You can see it; you can feel it, you can sense it, the vibrancy of the Principality. From time to time it’s worth checking the numbers for statistical proof that our emotions or personal good fortune are not making us look at Monaco through rose-tinted spectacles.
It is evident the country has a clear direction. Statistics show the Principality is steaming reliably ahead through waters that look decidedly troubled for many countries, with populism, trade wars, extreme climates, insecurity and crime. Let’s look at the numbers and see why Monaco remains an oasis and an island of optimism.
Information from the Monaco Economic Board and Imsee (Monaco’s Institute of Statistics) provide some keys. They show that Monaco has the 5th highest production per capita (GDP) at $72,000 in the world, ahead of both Switzerland ($55,000) and the United States ($52,000).
Total GDP is well over 5.5 billion and heading for 6 billion euros.
Structural investment is critical with Monaco currently undertaking one of the largest construction projects in Europe, Portier Cove. Monaco’s offshore extension on the sea extends the natural contour of Monaco’s coastline into the Mediterranean. It has already completed its first major phase. Visible currently is the Cove’s massive concrete belt, already in place, defining the footprint of the new territory reclaimed from the sea. This 2 billion euro boost to the economy adds to another extra half a billion of new investment in the health sector with the planned new Princess Grace Hospital and continued investments in ports and hotels. As much as 200 million euros was spent solely on the refurbishment of Hotel de Paris, with the luxury shopping oasis zone, One Monte Carlo, next door. And another 80 million euros was earmarked for a close-by port facility for yachts.
Monaco is a natural magnet for luxury businesses. They are perfect targets for the Economic Board (MEB) in its pursuit to diversify Monaco’s economy in niche areas where it has competitive advantage. Bain and Company estimate this 260 billion euro luxury sector is growing at an annual rate of 4% to 320-365 billion by 2025 and Monaco is positioned to harvest its share with this major new luxury shopping arena in the Carré d’Or at One Monte Carlo.
Of course luxury is not the only profitable niche in Monaco’s diversified economy.
That Monaco’s economy is increasingly diversified may come as a surprise to some. It has, of course, its historic Casinos. And banking and finance still make up a big sector at 17.8 % of the pie but so is the construction sector large at 8.7% and existing real estate at 10%. Then there is a thriving services sector for tourists and even more sizable local services of 17% of the pie for the wider resident community. Even the tourist sector itself is diversified.
Long gone are the days when tourism depended on the Casinos alone. The Casino still has an important role to play but it is within a diversified tourist sector within a diversified economy.
The sector is robust and together with retail makes up 12.5% of the total economy. There are three mega events which act as powerful magnets: the Monaco Grand Prix (and related prestige Auto-Shows), The Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis (and related Sports events) and the Yacht Show. And there is a huge conventions business based principally on the Grimaldi Centre with the newly opened One Monte Carlo adding more capacity. Here are some numbers from Imsee (Monaco Statistics) that measure just how robust:
Hotels: 576.000 room nights are sold each year; this measures the influx of tourists who stay. Over 80% of the rooms are 4 or 5 star with associated premium prices.
Cruise ships: 169.000 passengers arrive each season
Heliport: 80.000 passengers are using the Heliport annually
Many of these tourists need and share public Transport that is also used by residents and commuters – all helping to keep congestion off the road and reduce pollution and use energy wisely.
Energy Transition away from carbon is serious business. Climate change and pollution affect us all. Climate change made the stifling heat that enveloped parts of Europe this Summer much more likely to recur and with even hotter spells. The heat wave was hotter by about 2.5 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit; because of climate change according to researchers.
Here are some impressive numbers from Imsee on transport in Monaco:
Trains: 6.4 million passengers arrive at Monaco station
Buses: 6.9 million bus trips completed
Ebikes: And there is a newly introduced Ebike program which supports the move to cleaner electric propulsion evidenced by the increasing fleets of electric vehicles.
The transport system also serves Monaco’s active and large service sector and other sectors with total jobs in all sectors numbering 56.000.
Businesses and Jobs
There are over 3500 employers in the private sector (3738 in total) with recent emphasis on more and more entrepreneurial activity, in preparation for participation in Monaco’s planned digital and green economy. Internationally they are a cohesive force supported by 138 Consulates in 80 States and the MEB who also ceaselessly promote investment and tourism with their cycle of delegations abroad.
8.000 jobs or 1 in of 7 approximately of the 56.000 Monaco jobs are filled by residents. Monaco tends to be a net creator of new jobs at a rate of 500 a year. It is also a vital source of jobs for surrounding communities.
Rock Solid Finances Support Sustainable Development
A debt free economy, a burgeoning array of just under 4000 private businesses, heavy investment in digital transformation, including 5G for a “smart Principality”, and a commitment to responsible sustainable development targeting carbon neutrality by 2050 almost complete the picture – except there is another important layer facilitating sustainability and green initiatives; it is Monaco’s vital sector of Philanthropy including Foundations of which notably that of Prince Albert.
Monaco has a unique financial profile. In a country that doesn’t have income tax nor is endowed with abundant wealth in natural resources, one would imagine that Government spending would run up deficits. In fact, while the State plays a vital role in the economy and has a budget of 1.3 billion euros it has revenues to match. Half of the revenues come from value added tax. The Government spends prudently leaving a 38 million euro surplus.
Not only that, there is no debt and the Principality is sitting on financial reserves of over 5 billion euros which could fund Government spending for four years, even if there were no revenues! Monaco was founded on a rock and its finances are similarly rock solid.
Population, Housing, Education and Climate
In the two Square metres of the Principality are just under 40.000 residents from all over the world. About one quarter or under 10.000 are Monegasque nationals. Diversity of the rest of the residents is something of which Monaco is proud representing at least 138 nationalities. There are close to 20.000 housing units, the vast majority being apartments – so housing quality is unusually high with occupancy at a very comfortable average of 2.1 per apartment.
Plenty of schools for the kids, thirteen in all, and 12 municipal day care centers make for a high quality of life.