Français

Home > The OCTs > Caribbean > Curaçao > Presentation of Curaçao

Presentation of Curaçao

Member state: The Kingdom of the Netherlands
Surface area (km2): 444
Population: 142 180
(January 1, 2010, source: CBS Curaçao)
Density (/km2): 319
Capital: Willemstad

Location

In the Caribbean Sea, 35 nmi north of the coast of South America, at 12°7’0”N, 68°56’0”W.

Topography

Curaçao is approx. 62 km long and 4 to 14 km wide, the smallest width being in the middle of the island. Curaçao is predominantly flat, but has hills alongside its entire length. The highest hill, the Sint Christoffelberg, rises 372 m (1220 ft) high and is the first object sighted in the approach from the north or west. Sint Barbara, 194 m (637 ft) high, is the first object seen in the approach from the east. Tafelberg, 230 m (755 ft) high and Sint Antonieberg, 172 m (564 ft) high, also are in the east.

Climate

Curaçao is located outside the hurricane belt. Warm and sunny climate year round. Average temperature is about 27° C (mid 80’s F). Cooling trade winds blow constantly from the East, picking up in the spring months. The rainy season is October through February. Annual rainfall averages 570 mm (22 inches).

Economic activities

Curaçao’s main economic activities are in the tourism, oil refinery and transhipment, trade and offshore sectors. For 2010, a real GDP growth of 0.1% was estimated with an inflation of 2.8% (source: CBS Curaçao). Growth was led by the tourism and tourism related sectors, such as trade and real estate, but mitigated by the oil refinery and transhipment sector. Nominal GDP in 2010: NAF 5284.1 million (source: CBS Curaçao).

Political and administrative status

On October 10th, 2010 Curaçao obtained the status of autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Head of State is the Queen. The political structure of Curaçao constitutes a Parliament and a Council of Ministers, headed by a Governor appointed by and representing the Queen. A Common Court of Justice serves the Kingdom Entities. The public administration counts 9 Ministries.

Universities/specialities

The University of Curaçao Mr. Dr. Moises Frumencio da Costa Gomez is the state university of Curaçao former name University of the Netherlands Antilles (UNA) was formed by a national decree on the 12 of January 1979 (O.B. 1979 no. 12). Since 2010, the university has been the seat of the UNESCO Caribbean Small Island Developing State Good Governance Chair.
Currently the UNA has five faculties. www.una.an/
Caribbean International University www.ciucuracao.info
Inter-Continental University of the Caribbean (formerly CURISES) www.icuc-university.org
St. Martinus University (Faculty of Medicine): http://www.martinus.edu

Focus

Willemstad: National Plan for Community Development 2010-2015

More than 100 of our 270 neighborhoods on Curacao are in a poor condition. This alarming fact is the motivation to come up with a national plan, congruous with our sense of urgency, which has to deal with this challenge. The base of the National Plan for Community Development is the conviction that the government is one of the players and not the only one. For a sustainable development of a neighborhood the commitment of the residents are crucial, so is that of the private sector and science.

Reducing poverty solely through infrastructure improvements is not enough according to National Plan for Community Development. It should go hand in hand with Human Capital Investment i.e. investing in people. The five main objectives within National Plan for Community Development are

  1. To create attractive and pleasant areas,
  2. To increase employment and stimulate entrepreneurship,
  3. To elevate the level of education and formation
  4. To sustain family and families,
  5. To improve safety and diminish nuisance neighborhoods.

The concept “live able neighborhoods” is a rather comprehensive one. It refers to both the quality of the environment as the quality of life of the individual which are interrelated. The moment the environment has a negative influence on the mental and physical being of inhabitants; this also affects the labor productivity, the school efforts of children, the safety in the neighborhoods and the social behavior of people. Therefore, investing in the environment forms an important contribution to the improvement of the socio-economic situation of the neighborhoods.

Starting with an Investment program for the first series of 15 neighborhoods, the estimated budget is about Nafl. 180 mln., consisting of the State budget, private sector and other funds. The goal is to have started improving 60 neighbourhoods
in 2015.