Public Engagement on St Helena’s Sustainable Economic Development Strategy and Delivery Plan 2023-2033

A period of public engagement on the draft Sustainable Economic Development Strategy and Delivery Plan 2023-2033 (SEDS) has been launched. Once finalised, the SEDS will provide the overarching blueprint for developing the territory’s economy, and will replace the Sustainable Economic Development Plan 2018-2028 (SEDP).

The SEDS has been developed following a reassessment of the SEDP in light of the new government coming to power in 2021. This a reflection of the ambitions and focus areas outlined in the Executive Council’s Vision and Strategy 2022-25, as well as a significantly changed economic climate following the Covid-19 pandemic and introduction of higher speed, lower cost internet.

This required not only a review of the SEDP but also the general economic development policy landscape.

What is in the new SEDS?

The SEDS contain two very clear goals to deliver against:

  1. Growth of the working age population; and
  2. Growth in the proportion of government revenue collected through economic activity.

These two priorities have been identified following a review of our economic development policies, chiefly contained in and driven by the SEDP.

The SEDS outlines six objectives designed to advance either one, or both, of those goals.

  1. An open and accessible island — Open and accessible for people and culture, capital and finance
  2. A productive island — Increase productivity, labour force participation, and capital investment
  3. A breath of fresh air — Preserve and celebrate what makes us unique
  4. A united island — Ensure everyone shares in the benefit
  5. Effective infrastructure — Growth is supported by better infrastructure
  6. Better government — Make St Helena Government a facilitator of business

SHG’s Economic Development Portfolio will now only pursue or support activities that actively support the achievement of these KPIs in the short, medium, or long term. These two measures are the ultimate goals of the SEDS. The SEDS further identifies economic sectors that the island believes can contribute to the realisation of the vision and goals.

On the release of the SEDS, Minister for Economic Development, Mark Brooks, said:

“I am pleased to invite comments on the new Sustainable Economic Development Strategy. The SEDS will be the driving force of change across the economy and will guide all strategic policy decisions. We have already seen this in action with the recent changes to customs duty on heavy busses and heavy machinery, making it more favourable to import these. I am committed to continuing to transform the economic environment to ensure that St Helena’s economy flourishes and we unlock the true potential of this island.”

The SEDS can be found on the SHG website at

Feedback on the SEDS can be submitted to Director of Economic Development, Damian Burns, by email through

The SEDS will be presented at a public engagement session. Further details will be announced in due course. A session will also be held at the next meeting of the Chamber of Commerce.

Notes to Editor

The SEDP was St Helena’s strategic plan for developing the economy, and was developed in conjunction with key stakeholders. It provided a guide for achieving the strategic ‘Altogether Wealthier’ goal. It was based on identifying the economic sectors most likely to increase money coming into the St Helena economy, primarily through the export of goods and services, as well as retaining money in the economy through import substitution.

The 2018-28 SEDP guided other key policies and strategies, including the investment strategy, agricultural strategy, and digital strategy.

Despite the wide consultation that was undertaken in developing the 2018-28 SEDP, the policies embodied in it were identified as being due for reassessment, with a view to establishing whether they remained the most appropriate for advancing St Helena’s economic welfare. 

In the 2023 Budget Speech, the government announced its revised vision and strategy.  That vision and strategy was focused on the following three pillars

1. A change in mind set by St Helena and by SHG;

2. Creating a business friendly enabling environment; and

3. Establishing effective infrastructure to provide economic resilience and certainty, and which lowers the cost of living.

An internal review of the existing SEDP was undertaken in light of the Executive Council’s revised vision and strategy,

That review concluded that SHG should:

  1. Recognise that St Helena as a whole is not wealthier only because it has a larger stock of money on the island, and that what mattered was if and how money was used or invested in the island economy.  
  2. Recognise that economic growth is a function of trade (whether domestic or international) and capital formation (whether via investment or the development of human capital), both of which increase productivity and therefore returns to capital (profits) and labour (wages). 
  3. Stop pursuing absolute advantage (the greatest level of production) and instead concentrate on areas where St Helena has a comparative advantage (areas where St Helena can make the greatest returns). 
  4. Abandon protectionist policies, such as high import duties, as these actually increase input costs to business and therefore undermine economic growth. 

The review proposed, therefore, that St Helena pursue an economic policy based around the following key principles:

  1. lower costs and reduce or remove barriers and distortions that inhibit economic activity;
  2. lower barriers to imports and exports;
  3. increase investment;
  4. increase the size of the labour force; and,
  5. increase value adding.

The review led to the drafting of St Helena’s revised economic development strategy. The strategy, now has two clear goals and six clear objectives, by which we will measures ourselves against and focus our work towards.


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