The economy of Saint Helena grows through export income from coffee, tourism, fishing, and sales of alcoholic liqueurs. Unemployment is very low in Saint Helena; the February 2016 Census stated only 76 people self declared that they were unemployed (with 10 claiming unemployment benefit) compared to an economically active population of 2,539 and a total population of 4,534.[1] Saint Helena is one of two countries which depend on financial assistance from the United Kingdom, which amounted to about £22.5 million in 2016/17. This supplements the £12.6 million raised from local tax revenues.[2]

The international airport has been open for private jets and Medivac services since 2016. A scheduled commercial air service began in October 2017. With a total investment of £285m the airport will be the largest single investment ever made in the island. Until 2016, the only way to reach the island was by boat. The last working Royal Mail Ship will make its final voyage serving St Helena in 2018[3] and cargo will thereafter be transported either by air or via the newly serving vessel 'Helena'.

Saint Helena's gross domestic product (GDP) for the 2014/15 financial year was £33.5 million and gross national product (GNP) was £32.3 million, GNP per Capita was £7,392 and GNP per Capita, was £7,133.[4]

The major private secore employers of the islands are Solomons and co (st helena) and Thorpes providing services in almost all sectors.


Saint Helena possesses fisheries, agriculture (including coffee), construction, retail, and accommodation and food service industries.


In 2016, Saint Helena had a workforce of 2,539.[5] Many St Helenians take up jobs in Ascension Island, the Falklands and the UK.


St Helena are developing an Energy Strategy and are working towards a 100% renewable energy target. There are currently 8 wind turbines, and a number of solar systems. The rifle range solar farm currently has the largest output of the solar systems with 500 kWh.[6]

The overwhelming majority (75%) of St Helena's power comes from 6 diesel generators. [7]


The main agricultural products of Saint Helena are: coffee, fish (predominately tuna), potatoes, vegetables; timber.


According to 2014-15 customs data shows the following exports

• Fisheries 87% of export economy not including Tourism

• Coffee 8% of export economy not including Tourism

• Tourism

• Alcohol 3% of export economy not including Tourism


Food and other goods are imported from Cape Town, South Africa and the UK (via Ascension). Shipping is run by AW Ship Management Ltd. Packages can be sent via Richard James International or by Royal Mail (by Royal Mail anything under 2kg will go by air). Wharf services are provided by Solomons.


The local currency is the Saint Helena pound, which is at a par with the British Pound. The government issues its own coins and banknotes. British pounds are accepted in Saint Helena.

Banking services on Saint Helena are provided by the Bank of St. Helena, which delivers a retail banking service to individuals and business in, and trading with, Saint Helena.

There is no ATM on island, so cash must be withdrawn from the Bank of Saint Helena cashiers in Jamestown (Monday-Saturday) or at Customs at the wharf (Thursday-Friday). Local debit cards are being trialed by the bank of Saint Helena in 2016.[8]

See also


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