Economy in Reunion

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Economy—overview: The economy has traditionally been based on agriculture. Sugarcane has been the primary crop for more than a century and in some years it accounts for 85% of exports. The government has been pushing the development of a tourist industry to relieve high unemployment which recently amounted to one-third of the labor force. The gap in Reunion between the well-off and the poor is extraordinary and accounts for the persistent social tensions. The white and Indian communities are substantially better off than other segments of the population often approaching European standards whereas indigenous groups suffer the poverty and unemployment typical of the poorer nations of the African continent. The outbreak of severe rioting in February 1991 illustrates the seriousness of socioeconomic tensions. The economic well-being of Reunion depends heavily on continued financial assistance from France.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$3 billion (1996 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 4% (1996 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$4 300 (1996 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:

agriculture: NA%

industry: NA%

services: NA%

Inflation rate—consumer price index: NA%

Labor force:

total: 242 169 (1993)

by occupation: agriculture 8% industry 19% services 73% (1990)

Unemployment rate: 35% (1994)


revenues: $856.7 million

expenditures: $2.2437 billion including capital expenditures of NA (1993)

Industries: sugar rum cigarettes handicraft items flower oil extraction

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity—capacity: 299 000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 1.105 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 1 659 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: sugarcane vanilla tobacco tropical fruits vegetables corn


total value: $171.776 million (f.o.b. 1994)

commodities: sugar 63% rum and molasses 4% perfume essences 2% lobster 3% (1993)

partners: France Mauritius Bahrain South Africa Italy Madagascar


total value: $2.354 billion (c.i.f. 1994)

commodities: manufactured goods food beverages tobacco machinery and transportation equipment raw materials and petroleum products

partners: France Mauritius Bahrain South Africa Italy Madagascar

Debt—external: $NA

Economic aid:

recipient: substantial annual subsidies from France

Currency: 1 French franc (F) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: French francs (F) per US$1—6.0836 (January 1998) 5.8367 (1997) 5.1155 (1996) 4.9915 (1995) 5.5520 (1994) 5.6632 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year

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