The high GDP of Anguilla masks its economic and social inequalities. Hurricane Irma had a significant impact on the economy, leading to a decline of 97 per cent in GDP.6 About 1,800 jobs were lost post-Irma, including 60 per cent of total employment in the tourism sector, raising unemployment to more than 25 per cent.4 Therefore, it is likely that poverty and vulnerability have been exacerbated since the most recent Country Poverty Assessment conducted in 2007-2009, a problem compounded by the COVID-19 crisis.
BREXIT AND DEVELOPMENT AID
Anguilla’s status as a middle-income UK overseas territory disqualifies it from direct access to international aid and development funds. 4 Brexit threatens its only source of significant development aid which comes from the European Union (EU). Anguilla shares a border with the EU and is heavily reliant on both France and Holland for access to essential commodities and services. 4 It could also have negative implications for the booming tourism sector, which accounts for approximately 80 per cent of GDP when all impacts are considered (direct, indirect and induced).4
Anguilla is heavily dependent on rain and water storage for its water supply. 7 For three out of five households, the principle source of drinking water is bottled water. 7 The water supply is constantly under strain and regularly rationed. In 2017, Hurricane Irma caused significant damage to Anguilla’s electricity infrastructure, creating a need for safe drinking water as stable electrical supply is critical for the desalination of water on the island. 7