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The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, also known as the Federationof Saint Christopher and Nevis, located in the Leeward Islands, is a federaltwo-island nation in the West Indies. It is the smallest nation in America, inboth area and population. Saint Kitts and Nevis are geographically part of theLeeward Islands. To the north-northwest lie the islands of Saint Eustatius, Saba,Saint Barthélemy, and Saint-Martin/Sint Maarten. To the east and northeast are Antiguaand Barbuda, and to the southeast is the small uninhabited island of Redonda,and the island of Montserrat, which currently has an active volcano (see SoufrièreHills.) The capital city and headquarters of government for the federated stateis on the larger island of Saint Kitts. The smaller state of Nevis lies about 2miles (3 km) southeast of Saint Kitts, across a shallow channel called”The Narrows”.
Saint Kitts and Nevis is very small for a country. It is 11/2 times the size of Washington D.C. The islands are of volcanic origin, withlarge central peaks covered in tropical rainforest; the steeper slopes leadingto these peaks are mostly uninhabited. The majority of the population on bothislands lives closer to the sea where the terrain flattens out. There arenumerous rivers descending from the mountains of both islands, which providefresh water to the local population. St. Kitts also has one small lake.
Saint Kitts and Nevis is a twin-island federation whoseeconomy is characterized by its dominant tourism, agriculture and lightmanufacturing industries. Sugar was the traditional mainstay of the Saint Kittseconomy until the 1970s. Following the 2005 harvest, the government closed thesugar industry after decades of losses of 3-4% of GDP annually. To compensatefor employment losses, the government has embarked on a program to diversifythe agricultural sector and to stimulate other sectors of the economy.Activities such as tourism, export-oriented manufacturing, and offshore bankinghave assumed larger roles in the economy and have contributed to the recentrobust growth. Tourism revenues are now the chief source of the islands’foreign exchange; about 341,800 tourists visited Nevis in 2005. The currentgovernment is constrained by a high debt burden; public debt reached 190% ofGDP by the end of 2005, largely attributable to public enterprise losses. StKitts has also recently been described as the most attractive propertyinvestment market in the Caribbean. Real estate prices have been increasing steadily for adecade. Foreigners need an Alien Land-Holding License. The islands can alsoserve as your gateway to a second citizenship.