The level of economic development in the individual countries is very different. The Caribbean island states achieve the highest incomes: With a gross national income (GNI) per capita of US $ 21,310 (2015), the Bahamas are at the forefront thanks to lively tourism and internationally networked financial services. With a GNI of (2015) US $ 12,050 per inhabitant, Panama is at the top of the Central American countries. In contrast, Haiti, with a GNI per capita of US $ 880, is not only one of the poorest countries in Central America, but also in the world.
Tropical agriculture with the cultivation of sugar cane, bananas, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, pineapples, sisalagaves, cotton, spices and citrus fruits is still the main livelihood of the population in some states in Central America and West India (including Haiti, Nicaragua). It is largely determined by the plantation economy, which dates back to the colonial era and which in some cases expanded in the 20th century. Coffee is an important export item for almost all Central American countries. Bananas are mainly grown in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras. After the Second World War, Cuba lost its leading role in the cultivation of sugar cane; Although it has one of the largest cultivation areas in the world, its production share is only a few percent today. Shrimp and others
The main mineral resources are crude oil (Mexico, Trinidad), iron, copper, manganese ores (Cuba, Mexico) and bauxite (Jamaica, Hispaniola). The largest silver deposits in Central America are in Mexico, which is the world’s number one in terms of silver production (2014: 5,766 t).
The degree of industrialization varies greatly from country to country: industry, including mining, contributed around a quarter of GDP on average; in Mexico it was 32.7% (2015). The country has a differentiated and highly developed industrial structure and, due to its size, has a special economic position. Mexico is part of the North American Freetrade Agreement [NAFTA], which came into force in 1994. Trinidad and Tobago also plays a special role (44.0% of GDP is generated in the secondary sector) with its significant oil production and processing. On the West Indies, which are dominated by the service sector (e.g. Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia), less than 15% of GDP is generated in the manufacturing sector.
According to COUNTRYAAH.COM, the most important trading partners of almost all countries in Central America are still the USA and the EU; These two economic areas account for over two thirds of total foreign trade. Trade with China is also gaining importance in this region of the world. Trade between the states of Central America is to be strengthened or liberalized through various cooperation agreements. B. Caribbean Community, Latin American Economic System, CAFTA (Central America Free Trade Agreement). The economic objectives of these agreements have so far only partially been achieved. Tourism is of growing importance, especially in the area of the West Indies in the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Jamaica and Barbados as well as in Mexico.
Transport: Mexico has the longest rail network in Central America (approx. 26,700 km). The road network has been greatly expanded since the early 1960s, but it is still very sketchy. The most important connections are sections of the Panamerican Highway in north-south direction. The Panama Canal is of crucial importance for international maritime traffic between the Atlantic and Pacific. The majority of the tonnage of the merchant fleets is therefore attributable to Panama, which, however, is one of the countries with the flags of convenience due to its open shipping register and thus occupies a special position.
The oldest evidence of settlement in Central America (Paleo-Indian period) comes from the Mexican site of Tlapacoya (around 20,000 BC). During this time, the South American area ( America). From about 7,300 BC. The cultivation of cultivated plants can be proven. In the archaic period (8,000–2,500 BC) it can be seen as early as 7,300 BC. Chr. In Oaxaca the cultivation of pumpkins, from 6 500 the cultivation of chillies and avocados prove. The cultivation of maize was particularly important (from 3,500 BC, in the valley of Tehuacán, possibly even earlier). Dating problems arise from the fact that wild forms are difficult to distinguish from cultivated forms. At the same time, the first permanent settlements were formed. The first clay vessels date from around 2,500 BC. BC (Mexico, a little later Belize). From 2,000 B.C. High cultural developments can be observed in Central America, beginning with the Olmecs ( Mesoamerican high cultures ).
History: ( Latin America ).
|Central America: state structure (2015)|
|Country||Form of government||Area (in km 2 )||Ew. (in 1,000)||capital city|
|Antigua and Barbuda||Monarchy 1)||440||91.8||Saint John’s|
|Bahamas||Monarchy 1)||13 880||388.0||Nassau|
|Belize||Monarchy 1)||22 970||359.3||Belmopan|
|Costa Rica||republic||51 100||4,807.8||San Jose|
|Dominican. republic||republic||48 670||10 528.4||Santo Domingo|
|El Salvador||republic||21 040||6 126.6||San Salvador|
|Grenada||Monarchy 1)||340||106.8||Saint George’s|
|Haiti||republic||27 750||10 711.1||Port-au-Prince|
|Honduras||republic||112 490||8 075.1||Tegucigalpa|
|Jamaica||Monarchy 1)||10 990||2,725.9||Kingston|
|Cuba||republic||109 890||11 389.6||Havana|
|Mexico||republic||1 964 380||127 017.2||Mexico|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||Monarchy 1)||2350||55.6||Basseterre|
|Saint Lucia||Monarchy 1)||620||185.0||Castries|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Monarchy 1)||390||109.5||Kingstown|
|Trinidad and Tobago||republic||5 130||1,360.1||Port of Spain|
|1) Parliamentary monarchy.|