IICA – Bahamas’ History
Mr. Finn Hjortmar Damtoft came to the Bahamas on 13th March, 1998, to take up the position of Representative of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in the Bahamas, resulting from an Agreement between the Government of The Bahamas and IICA that was signed in 1997.
Mr. Damtoft officially assumed the position of Representative on March 15, 1998. Mr. Damtoft established the Finn H. Damtoft Agricultural Library in 2001.
Mr. Errol Berkley followed Mr. Damtoft as Representative for the period June 1, 2001, to July 31, 2006.
Dr. Marikis N. Alvarez took up his appointment on February 1, 2006, and completed his tour of duty on November 10, 2011.
Mr. Manuel Messina became the Acting Representative on November 10, 2011, and was confirmed as Representative on April 1st, 2012.
The Bahamas is an archipelago of 100,000 square miles that extends over 500 miles of the most pristine water in the world. It is made up of 700 islands and cays which includes uninhabited cays and large rocks with a total estimated land area of 5,382 square miles. The highest land elevation is 206 feet located at Mount Alvernia on Cat Island. The largest Island is Andros with an area of 2,300 square miles. The Bahamas has a semitropical climate. Natural resources include salt, aragonite, timber and arable land.
The Bahamas' economy is dominated by tourism and financial services sectors which comprise 75% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The agricultural and fisheries sectors together represent about 5% of GDP. The major exports are pharmaceuticals, cement, rum, crawfish (spiny lobster) and refined petroleum products. Agricultural exports consist mainly of citrus fruits (grapefruits, lemons, limes and oranges). The main markets include the United States, United Kingdom, Europe and Canada.
Social & Demographic:
Total (thousands) - 316
Annual growth rate (%/year) - 1.1
Density (per Sq. km.) - 31.7
Life expectancy at birth (years) - 69.8
Crude birth rate (per thousand) - 18.3
Crude dealth rate (per thousand) - 4.7
Infant mortality rate (per thousand live births) - 11.0
Distribution of Labour Force (in %, 2004)
Agriculture & Fishing - 4.4
Industry & Mining - 5.5
Services - 90.1
Adult literacy rate (in %, 2002) - 96
GDP (US$ billions, 2004) - 5.7
GDP per capita (US$, 2003) - 17, 396
Unemployment rate (in %, 2004) - 10.2
Sources: Department of Statistics National Accounts Report 2004; IICA Bahamas Annual report 2004; The World Bank; UND Human Development Report 2005