The Economy

This page provides charts, tables and commentary using the economic statistics of St Helena.

For detailed data files (in Excel format) and other reports, please click here.

Gross Domestic Product, total and per capita

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures the total value of all the goods and services produced on the island during a year. For 2021/22, it was estimated to be £39.0 million and the annual growth rate was estimated to be -1.7%, a decrease in GDP in real terms. GDP per capita was estimated to be £8,850 per person, or $12,120; countries with similar GDP per capita to St Helena were the Russian Federation ($12,190), Bulgaria ($12,220) and Costa Rica ($12,470), which were all slightly higher, and Palau ($12,080), Malaysia ($11,110) and Nauru ($10,650), all of which were slightly lower (source: World Bank).

Gross Value Added by Sector

Government and public administration is the largest industrial sector measured using Gross Value Added – but it important to note this includes education and health services, which would normally not be included. Finance, Insurance, Information and Communication services, and Wholesale and Retail Trade (including Motor Vehicle Repair), are the second and third pargest industrial sectors on St Helena.

The Retail Price Index

St Helena measures price inflation by collecting the prices of a fixed basket of goods and services each quarter. Categories that have increased faster than the average over the last five years include Transport and Alcohol and Tobacco; the main categories that have increased more slowly than the average are Household Energy and Communications; in the case of Communications, this is largely because of the change to the tariff for accessing the internet introduced in October 2023.


The latest annual price inflation rate in Q1 2024 is 1.8%, which means that, on average, retail prices went up by 1.8% between Q1 2023 and Q1 2024.

There are variations in the rate for different categories of goods and services. For instance, the annual price change of Communications was negative, at -44.1%, because of the change to the tariff for broadband internet and mobile phone data access introduced by Sure, St Helena's telecommunications service provider.


Adjusted for inflation, median wage levels on St Helena rose substantially during construction of the new Airport in 2012/13 to 2015/16, but they have fallen back since. In 2022/23, half of all full-time employees earned less than £9,970 a year, or £192 a week – and a half earned more. A quarter earned less than £8,100 a year, or £156 a week, and a quarter earned more than £13,200 a year, or £254 a week. On average males are estimated to have earned just £80 a year more than women in 2022/23, a much smaller gap than in 2013/14, when it was estimated at £2,120 a year.

Imports of goods

In 2022/23, the total value of imported goods purchased abroad was £23.8 million. Imports consist mainly of various manufactured goods, machinery and vehicles, food, fuel (diesel and petrol), and beverages and tobacco. Imported goods are purchased either in South Africa or the United Kingdom, apart from diesel and petrol.

Visitor expenditure

Exports of St Helena consist of both goods, such as fish and coffee, and services purchased by visitors to the island. The value of these services to visitors are currently far greater than the exports of fish and coffee, and it is estimated by surveying visitors as they depart the island. The estimates derived from this method are not precise, and so they are given as a range, to indicate that there is some uncertainty. Before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2018 ansd 2019 the estimated visitor expenditure was between around £4.6 and £6.6 million per year. During the pandemic visitor expenditure fell dramatically, as travel to and from the island was very limited, but in 2023 it is estimated that visitor expenditure was between £4.6 and £6.4 million, the same as in 2018 and only slightly lower than 2019, the year directly before the pandemic.