The vision of the Sustainable Economic Development Plan (SEDP) 2018-2028 is to achieve development which is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable by increasing standards of living and quality of life; not relying on aid payments from the UK in the longer term; whilst affording to maintain the island’s infrastructure; achieve more money coming into St Helena than going out and sustain and improve St Helena’s natural resources for this generation and the next.
The 10 goals which will help achieve the vision are as follows:
- Increase Exports
- Substitute Imports
- Attract Visitors and Increase Tourism
- Mitigate impacts of inflation on the lowest income groups
- Improve Land Productivity
- Sustain and improve our Natural Capital
- Improve Infrastructure
- Develop, maintain and attract a skilled workforce
- Develop the digital economy
- Reduce leakage of income
The SEDP identifies St Helena’s opportunities and comparative advantages. Comparative advantages are the characteristics whereby St Helena can produce goods and services at a lower cost or higher quality than other economic actors. These are:
- Natural Resources and Geography
St Helena’s sub-tropical climate, heritage, natural beauty and endemic species are a draw for tourists to visit. St Helena is geographically safe as it does not suffer from storms, hurricanes or coastal surges. All year round sun and wind provide good opportunities for renewable energy. St Helena’s location between Africa and South America provides opportunities for some sectors.
- British Overseas Territory
St Helena is an English speaking country. There are very strong links between St Helena and the UK, and links to South Africa. 80% of the resident population have left St Helena at some point in their lifetime and 50% have worked overseas. St Helena’s time zone follows the Greenwich Mean Time.
The currency in St Helena is the St Helenian Pound. Pound Sterling is accepted on St Helena, with a fixed exchange rate of £1 to £1.
- Relatively Inexpensive Labour and Property Costs
The minimum wage, average wage, and average property rental rates in St Helena are relatively low compared to many countries elsewhere. This translates to a relatively low variable cost for business.
- Low Crime
Crime is extremely low in St Helena; in 2016-17 a total of 153 crimes were recorded. St Helena upholds anti-corruption laws, and does not tolerate bribery and extortion. The island community is centred around family and heritage which creates an enabling environment for initiative, growth and trust.
Potential sectors for growth include tourism; agriculture; fisheries; satellite ground stations; coffee; work from home jobs; academia; research and conferences; liquor, wines and beers; ship registry and sailing qualifications; traditional products; honey and honey bees, timber; bricks, blocks, minerals and rocks; film location; and bottled water.
As well as there being business opportunities within the sectors outlined, this Sustainable Economic Development Plan identified a number of desired products and services which could be provided by entrepreneurs:
- International wholesaler of St Helenian export products;
- Green waste collection and composting service; recycling services and waste export.
- Drinks making business; including bottled water, carbonated drinks, fruit juice, wines, beers and coffee.
- Food processing business;
- Bee hive rental/management services;
- Sailing school;
- Wellness or yoga retreat;
- Niche tourism activities e.g. bird watching holidays; photography holidays; guided walking, climbing or cycling tours; coffee picking experiences; St Helenian cooking classes; hosting of overseas school fieldtrips; military diving training; re-enactment centres, tours relating to the slave trade connection;
- Low price, no frills food, laundry, Wi-Fi and accommodation marketed to visiting yachties and ‘adventure travellers’;
- Refurbishment, enhancement and use of heritage sites for events and tourism;
- Local production of foods such as eggs, fruit, 28 day aged beef, chicken meat, alternatives to UHT milk, yoghurt, mushrooms, coconut products, sunflower products, and soya products;
- Health tourism services, such as residential care.
Click here to download the Sustainable Economic Development Plan from the library.