Business Growth and Development in Iceland

By: Asberg Jonsson

Iceland can more be called a volcanic island rather than a country and it lies in the northern direction in Atlantic ocean, eastern direction of Greenland and just south of the arctic circle. Its distance from New York is about 4200 kilometers [2600 miles] and 830 kilometers [520 miles] from Scotland. About 79 percent of total land in Iceland is covered by glaciers, lakes, mountainous lave deserts and other wastelands. Despite of all these unsettling facts standard of living in Iceland is one among the highest of the world. For many decades, the economy of Iceland totally depended on fishing and other jobs related to it. It is still the major proportion of the exports of Iceland; it is around only 10 percent of gross domestic product. The economy of Iceland is growing all because of growth of sectors like I.T sector, tourism and banking and finance.

As told earlier, Fishing products are the major exported items of Iceland. Other important exported things include aluminum, ferrosilicon alloys, equipments and electronic items for fishing and the process of fishing and pharmaceuticals. Services and areas related to information technology and life sciences are the fastest growing sectors of Icelandic economy. Major part of things exported from Iceland goes to EU [European Union] and EFTA [European Free Trade Association]. These two European associations are followed by America and Japan. Note, that till now, America is the largest foreign investor in Iceland and is also the biggest supplier of services like financial and franchise services, movies/ TV programs, music, tourism etc. The agricultural sector of Iceland is very subsidized and kept very personal.

Iceland has very less mineral power resources. The huge availability of hydro-electric and geothermal electricity allows more than 90 percent of population to get electricity and heating to get some relieve in cold and chilly weather of Iceland. The Karahnjukar hydroelectric power station is the biggest power station in Iceland supplying more than 690 megawatts. The other power stations are station at Burfell [capacity of 270 megawatts], Hrauneyjarfoss [capacity of 210 megawatts], Sigalda and Blanda [150 megawatts]. They are also in search of supplying electricity to mainland Europe through marine cable. Similarly, aluminum industry is also on the rise in Iceland. Nordural aluminum plant is the largest aluminum plant which is owned by Century Aluminum Company of California. This plant gives employment to more than 450 people and its production has reached to 220000 tons per year.

Iceland does not have railway tracks. The process of constructing roads formally began in 1900 A.D and got speeded up in past ten years or so. The total length of roads in Iceland is 13000 kilometers [8125 miles] and paved roads are 4330 kilometers [2706 miles]. These roads connect most of the populated centers which are around coastal areas. Regular flights and ships and ferries connect all the main cities with the capital Reykjavik.

The national airline of Iceland, Icelandair connects this country to all major European cities and also to North America. This company is also one of the country biggest employers. Iceland became the member of EFTA [European Free Trade Association] in 1970 and signed an agreement with European Union in 1973 which stated that Iceland is also a member of free trade in European community.

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