefit the population as a whole, and the youth in particular. Indeed, because it appeals to social and professional integration as well as collective interests and interactions, ESS brings alternative and innovative responses to societal challenges.

Guadeloupe has important needs in terms of employment, but also in terms of structures fostering social inclusion. Social and Solidarity-based Economy proves an appropriate option for providing constructive and sustainable solutions in this area.

Nonetheless, while ESS represents more than 10% of national salaried employment, it remains to be developed and structured in Guadeloupe. It is necessary to emphasise its usefulness.

The Guadeloupe Regional Council is intent on developing Social and Solidarity-based Economy by strongly supporting its players so that the population may benefit from it, especially regarding social and professional integration as well as care-giving services.