The rise of sustainable Citizenship by Investment Programmes 

Discover how Citizenship by Investment Programmes are revolutionising the concept of sustainable development.

An alternate citizenship and a sustainable lifestyle can go hand-in-hand. Accordingly, sustainable Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programmes have taken off in Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis, advocating a sustainable development approach.  

Eco-conscious investors can feel confident in choosing countries such as St Kitts and Nevis and Dominica, who utilise CBI funds for their sustainable development solutions. These funds go back to benefitting the natural ecosystems of the country.  

This article will explain the importance of sustainable development, while outlining the unique features of the environmentally conscious CBI programmes in St Kitts and Nevis and Dominica.  

The importance of sustainable development

Sustainable development has never been so important, both to investors and politicians.  

The COP-28 conference in Dubai last November brought the concerns of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to the forefront of international affairs. SIDS  will be most acutely affected by climate change and climate-driven disasters, and the COP-28 conference provided a platform to spotlight these states. 

The Prime Ministers of Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis led delegations to COP-28.  

St Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Honourable Dr Terrance Drew gave an address at COP-28 which laid out his Sustainable Island State vision. The address contained a call to action for international partners to work together to fight the climate crisis.  

Dominica Prime Minister Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit also delivered an address at COP-28. Skerrit highlighted that COP-28 left much work to be done in the realm of climate change and environmental protection, calling on international partners to contribute more funding to climate change prevention.  

Growing awareness of sustainability in a geopolitical context

Countries are taking note of the geopolitical importance of SIDS given the disproportionate impact that climate change will have on the nations.  

The US regularly works with SIDS in the Caribbean on regional issues and assisted these countries in strengthening their CBI programmes. The countries are regional leaders for their innovative, effective policy responses to climate change. 

Most notably, the US agreed upon Six Principles with Caribbean CBI countries, demonstrating its interest and commitment to the region.  

The UK added Caribbean SIDS as a strategic region of great interest to the country’s 2023 Integrated Review, the most important foreign policy and national security document put out by Government of the United Kingdom.  

The document highlighted the importance of maintaining and deepening UK–Caribbean relations. 

Because sustainability has never been so important, Caribbean CBI programmes have sought to utilise programming to fund their countries’ sustainable development, in a multitude of ways such as the energy transition, ecotourism, and social welfare.  

Utilising sustainable economic development as a means of shoring up green credentials, Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis have staked their claim to being among the most eco-conscious CBI countries in the world.  

Sustainable Citizenship by Investment Programme: St Kitts and Nevis

The CBI programme in St Kitts and Nevis funds eco-friendly initiatives such as eco-resorts, clean energy and sustainable economic development.  

Specifically, the island offers prospective citizens the option to fund St Kitts and Nevis’s Sustainable Island State Contribution (SISC). The SISC invites prospective citizens to take part in the environmental, social and economic goals of the country.  

CBI has generated strong returns for the country. In a speech outlining his budget for next year, Prime Minister Drew noted that CBI funds exceeded budget expectations by 54.9 per cent.  

The CBI funds are then spent on sustainable development along with the social welfare of the Kittian and Nevisian population.  

Ecotourism, creative industries and green energy in St Kitts and Nevis

An integral part of the country’s Sustainable Island State vision includes the transition to green energy. In this vein, St Kitts and Nevis will embark upon the installation of solar panels, and will consider future diversification into other sustainable energy options such as geothermal and wind power.   

CBI has helped fund ecotourism on the island, allowing investors to support eco-hotels that promote environmentalism, sustainable food practices, and green agendas. 

For example, the Sunset Reef Hotel was recently crowned Caribbean Journal’s Sustainable Hotel of The Year for 2024.  

The Sunset Reef Hotel emphasises renewable energy and energy efficiency. It does so via extracting energy from pools, while also utilising a well-functioning air conditioning system.  

The hotel has also banned plastics on its property and prioritises water conservation in its hotel practices.  

Sustainable economic development in St Kitts and Nevis is done in cutting-edge, original ways. CBI funds went to creating a Department of Creative Economy, which encourages creatives to make original work through funding of artistic endeavours.  

The department also supports the creative industry, investing in the innovative future of the creative economy.  

Ensuring that the St Kitts and Nevis population receives the benefits of CBI, CBI funds strengthen the social welfare programmes of the island. CBI funds schools and educational initiatives, giving back to future generations.  

CBI also funds infrastructural development projects on the island, which further improves the country’s economic development and vitality.  

Dominica: using CBI to become the first climate-resilient nation

CBI is an integral force in ensuring sustainable development in Dominica. Dominica’s mission to be the first climate-resilient nation is supplemented and strengthened by its CBI programme. 

Dubbed ‘nature’s island,’ Dominica is known for its savvy ecological credentials.  

EC$600 million from Citizenship by Investment assisted the country in rebounding from climate-related national disasters.  

CBI has also funded over 5,000 climate-resistant homes. These funds have not only refitted existing homes to stand up against natural disasters, but also went to building new climate-resilient homes across the island.  

Infrastructure, ecotourism and green energy in Dominica

The funds also help fund ecotourism on the island.  

Infrastructure, which encourages ecotourism, has been strengthened by CBI funds. In addition to the house-building initiative, CBI also has funded an international airport, slated to open in 2025. 

Roads, bridges and other infrastructure integral to enhancing the country’s ecotourism offering are being improved through CBI funding.  

Ecotourists can utilise the country’s vast national parks system and visit the UNESCO World Heritage site on the island, the Morne Trois Pitons National Park. 

The CBI funds also led the island to pursue green energy. The island is currently drilling two geothermal wells for energy extraction. The country is also building a power plant and corresponding transmission network for geothermal energy.  

The plant will not only  produce clean energy for Dominicans; it will also give the island potential to export its energy capacity to nearby nations. This will add to the country’s already impressive clean energy arsenal, as the country already operates a hydropower plant.  

Clean energy, supported by CBI funding, is more affordable and dependable than fossil fuel energy sources.  

CBI also helps support sustainable social welfare programming in Dominica.  

The country’s National Employment Program gives Dominicans on-the-job training in various important sectors to the Dominican economy. This training allows Dominicans to have the skills to do their jobs to the highest degree. Concurrently it allows them to obtain better, high-skilled jobs in the future. 

Through CBI funding, the country is also able to contribute at least $300 to Dominican’s Social Security payments. 

The future of sustainable Citizenship by Investment Programmes

Sustainability is likely to continue setting the political and economic agenda for countries around the world. Climate change, a global motivator of migration and economic change, will require innovative and imaginative responses from governments.  

The Citizenship by Investment programmes in Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis aim to help their nations adapt to climate crises while protecting the natural environment.  

These programmes help cement the countries as regional leaders in the Caribbean. They further seek to give back to the populations of Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis through economic development, renewable clean energy and social welfare.  

The 2023 World Citizenship Report (WCR) recognised Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis as being among the ‘gold standard’ of CBI programmes.  

Among other parameters, both countries were recognised by the Report for being safe places to live with low crime rates, along with boasting strong democratic credentials.  

Both countries have free and fair elections along with robustly strong media outlets. With deep commitments to their international partners, the countries are well-placed as regional leaders with global ties.  

The WCR also recognised both countries for their sustainability and climate programming, strengthened and supplemented by CBI funds.  

CBI is among the best ways for SIDS to raise awareness, funds and innovative solutions for sustainable development.